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Minister for Home Affairs announces changes to onshore visa applications to stop ‘visa hopping’

On Wednesday 12 June 2024, the Minister for Home Affairs the Hon. Clare O’Neil MP announced changes that will stop certain visa holders being able to make further visa applications onshore. These changes will come into effect on 1 July 2024.

The focus of these changes rests on student and other temporary visa holders. As noted in the Migration Strategy released in 2023;

the numbers of international students staying in Australia on a second, or subsequent student visa has grown by over 30 per cent to more than 150,000 in 2022–23.

In the media release of 12 June 2024 it is noted that;

Peter McDonald, a renowned Australian demographer, recently said that severely curtailing visa hopping by accepting fewer visa applications from people already in the country would better manage population growth than cuts to the permanent migration intake.

The focus of the Federal Government is to restore the integrity of the Student visa system to ensure that those studying in Australia are here for genuine study purposes. The changes from 1 July 2024 are:

  • Visitor visa (subclass 600) holders will not be able to apply for Student (subclass 500) visas onshore
  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders will not be able to apply for Student (subclass 500) visas onshore.

These changes support a range of others that are being introduced for Temporary Graduate visa holders on 1 July 2024. These include substantially shorter post-study work rights, reduced age limits from 50 to 35 years of age, and increased English language requirements which were implemented in March 2024. It is worth noting that the age limit remains at 50 years for those who have completed a Masters (Research) and a PhD.