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January 12, 2024

Visa updates: International Students Visa Rules have changed this year

“Recent changes have occurred in Australia’s international student visa rules this year, but what lies ahead in the future remains uncertain. What can we expect moving forward?”


The Australian government has consistently strengthened the international education sector by implementing various modifications to student visas. Here is a compilation of noteworthy visa changes announced this year that have had an impact on international students, coupled with a glimpse into what the future holds for this cohort in the upcoming year.

The influx of international students to Australia has been steadily increasing, and the government acknowledges that the student program is currently receiving a substantial number of applications.

Simultaneously, with the return of international students post the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures, the federal government has been escalating its efforts to combat the exploitation of the visa system.

In a recent statement, Education Minister Jason Clare emphasized, “International education is a key national asset – it is the largest export that doesn’t come out of the ground.”

The Evolution of Visa Rules in 2023

Work limitation

In July of 2024,, the federal government reintroduced a maximum weekly work hour limit of 24 hours for international students. This measure aims to discourage the misuse of student visas for employment purposes.

Following this, in August, the government addressed the loophole associated with the ‘concurrent certificate of enrolment.’ This action prevents the practice of transferring international students between courses within the first six months of their arrivals.

Moreover, the COVID-era visa, Subclass 408, which had previously allowed thousands of international students to work without restrictions, was officially closed as of September this year for all new applicants.

English Language Criteria

From 2024,  there will be an elevation in the English language requirements for international student and temporary graduate visas. As per the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), individuals applying for a Graduate visa are now required to attain a score of 6.5, an increase from the previous threshold of 6.0.

Likewise, those seeking a student visa must now reach a score of 6.0, as opposed to the earlier requirement of 5.5

Other updates

As a result, the government has proposed alterations to the duration and eligibility criteria for post-study work rights.

Under these revisions, the Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa will reduce post-study work rights for Master’s by coursework degrees from three to two years and for PhDs from four to three years.

Additionally, the maximum age for international students eligible for a temporary graduate work visa will be decreased from 50 to 35 years old.

Furthermore, adjustments to the work experience requirement for a Temporary Skills Shortage visa (and the upcoming Skills in Demand visa) will provide more opportunities for Temporary Graduates visa holders to transition to skilled visas.

Perspectives from Students

Students share their insights into navigating visa changes, offering advice and firsthand accounts of their journeys through the evolving international student visa landscape.


In conclusion, navigating the evolving landscape of international student visa rules requires a multifaceted approach. Understanding the historical context, current regulations, and future trends empowers students and institutions to adapt successfully.The announcement of these changes aims to “enhance integrity in international education and provide assistance to authentic students.

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