On 16 June 2015 the Australian Government released the Future directions for streamlined visa processing report and announced the introduction of a simplified student visa framework (SSVF) to support Australia’s education services sector.

What is SSVF?

SSVF is Simplified Student visa Framework which going to replace the present Streamline Visa Processing(SVP). It will simplify and reduce student visa sub classes from eight to two. It will arrange simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students.

Key changes Under SSVF:

  • Reduction in the number of student visa sub classes from eight to two; and
  • The introduction of a simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students

Current structure of the student visa programme:

The student visa framework is currently quite complex, encompassing eight visa sub classes, the Assessment Level framework and streamlined visa processing arrangements.

Currently, prospective students must apply for the student visa subclass applicable to their intended level of study, for example, subclass 573 for Higher Education.

Prospective student visa applicants are then either assessed under the Assessment Level (AL) framework or streamlined visa processing (SVP) arrangements.

Under the AL (Assessment Level) framework, there are three assessment levels with AL1 representing the lowest immigration risk and AL3 the highest. The higher the AL, the greater the amount of evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their claims for the grant of a student visa.

Under SVP, eligible student visa applicants – that is, students whose main course of study is an Advanced Diploma, Bachelor degree, Masters, Doctoral degree or eligible exchange programme at a participating SVP education provider – are not assigned an AL.

Student visa under the SSVF:

The SSVF is intended to replace existing streamlined visa processing and AL framework arrangements.

Under the SSVF, the combined immigration risk outcomes of the student’s education provider and country of citizenship will be used to guide the level of documentation relating to financial capacity and English language proficiency that the student would need to provide with their student visa application.

Additionally, students would no longer apply for a specific student visa subclass applicable to their level of study for example, subclass 573 for Higher Education. Rather, it is intended that there will be only one student visa subclass for which all prospective students will apply.

Impact of the SSVF on existing student visa holders:

The SSVF is intended to apply only to student visa applications lodged after the middle of 2016 and is not expected to affect existing student visa holders.

Reason for change:

The changes are designed to make the student visa framework simpler to navigate for genuine students, deliver a more targeted approach to immigration integrity and create a level playing field for all education providers.

Commencement date for the SSVF:

Subject to the regulatory change process, it is expected that the SSVF will be implemented from mid-2016.

Source: DIBP