The Federal Government has announced its response to the Knight Review, confirming a suite of measures designed to streamline student visa applications and increase international competitiveness for the lucrative international student market.


The new measures are in response to the report by the Hon Michael Knight AO, Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011, which was released this week.


The government will introduce the new visa processing arrangements for a range of Australian university courses for faster, easier visa access for prospective students in time for second semester next year.


'Our consultations found that the financial requirements for Student Visas were too onerous, so we are reducing the financial requirements for some applicants, with students now needing around $36 000 less in the bank when applying for a visa,' Federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen said.


'This reduction in the AL financial requirements will particularly assist a significant number of Vocational Education and Training and private education providers.'


A two- to four-year post-study work visa will also be available for university graduates depending on the level of study completed. Other work visa options, such as the Temporary Skilled 457 visa and the Skilled Graduate Visa, continue to be available to graduates and to employers looking to meet skills needs.


As part of the response to the Knight Review, the government will also:

  • Allow all English language students to apply for a visa without first meeting minimum English skills requirements;
  • Extend the time a PhD student can stay in Australia while their thesis is marked;
  • Establish an Education Visa Consultative Committee to improve information flow between the Australian Government and the international education sector; and
  • Repeal the automatic cancellation and mandatory cancellation provisions for student visas.

Mr Knight's report, the terms of reference for the AL review and a range of fact sheets can be found on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's website.