• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Australian Government announces tougher visa rules for Nigerian students

The Australian Government has announced stricter visa regulations, particularly targeting Nigerian students and their foreign counterparts planning to move to the country, in response to a surge in migration numbers hitting record highs.

The new rules, reportedly entail an increase in English language requirements for student and graduate visas.

The government will wield the authority to suspend education providers from recruiting international students if they repeatedly violate regulations.

Clare O’Neil, Home Affairs Minister emphasized that these actions aim to curb migration levels while fulfilling commitments outlined in the migration strategy to rectify the existing system.

A significant aspect of the new measures is the introduction of a “genuine student test” to deter individuals from primarily seeking employment opportunities in Australia under the guise of studying. Moreover, more stringent “no further stay” conditions will be imposed on visitor visas.

These initiatives follow a series of measures implemented last year to revoke COVID-era concessions provided by the previous government, including unrestricted working hours for international students.

The administration had pledged to tighten standards for students, potentially halving migrant intake over the next two years.

Australia raised its annual migration quota in 2022 to address labour shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic’s border closures, which prevented foreign students and workers from entering the country for nearly two years.

However, the influx of international workers and students has exacerbated pressure on the already strained rental market.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, net immigration surged by 60% to a record 548,800 individuals in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023, leading to the fastest population growth rate on record, reaching 26.8 million people by September.

While the historic migration has bolstered labour supply and contained wage pressures, it has exacerbated housing market challenges, with rental vacancies at record lows and escalating building costs constraining new supply.

O’Neil noted that government interventions since September have resulted in a decline in migration levels, with recent foreign student visa grants dropping by 35% compared to the previous year.