Australia Relaxes Age Restriction for Graduate Visas for Hongkongers & BN(O) Passport Holders

Australia, Hong Kong S.A.R.
#study #work

Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) passport holders will particularly benefit from Australia's recent announcement of a large exception from the age limit for temporary graduate visas. Many people impacted by Canberra's harsher immigration laws may find respite from this measure.

Under this exemption, holders of BN(O) and Hong Kong passports who are under 50 years old can still apply for five-year graduate visas.

Other applicants, however, must adhere to a tougher age limit of 35 years. With this exemption, the policy has undergone a significant change that will allow a wider group of people to seek possibilities in Australia after graduation.

Concerns Addressed

A senior Hong Kong student studying in Australia voiced concerns, which led to the decision to relax the age restriction. Many of these students—many of whom were over 30—expressed concerns about difficulties they would face after graduation, such as the possibility of losing out on residency chances because of age limitations.

Leader of the Australia-Hong Kong Link community group Jane Poon thanked the Australian government for its decision, pointing out the comfort and assurance it provides to those with student visas who are preparing for their future in Australia.

Migration Strategy Implications

In an attempt to control historically high migration numbers, Australia's new migration strategy, which went into effect in December 2023, contained provisions for stricter age restrictions for temporary graduate visas.

However, the exemption for Hong Kong and BN(O) passport holders under 50 shows a sensible strategy, guaranteeing that eligible people can have a positive impact on Australia's professional and academic environment.

Apart from the age exemption, additional modifications were implemented, like raising the minimum IELTS exam score requirement from 6.0 to 6.5 (or equivalent) for Temporary Graduate Visas (TGV).

In March 2024, additional candidates were subject to higher English-language criteria; however, Hong Kong residents applying for temporary graduate work visas leading to permanent residency were not subject to these revisions.

Student Visa Landscape

Based on data from Australia's Department of Education, the country saw a significant increase in foreign enrollment as of January 2024—over 567,000 students registered, up 26% from the same period in 2023. This inflow of talent highlights the nation's attractiveness as a top choice for academic and professional endeavours among talent from around the world.

Australia has taken a nuanced approach to immigration policy, balancing the demand for educated individuals with considerations for various candidate profiles, as evidenced by its decision to lift the age restriction for graduate visas for Hongkongers and holders of BN(O) passports.


What effect does this exemption have on Hongkongers and holders of BN(O) passports who intend to work or study in Australia?

Hong Kong and BN(O) passport holders can now pursue professional and educational possibilities in Australia without worrying about age-related restrictions influencing their application for a visa, thanks to this exemption, which offers comfort and certainty.

What recent changes have you noticed in the number of foreign students studying in Australia?

According to figures from Australia's Department of Education, the number of overseas students studying there as of January 2024 has increased significantly to over 567,000, a 26% increase over the same period in 2023.


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