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Knight in shining armour for students planning study in Australia

13 April 2012

The Knight Review is already impacting international student applications in Australia and will be a key factor in the growth of students heading Down Under.

International education is one of the most important export categories for Australia and in a bid to increase overseas student numbers the government appointed the Hon Michael Knight AO to conduct a strategic review of the student visa program. His findings and a list of 41 recommendations were released in March 2011 in what is called the Knight Review.

The Australian Government agreed with the recommendations and commenced implementation of the first phase of changes in November 2011. These benefit overseas students in a number of ways:

  • Reducing financial requirements for some student visa applications (Good news for students subject to higher risk, Assessment level 3 and Assessment level 4 visa requirements as they will need AU$36,000 less in the bank).
  • More flexible arrangements for English language study (It will now be easier to study English in Australia, as students are able to apply for a visa without first meeting the minimum English language skills requirement).
  • Increased visa period for postgraduate research students (Students can now remain in Australia during the interactive marking of their theses).
  • Prepaid fees for homestay arrangements will be included in financial requirements assessment. (This applies to formal arrangements through education providers and will result in less financial pressure on students).

Marnie Watson, Sales and Marketing Director of Higher Education for Study Group has already noticed an increase in applications to Australian study centres.

“In particular, we are already seeing a higher number of applications from India into Australian universities. I believe the Australian visa changes have played a powerful role in this shift.”

Further positive news for overseas students planning their studies in Australia will come with phase two of the recommendations to be implemented over 2012-13. The latest of these changes were introduced in March 2012, including the streamlining of visa processing for students with a Confirmation of Enrolment for a Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree, better flexibility in the working hours for students wishing to take up part-time work to support their studies and an increase in the amount of time certain students can be enrolled in English language study courses.

The Australian Government is no doubt looking forward to welcoming a growing international student community over the coming years as a result of the changes being implemented from the Knight Review.

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