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What You Need to Know About Australia Student Visas?

The number of international students in Australia has hit a record high in 2016, as more international students are choosing to study in Australia because of our excellence education system, high standard of living and cultural diversity. The higher education sector has the largest share of international students and Chinese students are among the majority. If you are interested in applying for a student visa, you must satisfy the age requirement, be accepted to study full-time at an educational institution and have the required health insurance. Student visas are valid for up to five years and you will need to organise appropriate welfare arrangements for the duration of your intended stay in Australia. In some cases, you may need to provide supporting materials that your English is up to standards and your academic standing is equivalent to an Australian high school qualification. To meet the academic requirements, you may consider taking a Foundation course which is offered by most higher education institutions.

Since the announcement of the cancellation changes in 2013, automatic and mandatory student visa cancellations have been removed. A discretionary cancellation process will be used as an alternative. It should be noted that all student visa holders are stil required to strictly abide by the conditions of their visas. For those who fail to do so, their visas may be cancelled depending on the severity of their conduct.

So what are Automatic Cancellation and Mandatory Cancellation?

Prior to the announcement of the cancellation changes, automatic cancellation occurred when student visa holders are reported by their education provider that they have not maintained satisfactory course progress or class attendance. Students were issued with a section 20 notice which required them to explain their situation to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIBP) within 28 days. If not, their student visas will be automatically cancelled.

On the other hand, mandatory cancellation occurred when students breach visa conditions relating to work restrictions. This includes working for more than 40 hours per fortnight or working before the commencement of their study period.

What happens under this new policy?

Since the cancellation changes, students who do not meet the attendance or course progress requirements, or breach work restrictions, will no longer face automatic or mandatory cancellation of their visas. These two visa cancellation processes have been replaced by a discretionary one where an immigration officer is required to take into account student visa holders’ individual circumstances when determining whether or not to cancel their visas.  

This move discretionary framework does not change education providers’ responsibility to report a student for breaching a visa condition and education providers must still inform the student that they intend to report the visa condition breach to the DIBP.

By granting immigration officers such discretion in cancelling student visas for reported breaches, fairer outcomes will be formulated since student visa holders are allowed to explain their individual circumstances to the DIBP. This further enables government authorities to distinguish between student visa holders who are struggling with their classes and those who never genuinely intended to study in Australia.

Migration Law Austin Haworth & Lexon Legal (AHL Legal)

Austin Haworth & Lexon Legal (AHL Legal) is a firm that has achieved a lot of leading precedents and has experience assisting clients with migration matters throughout all jurisdictions. Migration law is amongst the most established areas of legal service provided by Austin Haworth & Lexon Legal (AHL Legal). In addition to migration law, Austin Haworth & Lexon Legal (AHL Legal) also specialises in corporate law, commercial disputes, family law and litigation. Our lawyers are more than happy to provide personalised legal advice based on our clients’ best interests. Please contact us should you require any legal assistance.