Student Visa Latest Updates 2024: Guide for Canada, Australia and UK

Student Visa Latest Updates 2024 Guide for Canada, Australia and UK

Understanding the dynamics of visa policies is a crucial aspect for you, international students, who plan to broaden your academic horizons abroad. With rapid changes in immigration policies and visa requirements occurring due to various global factors, including the global pandemic, political changes, and new education policies, it is important for you to stay informed. 

In recent years, we have witnessed significant changes in visa policies affecting international students. For example, Canada launched a strategy to attract more international students by simplifying the visa application process and providing more post-study work opportunities. On the other hand, Australia and the UK have also adapted their policies to ensure that they remain attractive destinations for students from around the world.

This article aims to provide the latest information on student visas for three popular destinations: Canada, Australia, and the UK, helping you to better plan your educational trip.

 

Canadian Student Visa Update 2024

In the latest development announced by the Government of Canada on January 22, 2024, new measures have been introduced to regulate the flow of international students to Canada, an initiative aimed at maintaining the integrity of the country’s international education system. The Honorable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, announced the regulation of international student admissions by setting a limit on the number of study permit applications. For 2024, this cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 study permits being approved, representing a 35% decrease from 2023. The move is designed to stabilize the number of new students and reduce pressure on housing, health care and other services in Canada.

See also  10 Tips for Applying for an Overseas Student Visa

 

This policy change includes quota distribution per province and territory adjusted based on population, thus having a more significant impact on provinces with the most unsustainable international student population growth. Interestingly, renewal of study permits is not affected by this change, and those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as primary and secondary education, are not included in this limit. In addition, IRCC also introduced the requirement for a certificate from the province or territory required for each study permit application starting January 22 2024, with the hope that the certificate issuance process will begin no later than March 31 2024.

 

These measures, which will be in effect for two years, mark Canada’s efforts to ensure that international students receive adequate support and have the resources necessary for an enriching learning experience. Additionally, changes in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program eligibility criteria represent policy adaptations to better align graduates with the needs of the Canadian labor market. Most notably, these changes include limiting post-graduation work eligibility for certain programs and expanding access to three-year work permits for graduates of master’s programs.

 

 Canada Student Visa Policy Changes 2024
  • Study Permit Application Limit: For 2024, the study permit application limit is set to result in approximately 360,000 approved permits, marking a 35% decrease from 2023.
  • Quota Distribution per Province/Territory: Quotas are divided based on population per province and territory, with significant reductions in provinces with unsustainable international student growth.
  • Exclusions from Limits: Renewal of study permits, students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and primary and secondary education are not included in the new limits.
  • Certificate Requirements: From 22 January 2024, every study permit application requires a certificate from the relevant province or territory.
  • Post-Graduation Work Program Changes: Starting September 1, 2024, changes to the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Program, including restrictions for certain programs and expanding access to a three-year work permit for master’s program graduates.

 

Australian Student Visa Update 2024

The Australian government recently announced a series of significant changes to student visas. These changes, released in the strategy include cutting the duration of post-study work visas for international students to two years and increasing English language test requirements. These steps were taken in response to concerns over visa applications from non-genuine students and to ensure that students and graduates are working in jobs appropriate to their skill level.

 

Among the key changes is a reduction in the duration of post-study work visas from four years to two years for selected undergraduate programmes, and from five years to three years for masters students in selected disciplines, returning the visa duration to the original period before the extension announced a few months ago . Additionally, concessions made during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as unlimited working hours for international students, will end.

 

The government is strategizing to enhance the financial threshold for international students seeking a student visa, raising the requisite savings to A$24,505, marking a significant 17% surge from the previous benchmark. Additionally, they propose the implementation of a novel “Authenticity Student” test for all international students. This test is designed to encourage applications from students who really want to study at an Australian university or education provider, rather than those whose main priority is to work in Australia.

