What is Australia's New Migration Policy & How will it Affect Indian Students / Migrants?

The Australian government has implemented stricter visa rules for international students and workers to control immigration numbers. While these changes might seem concerning, they may not significantly impact Indian students/migrants due to an existing trade agreement between India and Australia.

Here’s a summary of the new policy and its potential effects:

Key points of the new policy

Increased IELTS score requirements

The IELTS score requirements for student and graduate visas have been updated. Previously, a score of 6.0 was needed for the graduate visa, but now applicants must have a score of 6.5, representing a moderate increase in difficulty. For the student visa, the score requirement has increased from 5.5 to 6.0, which is a full-point increase and may impact a broader range of applicants.

India has an ECTA agreement with Australia, but some students may face difficulties meeting the new higher score requirements. This could particularly affect those previously scoring closer to the 5.5 or 6.0 thresholds. Students with lower IELTS scores can consider alternative pathways, such as attending preparatory courses in Australia or applying to universities with lower English language requirements.

Shorter durations for graduate visas

Australia’s new migration policy also includes shortening the duration of Temporary Graduate visas (subclass 485) for some qualifications. This change affects how long international students can stay and work in Australia after graduation. Here’s a breakdown:

Previous visa durations:

  • Bachelor’s degree: 2 years
  • Master’s degree (coursework): 3 years
  • Master’s degree (research): 3 years
  • PhD: 4 years

New visa durations:

  • Bachelor’s degree: 2 years (unchanged)
  • Master’s degree (coursework): 2 years (reduced by 1 year)
  • Master’s degree (research): 3 years (unchanged)
  • PhD: 3 years (reduced by 1 year)

The period for Indian graduates to find skilled employment in Australia may be limited, making it difficult for them to transition to permanent residency. Graduates must adapt to this shorter timeframe for job seeking. However, they can still use their Australian qualification and work experience to improve their career prospects. Exploring all available visa options and seeking professional guidance despite the shorter duration is essential.

Second Visa for International Students

The new Australian migration policy does bring some changes regarding second visas for international students, and it’s essential to understand these for your plans. Here’s a breakdown:

New Genuine Student Test (GST): This test assesses whether a student intends to study or obtain a visa to stay in Australia. The specific format and criteria of the GST are still under development, but it might involve factors like course suitability, financial resources, and previous study history.

Increased scrutiny on second visa applications: The Department of Home Affairs will implement stricter checks for students applying for double visas, particularly those seeking to transition to permanent residency in Australia. This might involve more stringent document verification, interviews, academic progress, and engagement evaluation.

A new specialist visa for highly skilled workers in Australia

Australia is introducing a new specialist visa for highly skilled workers, with a one-week processing time. This is exciting news because, like many developed economies, Australia faces a shortage of skilled workers in specific sectors. This visa aims to attract and fast-track the entry of top talent to address this gap. Australia understands the intense competition for skilled workers among developed economies, and offering a streamlined visa process like this is one way to stand out and attract the best candidates.

Processing times for visas can often be lengthy and cumbersome, but a one-week timeframe promises significant improvement in efficiency, which will be appealing to both businesses and applicants. Introducing this new visa initiative is a positive step to attracting and retaining top talent in Australia.

Simplified pathway to permanent residency for in-demand professions

Here’s a breakdown of the Skills in Demand Visa (491):

Target professions:

  • Healthcare professionals (nurses, doctors, etc.)
  • Engineers (civil, mechanical, etc.)
  • IT specialists (software developers, data analysts, etc.)
  • Infrastructure workers (builders, electricians, etc.)
  • Other occupations deemed critical to the Australian economy

Compared to other pathways for permanent residency, the Skills in Demand Visa offers a faster application processing time. Holders of this visa are allowed to work and study full-time in Australia. Upon completing four years of work in Australia in the nominated occupation, one can apply for permanent residency.

