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Australia’s Student Visa Reforms: Implications for Indian Students

Student Visa
IIT Aspirants: Beyond Placement Packages

Australia’s new visa reforms significantly increase costs for Indian students, potentially deterring them from choosing Australia for higher education.

Australia has traditionally been one of the biggest destinations for several foreign students, especially from India. Recent reforms by the Australian government have sharply lifted the price and lowered the ease with which foreign students can come and study in Australia. The Australian Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil, has announced big reforms to the student visa policy starting July 1, 2024, aiming to bring back integrity to the international education system in a bid to create a fairer migration system. The implications are likely to be far-reaching for Indian students who want to study Down Under, but the changes are afoot that would have them working in Australia’s interests.

Probably the most notable change here is in the student visa fees for foreign students—the cost has been doubled, from A$710 to A$1,600. This makes the student visa fee in Australia the most expensive among popular destinations of study, such as Canada, New Zealand, the US, and the UK.

In addition, some categories of onshore temporary visa holders are now restricted from further traveling. Holders of Temporary Graduate, Visitor, and Maritime Crew visas will now need to leave Australia and apply for a student visa from outside the country. In addition, any student opting to adopt the temporary graduate visa is pegged at the age limit of 35 years.

Another big revision is in the minimum savings requirement for applicants for a student visa. This has now been upped from A$24,505 (around Rs 1.4 crore) to A$29,710 (around Rs 1.7 crore). And with these money requirements, coupled with the increased visa fees, it becomes a heavy burden for students and their families to bear.

Impact on Indian students

It is believed that around 120,277 Indian students are enrolled at Australian institutions as of August 2023. But this increase in visa fees and the tedious application process may keep most of the Indian aspirants deterred from coming and studying in this country. With the increased cost of studying in Australia, most students might find it more convenient to pursue higher studies in the USA, Canada, and the UK, where visa fees are lower.

This impingement will immediately hit where it hurts the most: the wallets of Indian students and their parents. Gaurav Chaudhary, an immigration consultant from Ludhiana, explained, “The sudden declaration of these changes has not allowed much to prepare in time, further increasing the financial burden on students and parents.” It is this lack of advance notice that adds to the confusion and anxiety of the would-be applicants.

There are worries that these reforms could dent the prospects of Indian students going to Australia. The founder and director of OneStep Global, Aritra Ghosal, told ET, “International education is one of the highly contributing factors for the Australian economy.”. With an increase in the fee structure, there could be a massive drop in the inflow of Indian students, who would now look for other, cheaper options. The US charges $185 (approximately Rs 15,433) for student visas, Canada around $110 (approximately Rs 9,178), and the UK approximately $620 (approximately Rs 51,732), making them more attractive options financially.

Wider Economic and Educational Impact

The impacts of these changes go beyond individual students and their families. “International student fees make a very important contribution to Australia’s economy and to our higher education institutions,” Universities Australia CEO Luke Sheehy said. The loss of international students could, therefore, have broader effects on university finances and even on the wider economy, as these students are usually significant spenders.

While the Australian government will be able to control the expansion of education in a more sustainable fashion, the quality will not be put at risk. Manisha Zaveri, Joint Managing Director of Career Mosaic, has stated that nuanced policies are required to balance affordability, educational excellence, and diversity.


The recent visa reforms in Australia will pose high costs and complexities for Indian students and their families in this land. At the same time, the government seems to be acting on its part to ensure a more just and sustainable system of migration. It is very much required that they look more importantly at the wider economic and educational repercussions that visa reforms could have on the sector. It’s a wait-and-watch regarding how Indian students will reconsider their options and how the international education landscape of Australia rewrites itself afresh in these new realities.

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