In addition, the government promised to strengthen the visa unit that processes student visa applications to ensure stricter scrutiny of non-genuine student visa applications and to crack down on the practice of “visa-hopping”. While the government is reducing the duration of post-study work visas, they are concurrently streamlining the application procedures. This simplification aims to expedite the transition from a student visa to a graduate visa, facilitating smoother pathways for international students entering the workforce.. Existing graduate visa routes will be streamlined into “Post-Higher Education Work” and “Post-Vocational Education Work” streams, with improved processing times and clearer post-graduation visa pathways.

 

The aim of these changes is also to ensure that graduates move into roles appropriate to their skill level upon graduation, with the strategy stating that more than 50% of graduate visa holders with a bachelor’s degree or higher are working well below their skill level. Finally, the government will increase the minimum English language requirement for temporary student and graduate visas to the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 for student visas and 6.5 for temporary graduate visas, a change that will be introduced in early 2024.

Changes to Australian Student Visa Policy

  • Post-Study Work Visa Duration Cut: The duration for bachelor’s and master’s graduates returns to 2 and 3 years, from the previous extension to 4 and 5 years.
  • Increased English Language Test Requirements: The English language requirements for temporary student and graduate visas are increased to the equivalent of an IELTS score of 6.0 and 6.5.
  • End of Pandemic Concession: Including the end of unlimited working hours for international students.
  • Increase in Required Savings Amount: Increased to A$24,505, an increase of 17% from the previous level.
  • Introduction of the “Genuine Student” Test: To filter applications from students who really want to study, not just work in Australia.
  • Strengthening the Visa Review Process: To ensure stricter scrutiny of non-genuine student visa applications and crack down on the practice of “visa-hopping”.
  • Simplifying the Visa Application Process: Speeding up the transition from student visa to graduate visa by clarifying post-graduation visa pathways.
  • Focus on Skills Match: Ensure graduates move into roles that suit their skill level, especially for engineering and IT graduates.
  • Policy Effective Early 2024: Changes will be introduced in early 2024.

 

UK Student Visa Update 2024

On 17 July 2023, the UK government announced a series of new rules that will have a significant impact on international students wishing to study in the UK. Starting January 2024, one of the main changes is that international students will no longer be able to bring family members as dependents on their student visa, except under certain circumstances. This policy limits the definition of ‘dependent’ to partners (married or unmarried) or children under 18, with the exception of students enrolled in postgraduate research programmes, who are still permitted to bring dependents to the UK.

 

Another important change is that international students cannot switch to a Graduate visa without completing the original course of study they registered for. The UK government has announced that the Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa in early 2024, potentially resulting in further changes to the visa. This decision is part of the government’s strategy to respond to the need to reduce net migration to the UK, while delivering on the promise in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in UK higher education to 600,000 annually by 2030.

 

Specifically, the new rules affect students who submit applications after 15:00 on 17 July 2023 for courses starting on or after 1 January 2024. These restrictions target students whose courses of study start on or after that date, with only certain students permitted to bring dependents to the UK, including:

 

Government sponsored students for courses lasting more than 6 months; or,  Full-time students on postgraduate level courses (RQF level 7 or above) lasting 9 months or more, provided the sponsoring institution has a ‘track record of compliance’.

 

TL;DR: UK Student Visa Policy Changes Starting January 2024
  • New Restrictions for Dependents: International students cannot bring dependents except on graduate research programs.
  • Graduate Visa Change: International students must complete their original course of study before switching to a Graduate visa.
  • Graduate Visa Review: The Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa in early 2024, potential for further changes.
  • Policies to Reduce Net Migration: These steps are taken to reduce net migration to the UK while increasing the number of international students.
  • Who Can Still Bring Dependents: Only students who are government sponsored or enrolled in a full-time postgraduate course (RQF level 7 or above) lasting 9 months or more.
  • New Requirements: All student visa applications submitted after 17 July 2023 for courses starting on or after 1 January 2024 are affected.

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