Australia Formalizes Student Visa Processing Priorities

The Ministerial Direction No. 107, signed on December 14, 2023, formalizes the Australian government’s processing priorities for the student and student guardian visa programs.

An evidence level is allocated to each Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)-registered education provider. The new Ministerial Direction works with the evidence level framework to prioritize applications from international students wishing to study in Australia.

Ministerial Direction No. 107 provides the highest priority to:

  • student visa applications lodged outside Australia by:
    • Schools sector, Foreign Affairs or Defense sector, and Postgraduate Research sector applicants;
    • Higher Education, English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Non-Award sector applicants studying at an education provider with an evidence​ level 1;
  • subsequent entrant applications lodged outside Australia that include an unmarried family member under 18 years​;
  • all Student Guardian visa applications (lodged in or outside Australia).

Any secondary applicant (spouse, de-facto partner or dependent child) who is included in the primary visa application will be given the same priority as the primary applicant.

Subsequent entrant means a secondary applicant for a student visa who did not make a combined application with the primary applicant / primary visa holder.

Where the primary applicant intends to undertake two or more courses of study (course packaging), the application will be given the order of priority that applies to the principal course of study (i.e. the course of study with the highest Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level).

The new student visa processing priorities apply to all visa applications lodged on or from December 15, 2023, as well as applications lodged prior to this date that are yet to be finalized.

Student visa applications lodged in Australia will continue to be processed according to existing processing arrangements.

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