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Key Updates: Changes to Student and Temporary Graduate Visas in 2024

Updated: May 3

Ministerial Direction 106: Assessing the Genuine Entry and Stay requirements for Student Visa and Student Guardian visa applications

 

A new Ministerial Direction 106 was announced on March 23, 2024, providing guidance to case officers in assessing the genuine student criterion for primary applicants of a Student (SC 500) visa, the genuine student dependent criterion for secondary applicants of a Student (SC 500) visa, and the genuine temporary entrant criterion for Student

Guardian (SC 590) visa applications.


Ministerial Direction 106 aims to refine the assessment process for Student and Student Guardian visa applications. It offers detailed guidance to decision-makers on evaluating the genuineness of applicants, ensuring that visas are granted to individuals who genuinely intend to study or support a student in Australia for a temporary period.

This direction has been in effect since March 23, 2024, and applies to all relevant visa applications submitted on or after this date. It is relevant to:


  • Primary applicants for a Student (Subclass 500) visa.

  • Secondary applicants (dependents) for a Student (Subclass 500) visa.

  • Applicants for a Student Guardian visa.


The Direction provides guidance to decision-makers on what to assess under the genuine student criterion and genuine student dependent criterion by specifying the following factors:


  • The applicant's circumstances in their home country.

  • The applicant's potential circumstances in Australia.

  • The value of the course to the primary applicant's future.

  • The applicant's immigration history.

  • If the applicant is a minor, the intentions of a parent, legal guardian, or spouse of the applicant.

  • Any other relevant matter.


Ministerial Direction 106 is designed to strengthen the integrity of the Student and Student Guardian visa programs. By providing detailed criteria for assessing the genuineness of applicants, the direction aims to prevent the misuse of these visa programs while ensuring that genuine students and guardians can pursue their educational and supportive roles in Australia. This approach aligns with Australia’s broader immigration goals to attract genuine temporary entrants who contribute positively to the country’s educational institutions and community while upholding the conditions of their visas.

 

Critical Technologies - Visa Condition 8208 and PIC 4003B Commence on 1 April 2024

 

Visa Condition 8208


Student (Subclass 500) visas applied for on or after 1 July 2022 are subject to visa Condition 8208. Under this condition, applicants must obtain written approval from the Department before undertaking a critical technology-related course of study in the postgraduate research sector. This includes:

 

  • Postgraduate research courses at the master's degree (research) or doctoral degree level that relate to critical technology.

  • Bridging courses identified as a prerequisite to a postgraduate research course relating to critical technology.

  • Thesis or research topics for a postgraduate research course relating to critical technology.

This approval can only be given after the Department is satisfied that the applicant does not pose an unreasonable risk of unwanted transfer of critical technology.

Approval does not have to be sought for a course that commenced before 1 April 2024.


Public Interest Criteria 4003B


From 1 April 2024, Student (Subclass 500) visa holders subject to visa Condition 8208 will be required to seek approval from the Department before undertaking a new critical technology-related course of study.

 

Regulation 1.03 specifies the following seven kinds of technology that constitute critical technology:

 

  • Advanced manufacturing and materials technology.

  • Artificial intelligence technology.

  • Advanced information and communication technology.

  • Biotechnology.

  • Clean energy generation and storage technology.

  • Quantum technology.

  • Robotics, positioning, timing, and sensing technology.


From 1 April 2024, critical technology-related visa screening for PIC 4003B will apply to:

 

  • Applicants for Student visas to undertake a postgraduate research course.

  • Secondary applicants for a Student visa if the primary applicant’s intended course is a postgraduate research course.

  • Applicants for some temporary and permanent visas.

Increased English language test scores for Temporary Graduate visas

 

Migration (English Language Requirements for Subclass 476 (Skilled – Recognised Graduate) and Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) Visas) Instrument (LIN 24/021) 2024 increases the English language test scores applicable to a Temporary Graduate (SC 485) visa and reduces the period in which the scores must have been achieved from three years to one year before the day on which the visa application was made.


Test name

Old required test score 

New required test score 

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

 

 

 

(a) an overall band score of 6; and 

(b) a score of at least 5 for each test component  

 

 (a) an overall band score of at least 6.5; and 

 (b) a score of at least 5.5 for each test component 

Cambridge English: Advanced test (CAE)

(a) an overall band score of at least 169; and 

(b) a score of at least 154 for each test component

 

 (a) an overall band score of at least 176; and 

 (b) a score of at least 162 for each test component 

Occupational English Test (OET)

 

 a score of at least B for each test component

 

 a score of at least B for each test component 

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)

 

(a) an overall band score of at least 50

(b) for listening a score of at least 36; and 

(c) for reading a score of at least 36; 

(d) for speaking a score of at least 36 

(e) for writing a score of at least 36

 

 (a) an overall band score of at least 57; and 

 (b) for listening a score of at least 43; and 

 (c) for reading a score of at least 48; 

 (d) for speaking a score of at least 42 

 (e) for writing a score of at least 51 

Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)* 

 

(a) a total overall score of at least 64; and 

(b) for listening a score of at least 4

(c) for reading a score of at least 4

(d) for speaking a score of at least 14

(e) for writing a score of at least 14

 (a) a total overall score of at least 83; and 

 (b) for listening a score of at least 7 

 (c) for reading a score of at least 8 

 (d) for speaking a score of at least 16 

 (e) for writing a score of at least 18

Increased English Language Test Scores for Student Visas

 

The Migration (English Language Tests and Evidence Exemptions for Subclass 500 (Student) Visa) Instrument (LIN 24/022) 2024 increases the required English language test scores applicable to a student (SC 500) visa.


Test Name

Minimum Test Score

Principal Course Accompanied by 10 Weeks ELICOS/

 

Standard Foundation Program/Extended Foundation Program/

 

Eligible Pathway Program

Principal Course Accompanied by at least 20 Weeks ELICOS

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Overall Band Score 5.5/ Overall Band Score 6.0

Overall Band Score 5.0/ Overall Band Score 5.5

Overall Band Score 4.5/ Overall Band Score 5.0

Cambridge English: Advanced test (CAE)**

162 / 169

154 / 162

147 / 154

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)

42 / 50

36 / 42

30 / 36

Occupational English Test (OET)

A score of at least B for each component

A score of at least B for each test component

A score of at least B for each test component

Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)*

46 / 64

35 / 46

32 / 35


If you have any questions regarding student visas or 485 Temporary Graduate Visa please get in touch with us.












Disclaimer:

The information shared by Nationwide Migration and Education on social media and blogs is for general informational purposes only. (The information is accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change.) It is not legal or immigration advice and should not be relied upon as such.


If you need immigration advice specific to your circumstances, please book a consultation with our Registered Migration Agent.

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