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Which university applicants would be eligible for streamlined processing?
It is proposed that eligible applicants would include those enrolled in:
·Bachelor degrees
·2 plus 2 (or 3 plus 1) arrangements with partner universities
·Masters degrees by coursework
·Masters degrees by research
·English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and/or foundation and other preparatory courses, including Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, which are explicitly packaged with an eligible university course at the time when the offer of enrolment is made
·semester or year long non-award courses at an Australian university as part of their home university’s degree course and/or as part of an agreed student exchange between Universities.

Which university applicants would not be eligible for streamlined processing?
It is proposed that streamlined processing arrangements would not be available for students enrolled in:
·short courses
·Associate degrees
·Graduate diplomas
·Graduate certificates
·Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas
·non-award courses (except as mentioned above)
·courses below Bachelor level delivered by universities which are dual sector (VET and university).
Access to streamlined arrangements would be subject to decisions by individual universities to be part of new processing arrangements.

Why are the proposed streamlined arrangements recommended only for the university sector?
In his report, the Strategic Review of the Student Visa program 2011, the Hon Michael Knight
AO observed that there are sound public policy reasons for providing benefits to Australian universities, namely:
·the universities are the spearhead of Australia’s international reputation for education
·quality is high right across the entire Australian university sector
·governments and regulators traditionally treat universities differently to other education providers
·high quality is preserved by keeping the number of institutions recognised as universities relatively small
·because there are only 39 of them, the university sector is much easier to monitor and regulate
·the university sector is very stable
·Australian taxpayers have a huge financial stake in Australian universities
·international students generally stay longer in a university course than with other educational providers
·overall university students have proven to be relatively low risk from a migration integrity perspective.

How would the streamlined arrangements work?
It is proposed that students with a CoE for an eligible course in a participating Australian university would generally have reduced evidentiary requirements when applying for a student visa, regardless of their nationality, as they would be treated as though they were a lower migration risk (similar to the current Assessment Level 1).
The students would still have to satisfy requirements in regard to English-language and finances and would have to meet the new genuine temporary entrant requirement. However, they would not have the same documentary burdens that currently exist under the higher Assessment levels.
In addition, all applicants would still be subject to basic requirements such as having health insurance and not being a security or health risk. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) would also reserve the right to look more closely at applications from any group that pose a particular concern.

What would be the benefits of streamlined processing?
Under the proposed streamlined processing arrangements, universities could be confident that the majority of their students would have their visa applications processed quickly. In addition, student visa applicants applying under the proposed streamlining arrangements would generally have reduced evidentiary requirements.
Streamlined processing would help Australian universities to support increased numbers of high-quality, genuine international students and would help to make Australia a destination of choice for international students.

Would there be any changes to where I lodge my application in the future?
No. There are no proposals to change lodgement processes currently in place.
If students are currently required to lodge paper-based applications overseas then they would continue to do so under the streamlined arrangements.
If students are currently able to lodge applications via offshore student agents, which in turn means they can be lodged via the internet (including India, the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia and Thailand under the eVisa student lodgement trial), then they would continue to do so under the streamlined arrangements.
If students are currently eligible to directly apply for eVisa lodgement, then they would continue to do so under the streamlined arrangements.

Would I need to provide additional documents if my university is a party to the proposed streamlined arrangements?
No. As with the current arrangements, DIAC may request additional evidence from applicants during the visa assessment processes.
Student visa applicants would still need to satisfy universities that they have the financial, educational and English language ability needed to complete their specific university course.

Would all of Australia’s universities be participating in the proposed streamlined visa processing arrangements?
The government will shortly consult with all of Australia’s universities, giving them the opportunity to participate in the proposed streamlined arrangements and outlining the requirements for participation.

When would the streamlined arrangements be implemented?
It is proposed that the streamlined visa processing arrangements will be implemented in the first half of 2012.
The proposed implementation date would allow time to consult with universities on their responsibilities under the arrangements.

What are assessment levels?
Currently, assessment levels serve to align student visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country studying in a particular education sector. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and Assessment Level 5 the highest. The higher the assessment level, the greater the evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their claims for the grant of a student visa. Further information about student visa assessment levels can be found on DIAC’s website.
See: www.immi.gov.au/students/student-visa-assessment-levels.htm

What is meant by 2 plus 2 (or 3 plus 1) arrangements with partner universities?
The 2 plus 2 program is described as a formal structured joint program undertaken through partner universities, with two years at the overseas university and two years at an Australian University.
The 3 plus 1 program is described as a formal structured joint program undertaken through partner overseas and Australian universities with three years at one university and one year at the other university.
Some joint programs can also last longer than four years in total, with students undertaking, for example, 3 plus 2 programs of study overseas and in Australia. These programs are also included in this definition.


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