Student visas proving popular in Australia

Date: Feb 01, 2012

The 12 months to December 31 2011 saw 135,793 applications for student visas received by the Department of Immigration - an increase of 4.1 per cent over the previous year.

This is good news for the Australian tertiary education industry, which suffered a dip in international enrolments coming out of 2009 and 2010.

In response, the government made a number of changes to the way that student visa submissions are processed as well as the mandatory requirements.

These include the inclusion of English ability tests outside of the IELTS framework and reductions in the amount of savings required by certain applicants.

Interestingly, the results in the latest report from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) also show that nearly half of the applications - 45.58 per cent - were submitted in the last three months of the year.

This could indicate that the decision to travel to Australia for education is made at<del as the holiday season approaches and New Year's resolutions are made.

The quarterly figures seems to confirm this - with the DIAC reporting that it was able to process 75 per cent of student visa applications inside of 39 days - with 50 per cent of all submissions being finalised before 16 days had passed.

In total, 2011 saw a grant rate of 90.2 per cent and a total of 254,686 international students in possession of these visas in Australia as of December 31.

Of these, 84.2 per cent were primary visa holders, while the remainder were dependants who had travelled to Australia and had been granted a secondary visa.

This means that 40,348 of these individuals were not in the country primarily for study - they had travelled here to be with their main care provider.

In turn this could lead to an increase in the number of people choosing to remain in the country after their studies have been completed - with children having become accustomed to their new environment.

For some former students this is a possibility - the DIAC makes certain arrangements available that allow recent graduates to live and work in Australia for a set amount of time.

Whether considering a student visa or taking the first steps towards permanent residency, an immigration lawyer is able to handle the process in a professional manner, reviewing applications and suggesting options that may otherwise be overlooked.