In March of this year, Australia implemented stricter regulations for student visas amid a surge in migration, particularly impacting Indian students. This decision has led to allegations of selective visa denials and heightened apprehensions regarding strained relations with New Delhi. Reports reveal a significant drop of 48% in visas issued to Indian students between December 2022 and December 2023, aligning with Australia’s goal to reduce net migration by half by 2025.

In recent months, the Anthony Albanese-led government has implemented a series of reforms aimed at restricting back-door entry for work and permanent residency. These reforms encompass stricter eligibility criteria for visas, reinforced English-language testing requirements, and additional regulations for education agents facilitating the arrival of overseas students to the country.

According to data from the Indian High Commission in Canberra, approximately 122,000 Indian students pursued studies in Australia from January to September 2023. A report by The Guardian, referencing official figures, highlights a concerning trend: one out of every five student visa applications has been denied this year up to March, leading to prolonged waiting periods for many applicants. The rejection rates have soared to unprecedented levels, with Nepalese visa denials increasing by 53% and Pakistani visa rejections by 55% during the same timeframe.

Some Australian universities have reacted to the crackdown by implementing stricter policies, including a complete prohibition on Indian students. As reported by The Guardian, many students have faced setbacks, with a notable portion being compelled to postpone or cancel their applications due to processing delays. Additionally, some have been suspended until they meet additional criteria.

Central Queensland University has informed education agents that it will cease offering English language programs to students from India or Nepal, as well as enrollments to applicants over 25 or married, except for research placements.

Recent measures aimed at enhancing university risk ratings have led to restrictions, particularly evident in visa processing. Progression in visa approvals has primarily favored low-risk universities ranked at level 1. These ratings serve to evaluate the likelihood of educational institutions recruiting non-genuine students, primarily those seeking work rather than education. Notably, the updated list in May saw nine universities shifted to level 2 and two to level 3.


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