ELICOS off the bottom but visas still a problem


 English Australia released its market Analysis for May on Friday and there are reasons for optimism

It’s a turnaround from March figures where ELICOS performance remained low (CMM June 14).

 Market highlights

* ELICOS only lodgements were over seventeen times higher YTD

* grants for ELICOS only students were over eleven times higher YTD

* visas granted to citizens from Brazil were over one hundred times higher than in May 2021.

* commencements from Thailand were up by 504 per cent, up from Brazil by 105.9 per cent (1096 additional students), and from Japan 60.6 per cent

* commencements from China decreased by 34.2 per cent or 1413 fewer students versus YTD May 2021. Chinese students made up 14.6 per cent of commencements within ELICOS

* commencements from Colombia decreased by 15.8 per cent or 301 fewer students

* YTD May commencements were also down for India (14.2 per cent), South Korea (21 per cent) and Taiwan (23.3 per cent).

Visas still an issue

The peak body pointed out “ELICOS only grants over eleven times higher”. In fact, the total Independent ELICOS grants for May 2022 was 3170, which is over eleven times higher than in May 2021. Unfortunately, the total number of Independent ELICOS visas granted is 30 per cent down for YTD May 30th, 2022, compared to 2019 – using 2019 as the last stand processing year pre Covid. That is, 4666 fewer Independent ELICOS visas have been granted between Jan 1st and May 30th for 2022 than was true in 2019.

It is key to note that, while the grant rate for Independent ELICOS is down on previous years, the huge difference this year is due to delays in visa processing. This is particularly visible when looking at the comparison between 2022 and all previous years.

Between 2006 and 2021 the total number of ELICOS visas granted was 94 per cent of the total visa applications lodged. However, for 2022, this figure is only 51 per cent.

On the positive side, this is an improvement on last month’s figure of 46 per cent and the government has just announced additional staffing for visa processing.

 Statement from the Government on Visa Processing

Thursday, the Government released a message on the Provider Registration and International Student Management System.

“the Government hears and understands sector concerns that delays in student visa processing could have substantial impacts for the Australian international education market, for providers and for genuine students and their families. Furthermore, that Home Affairs received the highest number of applications in the last ten years in June 2022, with almost 43,000 visas lodged in that month alone. This followed on from May 2022, which was the third highest number of visa lodgements in the last ten years.”

“Home Affairs has recruited more than 140 new staff into visa processing areas since May 2022, with recruitment activity continuing at scale into July and August. Surge capacity is being bolstered through overtime from qualified staff across the Home Affairs portfolio and reallocation of staff from other work.

This new recruitment activity is reflected in record-level processing volumes with over 76,000 applications (nearly 56,000 offshore) were finalised in May and June 2022 alone.”

The entire message can be found here.

 Good to see the feds are on to it. CMM however wonders how much time will pass until it is caught up and squared away.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM