Australia doubles student visa fees; Indians to be hit – The Siasat Daily

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Australia has more than doubled the cost of student visa fees for international students, a move that will impact thousands of Indians planning to study in the country.

The fee has increased from USD 710 to USD 1,600.

Hike in student visa fees may benefit Australia’s competitors

The move has triggered outrage from student representatives who say that the price hike will drive potential students to competitors, ABC News reported on Monday.

The increased student visa fees for Australia are applicable from July 1. The federal government said the additional revenue will help fund initiatives in education, including cuts to graduate debt, financial support for apprentices, and the ongoing implementation of its migration strategy, the report said.

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“International education is an incredibly important national asset and we need to ensure its integrity and quality,” Minister for Education Jason Clare said in a statement.

Indian students in Australia

According to the Indian High Commission in Canberra, the number of Indian students enrolled for studying in Australia is estimated at around 120,277 as of August 2023, making Indian students the second-largest cohort of foreign students in Australia.

Meanwhile, Yeganeh Soltanpour, the national president of the Council of International Students Australia, slammed the decision, noting the fee increase, combined with high deposit costs, places extra strain on international students, the ABC report said.

“The possibility of spending all that money only to face rejection is quite disheartening for many students. It has caused many in the student community to explore other options and competitive countries,” she said.

Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, told the ABC that the announcement was the “last straw” for the international education sector, which has already suffered from a slowdown in visa approvals.

“We are really in danger of losing a USD 48 billion a year industry,” he said, adding that it will “heavily impact” relationships with our Indo-Pacific neighbors who rely on Australia to deliver world-class qualifications to young people. He warned that this change could drive prospective students to the United Kingdom, Australia’s closest competitor, which currently charges USD 900 for student visa fees.

Australia increases funds needed for student visa

Apart from student visa fees, recently, Australia increased the funds required for the visas.

Effective on May 10, 2024, students applying for Australian visas are required to show funds equivalent to 75 percent of the national minimum wage.

Currently, the funds required for an Australian student visa for the primary applicant is AUD 29,710.

The decision was made to ensure that students can afford basic living expenses in Australia.

With inputs from PTI

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