Drop in Bhutanese applications as Australia tightens visa rules

After the number of immigrants hit a record high, the Australian government is enforcing stricter visa regulations for international students. The Australian government has increased the requirement of English language scores and reduced temporary visa duration. Call it the effect of this change in policy in the southern hemisphere or a shift in interest, some of the education consultancy firms in the country say they are seeing a decrease in the number of Bhutanese applying for studies in Australia compared to the past year.

As a measure to regulate the influx of international students, a new ‘Genuine Student Test’ or GS requirement has replaced the ‘Genuine Temporary Entrant’ requirement for obtaining a student visa in March this year.

The GS requirement aims to verify that applicants intending to study in Australia are genuinely committed to their studies. Moreover, it is expected to crack down on those who seek to come to Australia primarily for work purposes.

According to international reports, the English language requirements for student and graduate visas have been increased. The overall requirement for the English language test score to obtain a student visa has increased from 6 to 6.5.

Some of the education consultancy firms in the country say they have observed a decrease of almost 50 per cent in the number of applicants planning to pursue further studies in Australia compared to last year. They attribute this decline to people’s skepticism regarding policy changes down under ultimately resulting in a declining enthusiasm for the Australia exodus among Bhutanese.

After Australia granted international students unrestricted working hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country recorded an all-time high number of immigrants in 2022. The number of immigrants in Australia has reached nearly 550,000 as of last year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics mainly driven by students from India, China and the Philippines.

This move was aimed at helping businesses in recruiting staff to fill shortages resulting from the pandemic’s strict border controls, which had kept foreign students and workers out for nearly two years.

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