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Changes Outlined in New Migration Strategy Target Australia’s Student and Graduate Visa Program

The Department of Home Affairs has announced a significant change to the Student and Graduate Visa programs, which will be implemented throughout 2024. The exact changes and how they will be implemented are not yet clear at this stage; however, this article, written by our team of Migration Lawyers, details some preliminary information available from the Australian Government at this stage.

Migration Strategy Released

In December 2023, the Australian Government released their Migration Strategy. This comprehensive plan outlines the Government’s new vision and intended changes for Australia’s migration system and sets out the goals for the Australian migration landscape over the coming years across a number of areas of Australian migration.

In particular, the Government has outlined their intention to make significant changes to the Student and Graduate Visa programs, with a focus on “strengthening the integrity and quality of international education”.

Changes Proposed to Student Visa

As part of the Migration Strategy, the Government has announced various measures to reform the Student Visa system. Currently, these changes have not been finalised via legislation and as such, the true effect of these changes is unclear.

At this stage, the available information suggests that these changes will include the following:

  • Increasing the English language requirements for Student Visa applicants
  • Carefully considering visa applicants with proposed study with certain education providers that are deemed ‘high risk’, and scrutinising these applications more than others
  • Implementing new visa processing priorities within the student visa program
  • Removing the ‘genuine temporary entrant’ requirement currently applied to Student Visa applications and replacing it with the ‘Genuine Student Test’
  • Strengthening requirements for international education providers

The Government has also announced an intention to ‘strengthen and simplify’ the Temporary Graduate visa program. In this respect, the Government has indicated that they will also increase English language requirements for graduate visa applicants and lower the age limitation for applicants under the graduate visa program. The Government has also indicated that they plan to reduce the stay period allowed on graduate visas, which is again intended to avoid facilitating ‘permanent temporariness’.

Purpose of Changes

The Government has outlined that its plan to increase the English language requirement is intended to improve the quality of students’ educational experience in Australia. They have also noted an intention to reduce potential workplace exploitation for international students with a lower English language ability.

Further, by implementing the new ‘Genuine Student Test’, the Government has noted their aim to increase the program’s integrity. In this respect, their focus is also on restricting ‘permanent temporariness’, which describes a situation where a visa holder remains in Australia for an extended period on repeated temporary visas, which occurs via ‘onshore visa hopping’.


Firm timeframes for implementing these changes are yet to be announced. The Migration Plan has set out estimated stages for implementing the above, occurring throughout 2024.

To date, the only information available is that the majority of the above proposed changes to the Student and Graduate Visa programs will be progressed “early to mid-2024”. Clear timeframes and certainty as to what these changes will involve will remain unclear until legislation is made, or at least, a formal direction is published.

How All Access Migration Can Help With The Changes to Student and Graduate Visa Program 

At All Access Migration, our team is ready to assist you in navigating these changes. If you would like to explore how these changes could impact your situation, our team is actively arranging consultations to offer guidance and support. Please contact us via the below ‘Contact Us’ form for further information.


Brisbane Office

1300 245 756

50 McDougall Street,
Milton, Brisbane, QLD, 4064

Gold Coast Office

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Bundall, QLD, 4217

Sydney Office

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15 Castlereagh Street,
Sydney, NSW, 2000


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