To apply for a work visa in Australia, you must obtain a skills assessment for your nominated occupation from a designated authority, demonstrate English language proficiency (IELTS 6.0 or higher), and secure sponsorship from an eligible employer.

Professionals with high-demand skills from India may have an easier path to obtaining permanent residency in Australia. This can benefit the Australian economy and Indian professionals by retaining and attracting top talent from India. It will provide Indian professionals with opportunities for career advancement and migration.

Faster visa processing for high-income earners (>$135,000)

Introducing faster visa processing for high-income earners (> $135,000) in Australia’s new migration policy sparks mixed reactions and raises several points to consider. Offering quicker visa processing could entice international talents and entrepreneurs with significant earning potential to choose Australia as their career destination. High-income earners can contribute substantially to the national income through taxes and investments, stimulating economic growth. Faster visa processing for high-income individuals could expedite setting up businesses or attracting high-level executives, benefiting relevant sectors.

Semi-Skilled Workers

The Australian government has recently introduced a new migration policy that affects multiple levels of skilled workers. In particular, it is worth examining semi-skilled positions such as machine operators, drivers, and heavy machine operators, despite the policy’s emphasis on higher skill levels. Although some industries in Australia, like construction and transport, need semi-skilled workers, there is currently a shortage. Therefore, if you have the required talent, opportunities are available for you.

Specific programs, such as the Temporary Work Visa (subclass 482), cater to certain occupations experiencing workforce shortages. This could be a pathway for semi-skilled workers in industries requiring their expertise. Some semi-skilled jobs need skills assessment or specific training programs recognized by Australian authorities. Completing such programs could increase your chances of securing relevant opportunities.

Why Policy Changes in Australia?

The Australian government has introduced new immigration policies for student visas and worker migration. These policies aim to attract skilled labour in areas of critical need.

Australia currently has approximately 650,000 international students. Among them, nearly 150,000 students are applying for their second visa. However, the Australian government has recently introduced a new policy that will implement stricter scrutiny for such visa applications. This new policy may make it more challenging for some students to extend their stay, especially those pursuing a second course. The upcoming Genuine Student Test (GST) aims to assess the primary intention of student visa applicants. This test may affect those whose primary goal is not to study genuinely but to stay in Australia.

Australia has always been a popular destination for international students. If you plan to study abroad in Australia, seeking expert advice and support is essential, especially when managing your finances. Unimoni can assist you with this. We offer quality services to help Indian students navigate the study process in Australia. With Unimoni, you can securely and efficiently transfer funds to pay your university fees and secure your seat!

The reduced duration of Graduate visas for some degrees to two years may pressure international students to find skilled employment and transition to permanent residency within a shorter timeframe.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently stated the need to adjust Australia’s migration numbers and reform the system. He believes the current intake might exceed what Australia can comfortably handle regarding infrastructure, housing, and social services. Albanese emphasized the need for a “sustainable level” of migration and described the current system as “broken.” He suggested that the system is inefficient and potentially unfair and that improvements are needed to target skilled workers and address labour shortages. His statement has sparked various discussions about the future of immigration in Australia.


The new policy emphasizes skilled migration and strives to create a more sustainable immigration system. Although it imposes stricter requirements for some applicants, it also provides more straightforward paths for students and experienced professionals who are genuinely interested, which could be particularly advantageous for Indian migrants in specific fields.

Remember that this policy is new, and its long-term impacts are not fully understood. Staying informed about official guidelines and consulting with immigration experts for accurate information and personalized guidance is essential.

Unimoni can provide guidance and support in the visa application process, including document preparation and follow-up with authorities. Unimoni can assist you in exploring housing options based on your preferences and budget. A free Forex card from Unimoni can conveniently manage your expenses while studying abroad. You can save on foreign transaction fees and provide competitive exchange rates. Lastly, Unimoni can help you find and book flights to Australia at competitive prices. Utilizing Unimoni’s services can ensure a smooth and successful transition to your studies in Australia.

For more migration-related issues, talk to our expert: ntact.html.