Australian student visa rejection rate rises

Feb 23, 2024

Canberra [Australia], February 23: According to the latest Australian government data, 80.9 percent of total international student visa applications in the six months to December 2023 were approved -- down from 86 percent in the financial year 2022-23 and 91.5 percent in 2021-22.
It marks the lowest approval rate since 2005-06.
The fall coincided with the December release of the government's new migration strategy, which places an emphasis on greater scrutiny for student visa applicants to end exploitation of the immigration system.
Under the overhaul, colleges and universities have been placed into three tiers based on their history of visa fraud or other problems with international students. Those in tier one, including Australia's largest universities, are prioritized for visa claims.
Visa approvals for students aiming to study at tier three institutions fell by 60 percent in 2023.
Troy Williams, chief executive of the Independent Tertiary Education Council of Australia (ITECA), said the new system is disproportionately affecting Indian students and jeopardizing Australia's reputation.
"Such an unprecedented rejection rate raises serious questions about the fairness and integrity of the visa assessment process, strongly suggesting that decisions are being made on a basis other than the merit of individual applications," he wrote in a letter to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, which was published by Nine Entertainment newspapers on Thursday.
Government data shows that the approval rate for offshore higher education applications from Indian students was 60.8 percent in the last six months of 2023 -- down from 74.2 percent in 2022-23 and 84.6 percent in 2021-22.
Among students from Nepal the approval rate fell from 65.2 percent in 2022-23 to 47.8 percent in the last six months of 2023.
Local public broadcaster SBS quoted a Department of Home Affairs spokesperson as saying that Australia runs a "non-discriminatory" student visa program aimed at supporting education providers in delivering quality education to international students. "Student visa applicants are assessed on their individual merits against the regulatory criteria prescribed in Australia's migration legislation, with a key requirement being that the applicant is a genuine student."
The spokesperson attributed the decline in student visa grant rates to a focus on combating fraud and non-genuine applications from August last year, and preparing for the implementation of the ministerial direction for priority processing.
Source: Xinhua