Australia Announces Stricter Visa Rules for Nigerian Students and Others

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The Australian government has unveiled plans to implement a more rigorous visa scheme targeting international students from Nigeria and several other countries, aimed at curbing migration.

According to Claire O’Neil, the Australian Home Affairs Minister, the new visa regulations will empower the government to suspend universities from recruiting foreign students if they violate the established guidelines.

Reuters reported that Australia will commence the enforcement of stricter visa rules for foreign students this week, coinciding with official data indicating another surge in migration.

Beginning this Saturday, the new visa regulations will mandate an increase in English language proficiency requirements for student and graduate visas, potentially exacerbating an already constrained rental market.

O’Neil stated, “The actions this weekend will continue to drive migration levels down while fulfilling our commitments in the migration strategy to address the flawed system we inherited.”

A novel “genuine student test” will be introduced to further scrutinize international students intending to relocate to Australia for employment opportunities. Additionally, “no further stay” conditions will be applied to a greater number of visitor visas.

These measures follow a series of steps taken last year to revoke COVID-era concessions introduced by the previous government, including unlimited working hours for international students.

Australia had previously announced plans to tighten rules for students, potentially halving its migrant intake over two years.

In 2022, Australia adjusted its annual migration figures to assist businesses in recruiting staff to address shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted stringent border controls and restricted entry for foreign students and workers for nearly two years.

However, the sudden influx of foreign workers and students exacerbated pressure on an already strained rental market, according to the report.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on Thursday revealed a 60% surge in net immigration to a record 548,800 in the year ending Sept. 30, 2023, surpassing the 518,000 individuals in the year ending June 2023.

Australia’s population increased by 2.5% – the fastest rate on record – reaching 26.8 million people by last September.

Driven by students from India, China, and the Philippines, the record migration expanded the labor supply and tempered wage pressures. However, it intensified pressure on the housing market, where rental vacancies remained at historic lows, and elevated construction costs limited new supply.

O’Neil emphasized that government initiatives since September have resulted in a decline in migration levels, with recent grants for international student visas decreasing by 35% compared to the previous year.

Soukaina Sghir

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