The new Coalition Government will move quickly to begin undoing Labor’s damage to Australia’s international education sector—and restore it as one of Australia’s most important economic contributors.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison and Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne announced a package of measures that would simplify student visas through a streamlined assessment-level framework (ALF) and by extending streamlined visa processing arrangements to low-risk non-university degree providers.
"The changes will assist all providers, but particularly the vocational education and training sector, making access to Australia’s education system more attractive for overseas students,” Mr Morrison said.
"Assessment levels under the ALF would be reduced from five levels to three, while financial evidence for AL3 students would reduce from 18 months to 12 months, provided funds were from a close relative of the student applicant. This would mean students from a number of key markets would be able to apply for a student visa with up to $AUD 40 000 less in the bank.”
Streamlining of the visa application process that Mr Morrison announced last week would benefit up to 22 low-risk non-university providers for students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degree courses or an eligible exchange programme.
Minister for Education Mr Pyne said the measures would attract more overseas students to Australia, benefit our education system, create Australian jobs and stimulate our economy.
"The non-university sector is an important contributor to our overall education exports,” Mr Pyne said.
"These changes would allow the vocational training sector to contribute more freely to our plan to restore Australia’s tertiary education system to its former peak of almost $19 billion in export income for the nation.
"The non-university education system supports thousands of Australian jobs directly, and indirectly.
"If we cut red tape and allow more students into Australia to access a world-class tertiary education we all stand to gain.”
Invitations to the 22 non-university providers will go out in coming weeks.
Subject to relevant legislative change under the stewardship of the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, the Government would implement both elements of the package in early 2014.
Further information is available at http://www.immi.gov.au/students/whats_new.htm.
Mr Pyne—Adam Howard 0400 414 833
Mr Morrison—Elizabeth Pearson 0448 286 334