With enrolment cancellations by institutions and rising refusals, international students have started to feel the impact of the Australian migration strategy released in December 2023, aimed at reducing migration levels.
Universities Cancelling Course Offers for Students
Recent news has revealed that some Australian universities are cancelling enrolment offers to international students. Several universities have taken the extreme step of writing to students whom they had approved but who were still waiting for their visas to be granted, requesting they cancel their enrolment. This is devastating for those who have an offer and are already envisioning their course in Australia. This has already affected many international students, causing frustration and disappointment with the sudden decision.
Why Are Universities Cancelling International Student Offers?
Some institutions have chosen to limit the countries from which they will accept applications to increase their visa approval rate. There are concerns from some universities that they might no longer be classified as low-risk entities by the Department of Home Affairs, affecting their standing and operations.
The migration strategy released in December 2023 included several recommendations for international students, such as increased funding for visa integrity, higher English language requirements, and more rigorous scrutiny of lower-quality education providers by ranking them based on their risk level.
It appears that universities are cancelling admission offers to safeguard their reputation and avoid a high number of visa rejections.
Increase in Student Visa Refusal Rates for Some Countries and Some Institutions
There has been a significant increase in the number of visa refusals, which is expected to rise further in the second half of 2024.
High refusal rates: Over the last 15 years, student visa application approval rates have consistently been above 90%. However, recent government figures reveal a decline to 82% last year, with the approval rate for vocational education even lower, dropping to 70% in the last six months of 2023.
Which countries have higher refusal rates? According to a report by The Australian Financial Review on January 30, 2024, there was a significant decrease in student visa approval rates for applicants from some countries, such as India with a reduction from 73% to 42%, Pakistan from 64% to 30%, the Philippines from 81% to 36%, and Nigeria from 71% to 29% over four months from June to September 2023, as noted by Craig Mackey of IDP Education Australia, an international education company offering student placement in Australia.
Ian Aird, CEO of English Australia, another international education company, mentioned that in October 2023, student visa grants from Colombia were down by 34.79% over the same comparison period in 2022. Approval rates for visa applications for the education provider English Australia, from Thailand and Brazil in October 2024 compared to the year before, also experienced declines, with Thailand's rate dropping by 89.99% and Brazil's by 46.82%.
However, approval rates for countries such as South Korea, China, Singapore, and Taiwan were at 90% or higher, possibly due to financial capacity and genuineness of intention to study.
Why Are There Higher Rates of Student Visa Refusal?
The government aims to reduce the net overseas migration number, from 510,000 in the last year to 375,000 this current year, and then to 250,000, which is regarded as the "normal" level. Much of the reductions will be in student visas.
The student refusals are mostly based on the Genuine Temporary Entrant Criteria (GTE). In many cases, the GTE rejection seems to hinge on the economic status of the student's home country, rather than the individual's qualifications or demonstrated intent to study at the institution.
Unfortunately, it is getting tougher both for education providers and with Home Affairs. If you need any assistance, please contact us.
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