New Australian Student Visa Rules: A Close Call for Nigerians Seeking Cheaper Studies
The Australian government announced new student visa rules, closing a loophole exploited by international students, including Nigerians, to reduce study costs in Australia.
Additionally, the required savings for a student visa have increased.
This will impact international students planning to study in Australia.
Additionally, there is an augmentation in the financial reserves required to secure a student visa.
These modifications are destined to have extensive repercussions for international students contemplating an education in Australia.
The ‘Concurrent Study’ Loophole
Up until recently, international students were permitted to undertake additional courses alongside their main studies under the ‘concurrent study’ rule.
This rule was initially put in place to help students prepare for the job market by allowing them to take short courses in addition to their primary university courses.
However, the government has noted that many students were taking advantage of this rule to abandon their university courses and switch to cheaper ones permanently.
Australian Education Minister, Jason Clare, stated, “This change will work to stop predatory ‘second’ providers from enrolling students before they have studied for the required six months at their first provider.”
According to Reuters, there was a significant increase in the use of concurrent study, with 17,000 concurrent enrollments created in the first half of 2023 compared to 10,500 for the same period in 2019 and 2022 combined.
Increased Savings Requirement
In addition to closing the ‘concurrent study’ loophole, the Australian government is also increasing the savings requirement for international students to obtain a student visa.
Starting from October 1, 2023, international students will need to provide evidence of having A$24,505 (approximately N12.10 million) in savings, a 17% increase from the previous requirement of about N10 million.
The Education Minister pointed out that international education is Australia’s fourth-largest export industry, and maintaining the integrity of this sector is crucial for the country’s economy.
Impact on Nigerian Students
This development comes as a blow to Nigerian students and others who had been using the ‘concurrent study’ rule to make their studies in Australia more affordable.
A report by voiceofnigeria.org.ng mentioned that a Nigerian living abroad had published a comprehensive estimate of the cost of migrating to the United Kingdom.
Although it was noted that this was only an estimate, the study aimed to provide guidance to Nigerians traveling as singles, married couples, or families.
The number of Nigerians migrating to the UK, primarily through studies, is at an all-time high.
The new student visa rules in Australia, including the closure of the ‘concurrent study’ loophole and the increase in the savings requirement, will undoubtedly make it more challenging for international students, including Nigerians, to study in Australia affordably.
It remains to be seen how this will impact the number of international students choosing Australia as their study destination and the ripple effects it will have on the Australian education sector and the country’s economy.