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Australian Government announces new regulations to prevent ‘visa hopping’

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Starting 1 July 2024, holders of certain visas, including Visitor and Temporary Graduate visas, will no longer be able to apply for Student visas while in Australia.

Student visa applicants with a genuine intention to pursue studies in Australia will still be able to apply for a Student visa from offshore (outside of Australia).

What you need to know

Key details of the new regulations include:

  • Visitor visa holders (Subclass 600), Temporary Graduate visa holders (Subclass 485) and other specified visa holders (see below) cannot apply for Student visas while they are in Australia.
  • Temporary graduates should depart Australia at the end of their visa or consider job opportunities that might lead to employer-sponsored visas or permanent residency if they want to remain in Australia.
  • Holders of Working Holiday Maker (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visas are not affected.
  • Student visa applications lodged in Australia before 1 July 2024 are not affected by this change and will be processed.
  • You can apply for your Student visa offshore and travel to Australia to wait for the outcome of your visa application. However, you need to hold or be granted a visa that allows you to enter and remain in Australia for that time. You should ensure you comply with any conditions attached to your visa, including work and study limitations.
  • Offshore Student visa applicants cannot get a Bridging visa to stay in Australia while waiting for their application to be processed.
  • Visitor visa holders may continue to study for up to three months while holding their visa. Those intending to study for periods longer than three months will need to apply for a Student visa outside Australia.

Which visas does this apply to?

Temporary Graduate, Maritime Crew and Visitor visa holders can no longer apply for a Student visa while onshore in Australia. These are the specific visa subclasses that are impacted:

  • Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate)
  • Subclass 600 (Visitor)
  • Subclass 601 (Electronic Travel Authority)
  • Subclass 602 (Medical Treatment)
  • Subclass 651 (eVisitor)
  • Subclass 988 (Maritime Crew)

This is in addition to the following visas. It is already not possible to make a valid Student application from these visa types:

  • Subclass 403 (Temporary Work) International Relations)) – Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream
  • Subclass 426 (Domestic Worker (Temporary) – Diplomatic or Consular)
  • Subclass 771 (Transit)
  • Subclass 995 (Diplomatic Temporary) – primary visa holders only

Why is this change taking place?

This measure is in response to the trend of ‘permanent temporariness,’ where individuals who may not meet the eligibility criteria for permanent residency extend their stay through multiple visa applications.

This is part of a package of reforms, released as part of the Australian Government’s Migration Strategy. The reforms aim to maintain the integrity of the international education system and support genuine students.

These changes demonstrate the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting genuine students while closing loopholes that compromise the system’s integrity.

Source: Study Australia

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