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Automatic and mandatory cancellation of student visas has ceased

Changes have been made to the cancellation regime for student visa holders who breach their visa conditions.  Automatic and mandatory cancellations no longer exist and departmental officers now use a discretionary framework to consider breaches of visa conditions.

Automatic and mandatory student visa cancellations were abolished on 13 April 2013.  This means that students who do not meet attendance or course progress requirements, or work for more than 40 hours per fortnight no longer face automatic or mandatory cancellation of their visa.

All international students are required to abide by their visa conditions, however if they do breach them they are now subject to a discretionary cancellation framework.  The discretionary framework allows departmental officers to take the circumstances of an individual student into consideration when assessing visa condition breaches and making a decision on whether or not to cancel a visa. 

The discretionary framework will lead to fairer outcomes for students.  For example, it will enable the department to consider individual circumstances, such as where a student may be struggling with particular unit choices and could benefit from a change of course or education provider.

The move to a discretionary framework does not change an education provider’s responsibility to report a student for breaching a visa condition.  Providers still have to advise a student when they have breached a visa condition that they may be reported to the department.  The provider should also have in place a process for the student to appeal.  If an appeal is unsuccessful an education provider must report the student to the department so that a case officer can consider the breach under the discretionary cancellation framework.

More information about the cessation of automatic and mandatory cancellation is available on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website www.immi.gov.au/students/.

Comments (3)


I have gone through your blog. The information you have given are really informative.


Pity if you are an assessment level 3 or 4 student and are applying offshore, then your chances of getting a student visa are practically nil, especially of you are a Romanian or Albanian applying through the Berlin Embassy. Discretionary powers are well and fine, but the department should be looking at the discriminatory and subjective powers that many officers in overseas posts utilise in refusing student visas before looking at changes in breaches.


Hi Steven

Thanks for reading the Migration Blog. Genuine students seeking to study in Australia have to meet certain legal requirements. These requirements are assessed by trained decision makers who consider all aspects of an application. The criteria for Assessment Level 3 and 4 applicants do require the applicants to meet a higher evidentiary requirement, this is due to the immigration risk that relates to these cohorts. The Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement is assessed for all applicants against the publically available Ministerial Direction (no 53). This is the case regardless of where the application is processed. Further information on assessing student visa applications can be found on the Department's website at www.immi.gov.au .