Simplified student visa framework good for students and the sector
The introduction of a simplified international student visa framework will support a more equitable system where high quality and low risk providers can thrive - and in the process enhance the competitiveness of international higher education.
The changes introduced by government will reduce the number of student visa subclasses from eight to two and introduce a simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students.
"These changes reflect an ongoing commitment by government to support international education through good policy and effective regulation," said Deputy Chief Executive of peak body Universities Australia, Anne-Marie Lansdown.
Ms Lansdown said that in the spirit of the Draft National Strategy for International Education, Universities Australia was pleased to see Immigration and Education Ministers working cooperatively to support both the integrity of Australia's immigration system and Australian international education.
"The introduction of streamlined visa processing (SVP) indicated to the world that Australia was focused on the high quality, genuine students and that we were 'open for business'", Ms Lansdown said.
"SVP has allowed universities to compete internationally for the best students unhindered by lengthy visa processes and enabled universities to introduce processes that improve outcomes for student retention and completion.
"The new simplified student visa process will boost equity and support an environment where high quality and low risk providers can prosper.
"We support a risk managed approach to the student visa regime that rewards low risk providers with access to simpler visa processes for their students," Ms Lansdown said.
Universities Australia has worked well with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the development and ongoing implementation of SVP and welcomes the opportunity to continue working with government in developing the specifics of the simplified international student visa framework.
"It will be imperative that universities are not penalised for operating in new markets where immigration risks are less well known, especially given the aspirations for greater diversity outlined in the Draft National Strategy for International Education.
"Getting the details right in this vitally significant international education sector is imperative, ultimately producing greater benefits for universities, their students and Australia," Ms Lansdown said.
Universities Australia's Chief Executive Belinda Robinson is a member of the Coordinating Council for International Education. The Council will hold the first of two roundtables to discuss the Draft National Strategy for International Education at Parliament House on Thursday 18 June.
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