Australia Tightens Visa Rules to Prevent 'Visa Hopping' and Enhance Migration Integrity

#studentvisa #visitvisa

Australia is tackling the issue of "visa hopping" by implementing significant changes to its immigration system. It is believed that this practice, which permits students and other temporary visa holders to stay permanently, is a loophole that has to be closed.

The Migration approach, which was published last year, outlines a larger approach that includes the actions taken by the Albanese government. Restoring the integrity of the international student system and improving population growth management are the two main objectives.

Growth in Visa Extensions Raises Concerns

A notable rise in overseas students staying in Australia on renewal student visas was noted by the Migration Strategy. In 2022–2023, the numbers increased by more than 30% to exceed 15,000. Concerns have been raised concerning this trend's potential long-term effects on Australia's population growth and resource distribution.

Renowned demographer Peter McDonald underlined the importance of addressing visa hopping, proposing that restricting visa applications from individuals who are currently in the nation may be a more practical way to control population growth than lowering the number of permanent migrants admitted.

To address this issue, the government has already taken several steps. To stop students from extending their stay by transferring student visas without demonstrating a legitimate course advancement, steps have been taken, such as enforcing the Genuine Student criterion in March and placing no more stay conditions on visit visas.

Other actions were also made to preserve the integrity of the foreign student system, including eliminating unlimited employment rights and phase-out of the prior Government's COVID visa.

New Measures Effective July 1

To combat visa hopping, the Albanese government is introducing two significant amendments on July 1st:

Visitor Visa Restrictions:

Holders of visitor visas are no longer eligible to apply onshore for student visas. This action aims to counteract the growing abuse of the visitor-to-student pathway, which saw more than 36,000 applications between July 1, 2023, and May 31, 2024, thereby jeopardizing the integrity of policies about offshore student visas.

Temporary Graduate Visa Restrictions: 

Holders of Temporary Graduate visas are also not permitted to apply onshore for student visas. According to the Grattan Institute's "Graduates in Limbo" report, 32% of Australians on Temporary Graduate visas continue their education after their visas expire, extending their stay in the country.

This update makes it clear that graduates should not stay in a "permanently temporary" status; instead, they should obtain skilled employment, apply for permanent residency, or leave the country.

It is anticipated that these modifications will greatly lower net overseas migration, combined with additional reforms for holders of Temporary Graduate visas, such as shortened post-study employment privileges, lowered age limitations from 50 to 35, and increased English language proficiency standards.


What is 'visa hopping'?

The act of repeatedly extending one's stay in Australia by transferring between several types of visas, such as from a visiting visa to a student visa or from a Temporary Graduate visa back to a student visa, is known as "visa hopping."

What are the major goals of the migration reforms in Australia?

Creating a more organized and sustainable migration system that tackles skill shortages without depending on exploitation or loopholes is one of the larger goals.


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