Navigating New Horizons

As you’ve likely heard, there are some ‘proposed changes’ coming for international students. In this blog, we will delve into the significant proposed changes to Australia’s migration strategy and their implications for international students and graduates.

The Importance of Australian Education

The Global Impact of Australian Education

Our education sector is not just a contributor to the Australian economy but a beacon for international students, highlighting Australia’s role in global education. Currently, the international education industry is worth $30 billion and, based on this, is a key industry for Australia.

The Need for Reform

Why Immigration is Making Changes

The Australian government says the proposed reforms are designed to sustain growth and maintain the quality of education, ensuring Australia remains a top destination for international students.

Enhancing Educational Standards

Improving Educational Integrity

A key focus of these proposed changes is enhancing the quality of education, particularly in the VET sector, to ensure the best experiences for students.

Proposed Language Requirement Changes

Elevating English Proficiency Standards

The government is proposing to increase English language requirements for various visas, aiming to better prepare students for their academic and professional journey in Australia.

Visa Type Current IELTS Requirement Proposed New IELTS Requirement
Student Visa 5.5 6.0
Temporary Graduate Visa 6.0 6.5
Student Visa (ELICOS Pathway) 4.5 5.0
University Foundation/Pathway Programs 5.5 5.5 (No Change Proposed)


Not all students need English in order to apply for a student visa and these proposed changes are likely only to apply for those higher assessment level countries that require English as part of their current student visa application.

For example, Colombian and Mexican students (and other countries that don’t currently need English) won’t need English to apply to apply for a student visa

Workplace Rights for International Students

Strengthening Student Protections in the Workplace

The proposed changes in Australia’s migration strategy include a significant focus on strengthening the workplace rights of international students. Recognizing the vulnerability of international students in the workforce, these reforms aim to create a more equitable and supportive work environment. Here’s a detailed look at what these enhancements might entail:

Enhanced Protections Against Exploitation

  • Preventing Underpayment and Unfair Practices: The strategy proposes measures to combat the underpayment of international students and protect them from unfair work practices.
  • Regulatory Oversight: Increased oversight and enforcement by regulatory bodies are proposed to ensure that employers adhere to fair labour standards.

Proposed Changes to Graduate Visa Durations and Age Limits

Adjusting Temporary Graduate Visa Terms and Age Eligibility

The current Post study work and Graduate Work stream will be merged into a new stream / name = Temporary Graduate Visas (TGV). Here are the proposed changes to the duration and age eligibility of Temporary Graduate Visas:

Degree Level Current TGV Duration Proposed New TGV Duration Proposed Age Limit
Bachelor Degree 2 years 2 years 35 years
Masters by Coursework 3 years 2 years 35 years
Masters by Research 3 years 3 years 35 years
PhD 4 years 3 years 35 years
Additional for Regional Study + 1–2 years based on location No change proposed
Extension of Post-Study Work Rights + 2 years for eligible study in skills need area No extension proposed

There is no information on changes to the length of the current graduate work visa (which will be part of the Temporary Graduate Visa) and we anticipate that it will stay at 18 months.

These changes, including the proposed age limit reduction to 35 years and the removal of the extension of post-study work rights, could significantly affect post-graduation plans if they are implemented. At this stage, we have no further information other than what’s been announced and we will be updating clients through blogs as soon as we know more.

The government has said these changes may happen in mid-2024.

Your Partner in This Journey

Navigating changes together

At Education and Migration Services Australia, we’re committed to guiding you through these potential changes. We’re here to support you in making informed decisions about your educational and professional opportunities in Australia. For more information, please reach out to our team.

For more information on changes visit Migration Strategy – Action Plan or the full Migration Strategy document.

Shannon Semenikow
CEO, Education and Migration Services Australia