Streamlined Student Visa Processing and Its Benefits

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Students enrolled in courses where the main course of study is at bachelor, masters or doctoral level with universities and their eligible business partners who offer streamlined student visa processing (SVP) arrangements have the benefit of being assessed as though they are a lower immigration risk irrespective of their country of origin.

The universities participating in (SVP) arrangements will have strategies in place to ensure that education agents recruit appropriate students, students have appropriate levels of English at the commencement of their courses, and students have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents during their course of studies. Under streamlined processing arrangements, universities are aware that the majority of their students will have their visa applications processed quickly.

If students are eligible for SVP, they are not assigned an Assessment Level (AL). AL’s are based on the applicant’s country of origin and their main course of study. The AL’s determine the level of evidentiary requirements related to factors such as financial capacity and English language ability. The higher the AL, the greater the evidentiary requirements that apply. There are currently five assessment levels, though changes to the number of assessment levels have been flagged for the earlier part of this year.

The Australian Government at the end of October 2013 announced its intention of extending SVP arrangements to certain low-risk non-university education providers who offer bachelor, masters, or doctoral degree level courses. These changes have been flagged for March of this year. By extending the program to low-risk non-university degree providers, this will assist the vocation and education training sector, making access to education more attractive for overseas students.

Students who are enrolled in the following courses are not eligible for SVP:

  • short courses
  • Associate degrees
  • Graduate Diplomas
  • Graduate Certificates
  • Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas
  • Non-award courses with some exceptions
  • Courses below Bachelor Level delivered by universities which are dual sector (Vocational Education and Training and University)

Caution on changing courses

For those students who enrolled in a course with a SVP eligible provider and decide after a short period of time in Australia that they wish to change or downgrade courses and enrol in a course with an institution that is a non-SVP provider, breach of their visa conditions may occur and they may be subject to visa cancellation. If you have been granted a student visa based on SVP arrangements and wish to change education providers, it is very important that you first discuss your situation with a migration professional.

Letters seeking clarification from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The Assistant Minister for Immigration has stated that the Department will be engaging directly with students who were enrolled in a course with a SVP provider and then changed to a non-SVP eligible course. It was further stated that these students can expect an advice letter and they would be given an opportunity to explain their circumstances.

If you are a student that receives such a letter from the Department, it would be prudent to obtain advice from one of the registered migration agents at National Visas on how to respond to such letter so as not to jeopardise your current student visa or any subsequent Australian visa applications you may wish to lodge.

If you want to study in Australia and have been officially accepted into your course of study, you can take National Visas free on-line Student Visa Assessment to see which Student Visa is most appropriate for your circumstances.

Vera Mom
Migration Advisor
MARN: 1383344

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John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

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