Australia announces new visa rules to attract ‘genuine’ foreign students

Canberra, Sept 22: The Australian government has announced new visa rules to attract more number of foreign students to its shores.

However, the student visa criteria will be tightened slightly to ensure that applicants prove they are ‘genuine’ students and are genuine about returning home.

Under the new visa rules announced for the second semester of 2012, the government has planned to streamline visa processing for students enrolling in Australian universities.

The financial requirements for student visas will now be eased, so applicants would need about 36,000 dollars less in their bank account than they do now, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The changes follow a review of the student visa programme led by former New South Wales government minister Michael Knight.

Visas will be given to the students who prove they are genuine about returning home.

“It’s not enough to be genuine about your studies and have no intention of going home, nor is it enough to be genuine about going home but not serious about your studies,” Knight said.

Knight said it was important to strike a balance between the economic benefits brought by international students and protecting the integrity of migration controls.

The new rules would also allow students to remain in Australia for two to four years after their course ends, depending on their level of qualification, the report said. (ANI)