Picking up the pace on student visa processing


But officials warn it will take time to recruit needed staff

Sluggish processing of visas is having  a negative impact on the international education sector’s ability to rebound from borders closures (CMM 20/6/22).

Sector reps expressed serious concerns at a Friday meeting of the Education Visa Consultative Committee and were assured by Home Affairs reps that the government has issued a clear direction to recruit the staff they require to ensure student visas are prioritised.

CMM understands Home Affairs representative conceded that processing of student visas is slower than prior to the pandemic. However while recruitment has now commenced however training will take time.

Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) says “it was a crucial meeting for stakeholders. Home Affairs has been placed under some pressure from the education community and it is pleasing to hear the government has issued this direction.”

So what’s next?

According to  Mr Honeywood “the devil will be in the detail, recruiting new staff and training these up to required efficiency is obviously a step in the right direction”.

 Work Rights review

The previous government dropped all restrictions on international students work rights on January 19, meaning international students no longer needed to adhere to a 40 hour per fortnight cap – they were free to work as much as they liked.

This was meant to be reviewed in April, however the election and the government being in caretaker mode at the time prevented this occurring.

CMM understands a review of this change has now been foreshadowed with an intended workshop to take place to seek feedback on current arrangements, prior to making any decisions. This will delight the sector as it has been one policy area where there was little to no consultation prior to the change.

Folks in the know appear to favour a “phased out gradually” approach, with the likelihood of a new end point to be discussed. Perhaps increasing the old 40 hours per fortnight limit to say 60.

 Tomorrow: Visa processing numbers confirm ELICOS pain

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