The Australian government has taken decisive steps to protect the integrity of its international education sector by closing a visa loophole that allowed international students to exploit concurrent study options for cheaper vocational courses.
The concurrent study rule initially aimed to enhance students’ job readiness by permitting them to take short-term supplementary courses alongside their primary studies.
Australia addresses student visa misuse with rule changes
However, recent investigations revealed that many students were misusing this provision to abandon university programs and transition to more affordable courses permanently.
The utilization of concurrent study experienced a substantial increase, with 17,000 concurrent enrollments in the first half of 2023, compared to a combined total of 10,500 enrollments in 2019 and 2022 for the same period.
To address this issue, Education Minister Jason Clare emphasized that this change would prevent “predatory ‘second’ providers” from enrolling students before they meet the required six-month study period at their initial institution.
To ensure the financial well-being of international students, the government will raise the savings requirement for student visa applications to A$24,505 ($15,693), reflecting a 17% increase from the previous threshold.
This adjustment accounts for the higher living expenses students may encounter during their stay in Australia.