Rules to ease for foreign students who want to call Australia home

Home Affairs data shows student visas are being refused at record levels. Nearly one in five applications for primary and secondary visa holders were knocked back in the six months to December 31, as the Labor seeks to ease migration pressures and stop systemic rorting of the education system.

According to government sources, who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorised to speak publicly, weekly approval rates throughout January were 30 to 40 per cent down on last year.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

However, Rizvi said monthly data of net-permanent and long-term migration movements published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed 90,000 more people had settled in Australia between July and November than in the same period the previous year.

“You’ve got an uphill battle if you’re going to get down to 375,000, to be honest,” he said of the government’s net migration forecast for this year.

“The government is now heavily reliant on huge numbers of student refusals.”

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has unveiled a raft of measures to limit student migration, including a crackdown on “ghost” international colleges funnelling pupils into low-paid work, and stricter English-language tests.

‘It’s too little too late … Labor always makes a mess out of immigration.’

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan

With a greater focus on interviews, student applications will also be judged on the usefulness of their intended courses and the integrity of their provider.

But opposition immigration and citizenship spokesman Dan Tehan said, “the horse has already bolted”.


“It’s too little too late. Labor issued a record 577,295 student visas last financial year, which helped drive annual overseas migration to a record 518,000 people as part of their Big Australia. Meanwhile, Australians endured housing shortages, rent hikes and a cost-of-living crisis exacerbated by population growth,” Tehan said.

“Labor always makes a mess out of immigration.”

Of the 577,295 student visas, 77,599 of those were granted to secondary applicants, who are most often dependants such as family members.

But Labor MP Julian Hill, who is also a co-convenor of the Council for International Education, said removing the bar on foreign students saying they wanted to move to Australia was a sensible reform to improve the integrity of the student visa program and help identify those to fill skills shortages.

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