KP Sharma

The Australian government has raised the savings requirement for international student visa applicants.

The change, effective yesterday, was announced recently.

Several colleges have also been issued warnings about fraudulent student recruitment practices.

Under the revised regulations, international students must show savings of at least AUD 29,710 to obtain visa.

This marks the second increase in seven months, following the raise from AUD 21,041 to AUD 24,505 in October last year.

According to a press statement from Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, the change is aimed at ensuring that students arriving in Australia for studies can adequately support themselves and are protected from potential exploitation.

The decision follows the government’s move in March to increase the English language requirements for student visas.

In addition, the Australian government has been working to eliminate regulations that previously enabled students to extend their stay in the country after the completion of their studies.

The government has taken action against unethical practices within the education sector by issuing warning letters to 34 education providers for non-genuine or exploitative recruitment practices.

These warnings, as stated by Clare O’Neil, provide a six-month window for providers to rectify their behaviour. Failure to do so could result in suspension of certificates, effectively halting their ability to recruit international students.

Penalties for breaches include imprisonment for up to two years.

“Dodgy providers have no place in our international education sector. These actions will help weed out the bottom feeders in the sector that seek to exploit people and trash the reputation of the sector,” Clare O’Neil said.

It has been noted that the surge in migration post-pandemic, particularly driven by international students, has increased pressure on the government. This coincides with a noticeable rise in rental prices across the country.

Reports indicate a 60 percent increase in net immigration, reaching a record 548,800 individuals in the year leading up to September 30, 2023.

In response to these challenges, the government has revised its migration strategy, with the aim to halve Australia’s migration intake in the next two years.

According to media reports, international students contribute significantly to Australia’s economy, with a reported worth of AUD 36.4 billion in the financial year 2022-23

What does this mean for Bhutanese students planning Australian visas?

For Bhutanese considering launching an Australian student visa application, it is important to stay informed about ongoing changes in migration regulations.

As experts involved in guiding individuals through visa processes suggest, these regulations are expected to evolve in the coming months.

This aligns with the government’s commitment to implementing a revised migration strategy aimed at reducing migration numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the proportion of Bhutanese students in Australia, with the biggest concentration in Perth, Western Australia.

According to WAtoday, an online newspaper focusing on Perth and Western Australia, approximately 7,238 Bhutanese students hold student visas in Perth alone as of 2024.

Experts advise student visa applicants to secure higher education loans, especially if their annual fees are on the higher side.

With semester fees varying across colleges, insufficient funds could pose challenges in sustaining oneself or making necessary arrangements.

Given the fluctuating exchange rates of the Australian Dollar (AUD) and potential changes in visa rules, it is important to maintain sufficient money by budgeting for higher exchange rates.

This precaution ensures that even if rates fluctuate shortly before visa lodgement, applicants are better positioned to meet financial requirements and avoid any last-minute complications.

It’s also crucial to understand the accurate calculation of funds required under various categories, such as for single applicants, couples with or without children, among others.

To stay aware of the evolving visa rules in Australia, Bhutanese applicants are urged to seek thorough counselling and guidance from reputable consultancy firms or other reliable sources before launching visa applications.