Update on Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF) for Australia

From 1st July 2016, the Australia student visa regulation and policies will change from SVP (Streamlined Visa Process) to SSVF (Simplified Student Visa Framework).  The streamlined student visa framework has abandoned eight visa subclasses, the Assessment Level framework and Streamlined Visa Processing arrangements. As part of this process, a number of Country Assessment Levels (AL) have changed and some countries now require less evidentiary requirements to be submitted with the student’s visa application, however in these cases DIBP have noted that they still may require further information for certain cases.  We have to ensure that we should remain aware of the AL requirements for the country that we are recruiting students from. As per the new rules, risk rating for India is regular whereas for some neighboring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka the risk rating considered is streamlined.

Some of the key changes under SSVF are:

  • Only 2 visa subclasses(500 – Student Visa and 590 – Student Guardian Visa);
  • DIBP has categorized all student visa applications under Streamlinedor Regular based on the Assessment Level of country and provider.
  • Evidentiary requirements under SSVF– Institutions falling under Assessment Level 1 (the lowest risk category) will have access to the faster, simpler student visa processing arrangements under SSVF.
  • English Language requirements– Regular student visa requirements will need to provide evidence of English through a registered English Test Provider, e g. IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Cambridge, OET;
  • The Assessment Levels (ALs) of providers and countries will not be published – they will feed into an online client service tool which is open now.  So one can check the documentary requirement using this online tool for respective countries and universities.
  • Student’s must remain enrolled in courses of the same Australian Qualification Framework (AQF level) (or higher), i.e. no downgrading from Bachelor to Advanced Diploma will be permitted;
  • All visa applications will be submitted online (no paper application permitted under SSVF); all required documents can be uploaded online for visa application assessment although DIBP has allow to upload the pending documents at later stage but this will be riskier if the decision will be taken on the basis of the available documents. Hence, it is advisable to upload all required documents in one stroke.
  • All family members must be declared on student visa application.  Family members who are not declared will not be permitted to join student in Australia;
  • Students who are onshore on Domestic Worker, Diplomatic, transit or visitor (sponsored family) visas will need to go offshore to apply for a student visa.