New restrictions for student visas in Australia

Are these changes really useful?

Secrecy and late-night announcements without any transition period seem to be the recent modus operandi in relation to the international education industry. 


Any business operating within this sector requires periods for transition, notice to clients and regulators, and consideration of various compliance implications. Yet, the government makes these decisions abruptly, affecting the Australia’s third-largest industry.


A report from the Grattan Institute highlights that up to 32% of these visa holders return to study to extend their stay. The new changes encourage graduates to either secure skilled jobs and pursue permanent residency or leave the country, thus reducing the number of ‘permanently temporary’ residents. However, this approach poses a problem: under the current system, hopefuls might not be able to obtain the General Skilled Migration and/or Sponsorship visas in time, or they might not meet the requirements at all. Without the ability to extend their study or Temporary Graduate visa, they will be forced to leave Australia.


The announced changes fail to acknowledge the complexities of two years of border closures, a decrease in options available due to fewer points test places, particularly state nomination, and the reality that those who come to Australia and choose to study further after a 485 visa are not necessarily ‘visa hopping.’


These restrictions may deter genuine students and skilled graduates, potentially harming Australia’s reputation as a welcoming education destination. Overseas students contribute significantly to our economy, and a fair and stable migration strategy, developed with consultation, is essential. They should not be disproportionately targeted over other temporary visa holders for political gain.

Closing Loopholes: Ending ‘Visa Hopping’


  1. Visitor Visa Restrictions – from 1 July, Visitor Visa holders will no longer be able to apply for Student Visas while onshore. It was reported that over 36,000 applications came through this pathway between July 2023 to May 2024.  This measure targets this trend of using visitor visas to bypass strict offshore student visa regulations. 


  1. Temporary Graduate Visa Restrictions – Temporary Graduate Visa holders will also be restricted from applying for Student Visas onshore. Additional Changes to the Temporary Graduate Visas:
    • Post-Study Work Rights Reduction: Shorter post-study work rights for Temporary Graduate Visa holders.
    • Age Limit Reduction: Lowering the maximum age limit for visa holders from 50 to 35 years.
    • Increased English Language Requirements: Stricter requirements implemented in March will also apply.