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Further Knight Review changes to the Student visa program

At the end of 2010, the Hon Michael Knight AO was appointed to conduct the first independent review of the Student visa program (the Knight Review).

Mr Knight made 41 recommendations in his report, Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011, to improve the competitiveness of the Australian international education sector and to strengthen the integrity of the Student visa program. All of the recommendations have been accepted in principle by the government. For more information, visit www.immi.gov.au/students/knight/

Staged implementation

Stage one of the Knight Review changes was implemented in late 2011 and a number of key stage two Knight Review changes were implemented recently on 24 and 26 March. The remaining stage two changes are proposed to be implemented later in 2012 and in early 2013.

Changes implemented for applications made on or after 24 March 2012

  • Streamlined visa processing for applicants studying Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral courses at participating universities in Australia are assessed as though they are a lower risk (similar to the current Assessment Level 1), regardless of their country of origin. This means that these applicants will generally have reduced evidentiary requirements when applying for a Student visa.
  • The maximum period of English language study that a Schools sector (subclass 571) visa applicant subject to Assessment Level (AL) 3 and above can undertake, has been increased to 50 weeks. Prior to 24 March 2012, the maximum period of English language study for Schools sector applicants was 40 weeks for AL 3, 30 weeks for AL 4 and nil for AL 5. The arrangements for AL 1 and AL 2 applicants remain unchanged, with no English language study period restrictions. 
  • New Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa holders can undertake English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) study on a part-time basis (less than 20 hours per week) for the duration of their visa.  However this change only applies to ELICOS study—other study restrictions remain unchanged. 

Changes implemented on 26 March 2012

  • More flexible work conditions for Student visa holders have come into effect.  Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa holders can now work unlimited hours once their courses have started and all other Student visa holders work entitlements are now 40 hours each fortnight instead of 20 hours each week.
  • The above changes apply to both new and existing Student visa holders.

More information

You can access Mr Knight’s full report, fact sheets and frequently asked questions on the stage one and stage two Knight Review changes on the department’s website: www.immi.gov.au/students/knight/

Comments (24)


We Welcome this changes , but what if a student is enrolled in a Bachelor degree in a buisness partner with the university for example student have a COE from MIT who is a institue affiliated with university of Ballarat , will be subjected to streamlined visa processing or no ?


Hi Tim

Thanks for your question. The short answer is no.

In your example above, a student enrolled in Bachelor degree at MIT would not be eligible for streamlined visa processing arrangements because MIT is not a university. For more information on streamlined visa processing, including packaging arrangements, see: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-university-sector-streamlined-process...


I am a student living in Jordan , i would like to apply for a student visa but i have a sample question , if a person was included in a migration application as a family member but this application was withdrwan before a decision is made , is this will affect the outcome of the person if he decided to apply for a student visa ?


Hi Ahmad

If a person applies for a student visa, their previous immigration history (including previous applications) is considered. However, this factor will be weighed against other factors when assessing the applicant’s genuineness for the student visa.

Thank you for your question.


this is a massively flawed policy. It: 1) Doesn’t give recognition for the value of private Higher Education institutes, it merely supports government funded providers (ie University) 2) has allowed very average universities to have a “educational business partnership” with less than reputable providers from the vocational sector 3) doesn’t address how a student would be genuine temporary entrant if they are going to a below average university with a less than reputable “business partner” 4) puts at risk the viability of private education providers, the very same private providers which government gives accreditation to 5) it puts nvestment into Higher Education at risk in the private insititutes 6) creates a massive gap between processing requirement for universities and the private educators which compete with them 6) puts jobs at risk with private Higher Education providers


Hi Stefan

Thank you for your comment.

In his report, the Hon Michael Knight AO noted that there are sound public policy reasons for applying some proposed measures, such as streamlined visa processing (SVP) arrangements, to the university sector only. See: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-university-sector-streamlined-process...

