Australian Student Visa Update: The New Genuine Student Requirement

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Spot illustrations of Australian landscapes, a female student holding books, checklists, and a flag of Australia.

Are you considering studying abroad in Australia? If so, know that the Australian government has announced incoming changes to the student visa process, which are set to take effect from March 23, 2024. More changes are expected later this year. Read on to find out more about the new Australian Genuine Student requirement, and what this means for you. 

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The New Genuine Student Requirement

In the past, international students were required to complete the Genuine Temporary Entrant, or GTE Australia, assessment. The GTE ensured that international students genuinely intend to pursue quality education in Australia. The assessment included a questionnaire, a 300-word personal statement and, in some cases, an interview. 

Starting on March 23, 2024, Australia’s student visa assessment process will now include its new Genuine Student requirement (GS). This means applicants no longer need to provide a 300-word statement. Instead, the application process will involve responding to targeted questions.

GS Requirement Questions

Australia’s new GS requirement questions will focus on establishing a clearer, more personalized assessment of each student’s intentions and circumstances. Here are some of the Genuine Student requirement questions:

  • Provide details about your current situation, such as connections to family, community, work, and financial status.
  • Explain why you chose your specific course and why you selected Australia as your study destination.
  • Describe how your chosen course will benefit you, and provide information about any previous studies you’ve undertaken in Australia.
  • If you currently hold a different type of visa, explain why you’re applying for a Student visa.

Student Visa Declaration

Alongside the new Australian genuine student requirement, the updated Student visa declaration will also require applicants to confirm that they:

  • Understand what it means to be a genuine student while studying in Australia.
  • Have read, understand, and will follow the rules of their student visa, and to notify the Department of Home Affairs if their circumstances change.
  • Understand that while some circumstances allow certain students to reside in Australia permanently, only a limited number of graduates will be eligible to do so, and those who are not eligible must depart Australia after their studies.

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English Language Proficiency Changes

The Australian Government is also making changes to the English Test requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate visa applicants. 

On December 11, 2023, the Australian Government declared that as of early 2024, changes would be made to the English language testing for student visas. The required score for student visas will increase from 5.5 to 6.0, and the minimum score for temporary graduate visas will also increase, from 6.0 to 6.5.

English Language Requirement Changes

Below are the updated minimum English language requirements for international students studying in Australia.  

  • Temporary Graduate visas will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 6.0 to 6.5 
  • Student visas will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6.0
  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 4.5 to 5.0
  • University foundation or pathway programs that deliver English language training will require an IELTS (or equivalent) score of 5.5  

Why are there different English levels for different students?

It’s Australia’s way of providing multiple pathways to study abroad success. Students with lower English proficiency can take an ELICOS or pathway course to boost their language skills, and progress to further education after graduating.

Illustration of woman thinking

What This Means for International Students

If you’re planning to apply for a Student visa in Australia, it’s essential to understand these upcoming changes. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your academic circumstances, study history, as well as your reasons for choosing Australia as your educational destination. 

It’s always a good idea to prepare for the Genuine Student requirement by thinking about how you’ll answer some potential questions, drafting different responses, and getting feedback from trusted friends or family members. As well, we recommend taking practice English language proficiency tests beforehand, to ensure your score still meets the new minimum requirements. 

Read our blog for five reasons why you should take a practice IELTS test before the real deal.

If studying in Australia is on your radar, now is the time to start preparing for these updates to the student visa process. For the latest updates and guidance, visit the Australia’s Department of Home Affairs website.

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