International student applications to rise following visa changes

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Australia is hoping for a surge in visa applications from overseas students after putting into place recommendations from a review commissioned after numbers fell.

International education is one of Australia’s largest export sectors, generating income of $15.3 billion in 2011/2012 and generating thousands of jobs for Australians but between n 2009 and 2011 student visa grant numbers declined due to global and local factors.

In December 2010, the Australian Government commissioned the first independent review of Australia’s student visa programme, headed by the Hon Michael Knight AO, which made a series of recommendations to improve the situation. Higher education establishments had warned that dwindling numbers would have a serious financial impact.

The recommendations arising from the review aimed to address the decline through the introduction of initiatives such as streamlined visa processing, which allows eligible student visa applicants from certain universities to be assessed as a lower immigration risk, irrespective of their country of origin.

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