As an integral part of participating in the SVP arrangements, the universities are responsible for the actions and outcomes of their nominated educational business partners. For more information on SVP arrangements, please see: www.immi.gov.au/business-services/education-providers/streamlined-visa-a...
You will be pleased to know that on 30 November 2011, the Australian Government agreed to expand the post-study work visa arrangements which was another key recommendation of the Knight Review. The new post-study work arrangements will be available in 2013 to eligible graduates with a Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree, or a PhD from an education provider in Australia. These education providers include both universities and other education providers accredited to offer degree level programs. For more information on the new post-study work arrangements, please see: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-post-study-work.pdf

You will also be happy to know that the Government recognises that high-quality, low-risk education providers operate across all education sectors, including those outside the university sector. The lower immigration risk associated with these providers will be considered as part of the Review of the student visa Assessment Level (AL) Framework, which is another key recommendation arising from the Knight Review. On completion of the review in mid 2012 the Government may consider options for the early implementation of its findings to apply to a small number of high quality training and education providers, ahead of full implementation of the review’s findings by 2013. For more information about the Review of the AL Framework, please see: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-assessment-level-review.pdf


The financial requirement for the student applying from AL4 country under new streamline visa process, is that the funds needs to be shown from any source of income.
Does that mean that from now 1. on any relative, friend or even your employer may sponsor you? 2. there is no need to maintain the deposit for 3 months?


Hi Waseem

Thank you for your question, the short answer is yes. If you are applying under streamlined visa processing, the money required to support you and your family members may come from any source and there is no requirement to have held the money deposit for any period of time. For more information on student visa living costs and evidence of funds see: www.immi.gov.au/students/student-visa-living-costs.htm

An example of the financial requirements for applicants of a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa under the streamlined visa processing arrangements can be found here: www.immi.gov.au/students/students/573-0/financial.htm


It has talked about financial requirements, but it did not make it clear. Like, if I apply under streamlined visa program then how long will I keep money in Bank? It has said that requirements will be as like as assessment level 1. But my question is- what types of financial documents i need to show under this level? If you make it more clear about the maturity of amount and documents then it will be helpful for students...


Hi Tonima

Thank you for your comment.

Under the streamlined visa processing arrangements, you must declare on your student visa application that you have sufficient funds to cover yourself and your family members for the duration of your stay in Australia for living costs, tuition costs and school costs for any school-aged children. You must also declare that you have access to funds to cover travel costs to and from Australia. The money required to support you and your family members may come from any source and there is no requirement to have held the money deposit for any period of time.

The departmental officer assessing your application will need to be satisfied that the funds you are relying on will genuinely be available to you during your stay in Australia.

For more information on student visa living costs and evidence of funds see: www.immi.gov.au/students/student-visa-living-costs.htm


This is a positive move for prospective genuine international students, and I appreciate this effort.

Now, my question is a pretty simple one, if I apply in a packaged course i.e. one course from a business education partner and the other one from an eligible university, how much time will it take for the visa to be processed and what are the chances of not getting a refusal under this scheme?

Hi Abdul

Thank you for your question.

Given that the streamlined visa processing arrangements only commenced on 24 March 2012, processing time service standards are yet to be developed. However, you can expect that under streamlined visa processing including packaging arrangements, the majority of eligible student visa applicants will be processed quickly as they will not have to provide as much information as previously required for assessment level 2 to 4 applications.

To help ensure applications are processed quickly, it is important that applications are complete when submitted - including all necessary documentation such as medical results and evidence of Overseas Student Health Cover.

Each student visa application is assessed on its own merit and visa grant/refusal decisions are therefore made on a case by case basis.


Hello , I am Mitra from Nepal . I want to study masters of professional accounting in australia . I have completed my bachelors degree and masters degree from arts . And now i want to study two years course of MPA in australia . Recently Charles Sturt University offered a place to me for that course . But i am reading this new student visa policy and want to know clearly about it . According to that offer my total fees for two year is around 29 thousand dollar . So how much bank balance or property should i show to DIAC Visa ? And my another question is - can my masters degree in arts from my own country be a plus point or not ? And can my academic percentage be a problem for DIAC to grant me visa ? Thank you . I look forward to hearing from you .


Hi Mitra

Thank you for your comment on the new student visa policy.

Under streamlined visa processing arrangements, students still have to meet requirements in regard to English-language proficiency and financial capacity and will have to satisfy the genuine temporary entrant requirement, as do Assessment Level 1 applicants. However, they will not have the same documentary burdens that currently exist under the higher assessment levels.

The financial requirements for a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa under streamlined visa processing are explained on our website. See: www.immi.gov.au/students/students/573-0/financial.htm#a

More information on the genuine temporary entrant requirement is available. See: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-genuine-temporary-entrant.pdf

In addition, all applicants will still be subject to basic requirements such as having health insurance and not being a security or health risk. The department also reserves the right to look more closely at applications that pose a particular concern.

