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Streamlined System Gives Overseas Enrolments A Kick

11 May 2013


Immigration News

STREAMLINED visa processing is shielding international education from a long-expected downturn in onshore student visa applications, new immigration statistics suggest.

The new visa processing regime is encouraging more applications from overseas and increasing the likelihood that applicants will be successful, according to the latest quarterly report on the student visa program, which was released yesterday by the Immigration Department.

Visa grants in the first three months of the year were 10.5 per cent higher than the same period last year, even though applications were up just 2 per cent.

Almost 95 per cent of visa applications were successful, compared to a little under 90 per cent in the same period last year, presumably reflecting the automatic granting of visas to students accepted by universities under the new system.

While enrolments from overseas have been declining over the past few years, colleges have been largely sustained by the “pipeline” effect of onshore enrolments from foreigners already in Australia, including students and holiday makers. But the pipeline appears to be running dry, with onshore applications declining 4 per cent over the quarter.

However offshore applications have risen, particularly for higher education – the only sector currently eligible for streamlined visa processing.

International Education Association of Australia executive director Phil Honeywood said the trends were “headed in the right direction”. But he said it had taken time for the new Australian visa arrangements to be understood overseas.

“Australia has also been the beneficiary of a recent push against student visas being approved in the UK and the US,” he said.

The grant rate for offshore applicants seeking visas to study vocational courses has also improved dramatically, from 59 per cent to 76 per cent.

Mr Honeywood said this reflected a better appreciation of the visa regime among international agents, who now understood that applications to study migration-focused vocations – such as hairdressing – could fail if the applicants had no previous association with those vocations.

“We’re now seeing much more skills-focused student visa applications,” Mr Honeywood said.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/streamlined-system-gives-overseas-enrolments-a-kick/story-e6frg6n6-1226639650550


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