One of the newest developments in the immigration space is the introduction of the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF), which came into effect on July 1, 2016. If you are considering studying in Australia, the SSVF will hopefully make the process of applying for your student visa easier and simpler – and therefore quicker.
What is the framework?
The newest changes under the SSVF include:
- International students can now apply for only one student visa (subclass 500) – regardless of the intended course of study.
- Student guardians can apply for a new category of visa – the appropriately named student guardian visa (subclass 590).
- The same immigration risk framework applies to all international students. This means that education providers are given an immigration risk rating. When combined with the risk rating of the student’s country of citizenship, the rating allows an assessment to be made of the level of financial capacity and linguistic proficiency required by the student to succeed in the visa application process.
- All applications can be submitted via the same online program.
What the changes mean
Prior to the introduction of the SSVF, hopeful students had to apply for one of eight different visa subclasses – this is obviously now streamlined through the new subclass 500 visa. The ability to apply online through one program will also not only make it much easier for international students to apply, regardless of where they are living, but the integrity of applications and selection criteria will be maintained. From a federal government perspective, the simplification of the student visa application process is expected to result in over $24 million in savings per annum.
The SSVF applies to all education providers, regardless of whether they agree to participate or not.
What are the key criteria for students applying for a visa?
In order to obtain a student visa for Australia, prospective applicants must be able to establish that they have access to sufficient funds for the duration of their studies. This is assessed against the background of where the prospective student intends to live – obviously somebody seeking to live in the heart of Sydney will need to demonstrate more capacity to support themselves than somebody who wants to study in Bathurst.
Potential students must also meet a minimum English language proficiency requirement, generally assessed with regard to the intended course of study.
In addition, international student hopefuls must meet the usual health and character requirements imposed on other migrants seeking to gain entry into Australia, as well as a “genuine temporary entrant requirement.” That criterion is in place to make sure that people don’t come to Australia ostensibly to study but then attempt to remain in Australia as ongoing permanent residents without obtaining appropriate upgrades in their visas.
Is only the student eligible to enter Australia?
If the student applicant is under 18-years-old, a parent or guardian (or a nominated relative over the age of 21) may be eligible to apply for the new student guardian visa (subclass 590). The visa is only extended to guardians who can establish that they are able to look after themselves and the student, including having appropriate health insurance in place to cover all intended entrants for the duration of their stay in Australia.
Many international students have long dreamed of studying in Australia. If you are one of them, the recent implementation of the SSVF should make the application process much easier. For additional assistance, and tips on how to improve your chances of success, be sure to consult with a registered migration agent in Australia.