For anyone who has thought of coming to Australia to study English or enter a university program, now is a great time to start planning. There have been some very positive changes that the Australian Government has made to student visas. The changes that relate to ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) are to be implemented in the next 3 to 6 months.
In the processing of student visas, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) assesses applications on their own merit. However Assessment Levels (ALs) are also used to assess the migration risk of students from various countries, with AL 1 representing the lowest migration risk and AL 5 the highest. For students coming from AL 3 and AL 4 countries, such as China or India, this can mean having to prove significant financial funds and minimum English language requirements. Some of the very welcome changes that are to take place in relation to ELICOS student visas include a reduction in financial requirements for AL 3 and 4 student visa applicants.
Additionally, a streamlined visa process will be introduced for students who package their ELICOS course with an eligible university course. This means that DIAC would treat these applicants as though they were a lower migration risk (similar to the current AL 1), regardless of country of origin. Other positive changes include the removal of the English language test requirements for higher risk AL 4 and AL 5, stand alone ELICOS visa applicants and a two- to four-year post-study work visa for students who go on to complete their studies at university.
The Marketing Director at Navitas English, John Crick, explains that “these changes are great for international students who plan to go to university. Many of our Navitas English students who package their English courses with one of our 12 direct entry partner universities will be able to benefit from the changes. The other great news is that once they have graduated from an Australian university, they will be able work in Australia in any field, full time for up to four years. This is a wonderful opportunity for new international graduates as it gives them a chance to gain professional work experience while earning money at the same time”.