If you have questions about the enrolment process at a university, you will need to contact the university who issues the Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). The department does not issue CoEs – we are responsible for making visa decisions.


These Changes are great, but we are worried about the new GTE criteria , implented on 5 november , i hear that if a student have a big family and friends in Australia will be refused under the Genuine Temporary entrant criteria as the DIAC will consider him that he has an incentive to remain in Australia !
( The applicant’s ties with Australia which would present as a strong incentive to remain in Australia. This may include family and community ties. )


Dear Ghadi

Thank you for your question on the new genuine temporary entrant requirement. A genuineness assessment is generally made by taking into account a number of personal factors relating to an applicant such as their immigration history, circumstances that may encourage the applicant to return to their home country and conditions that might encourage the applicant to remain in Australia. We are aware that strong community or family links do not necessarily indicate that an applicant is not a genuine temporary entrant and that these factors need to be weighed up against an applicant’s other personal circumstances.

More information on the GTE can be found on our website. See: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-genuine-temporary-entrant.pdf


What work visa eligibility do students have who complete their 2 year studies in mid 2013?

Or is the new post study work visa available only for those students who made their applications after 5 November, 2011.

If that is so, isn't that unfair to the student who have started courses prior to 5/nov/2011.


Hi Pratik

Than you for your question. As a result of the government's agreement to recommendations in the Knight Review, we are implementing new post-study work arrangements for graduates who have completed a Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree, or a Doctoral degree, of two, three or four years respectively. The visa is likely be available from early 2013 and the legislation that sets out the particular eligibility requirements is still being developed.

You might be interested to know that students currently in Australia studying will continue to have access to the Temporary Skilled Graduate (Subclass 485) visa, which offers generous work rights to eligible graduates and allows an 18 month stay to work in Australia. Information about this visa is available: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/485/

While there are existing options for students to work after they graduate, it is important to remember that a student visa allows people to come to Australia on a temporary basis to study at an Australian educational institution. Holders of student visas are not guaranteed to be able to obtain a further visa on completion of their studies.


Hey all i understand all this changes ..i would like to share i received refusal in subclass 572 genuine intention. but i showed all my document but still DIAC give illogical refusal ...i have a question i want to apply via Streamline Pro. can in apply ...???


what is the reasons that they give you ?


Dear Faiz

Thank you for your question about streamlined visa processing (SVP).

SVP is only available for prospective students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degree courses at participating universities, or students enrolled in a package of courses comprising an enabling course (such as a prerequisite English language tuition, foundation or bridging course) followed by the main course (for example, a Bachelor degree from a participating university). SVP applicants still have to meet requirements in regard to English-language proficiency and financial capacity and will have to satisfy the genuine temporary entrant requirement, as do Assessment Level 1 applicants.

Vocational Education and Training (subclass 572) visas are not eligible for SVP. More information on SVP can be found here: www.immi.gov.au/students/_pdf/2011-university-sector-streamlined-process...


Welcome to the new Changes.

As per mine Understanding Students applying under Assessment level 1 (Stream Line visa processing) do not need the financial documents the provide? Is this correct? Instead of this they can just declare that the applicant have sufficient to meet the expenses during their study.


Hi Dinesh

Yes, your understanding is correct. Under the streamlined visa processing arrangements, student visa applicants must declare on their student visa applications to the department that they have sufficient funds to cover themselves and their family members for the duration of their stay in Australia for living costs, tuition costs and school costs for any school-aged children. Students must also declare that they have access to funds to cover travel costs to and from Australia.

However, where there is doubt about an applicant’s ability to access their claimed funds in Australia, the department may request the applicant to provide further information. Each individual participating university may have separate requirements in relation to a student’s financial status. This is a matter for each participating university to determine before issuing a prospective student a Confirmation of Enrolment.


Hi ,
Please i want an explanation of the delay in process student visa in Lebanon ,
The Australian embassy in Beirut is not fair wen assessing the student applications with all my respect .
Most students pays their colleges tuitions fee and submitted all the required documents and must wait more than 8 weeks to receive the decision on their applications !!!
Please we want you to notify the embassy in beirut to quickly decide if a student will be granted a visa or no please .
Thanks for reading .