The new Australian government is set to announce a series of steps to make its student visa regime simpler to attract more foreign students, including those from India, and revive the billion dollar higher education industry.
Immigration minister Scott Morrison and education minister Christopher Pyne jointly announced that the new coalition government were keen to revive the industry by undoing the damage done by the former Labor government, according to an official media statement.
The two ministers announced that steps would simplify student visas through a streamlined assessment-level framework (ALF) and by extending streamlined visa processing arrangements to low-risk non-university degree providers.
"The changes will assist all providers, but particularly the vocational education and training sector, making access to Australia's education system more attractive for overseas students," Morrison said.
"Assessment levels under the ALF would be reduced from five levels to three, while financial evidence for AL3 students would reduce from 18 months to 12 months, provided funds were from a close relative of the student applicant.
This would mean students from a number of key markets would be able to apply for a student visa with up to 40,000 Australian dollars less in the bank.
Streamlining of the visa application process that Morrison announced last week would benefit up to 22 low-risk non-university providers for students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degree courses or an eligible exchange programme.
Pyne said the measures would attract more overseas students to Australia, benefit our education system, create Australian jobs and stimulate our economy.
"The non-university sector is an important contributor to our overall education exports," Pyne said.
"These changes would allow the vocational training sector to contribute more freely to our plan to restore Australia's tertiary education system to its former peak of almost 19 billion dollars in export income for the nation.