Indian international students deemed “high-risk” by Australia

Earlier this month, MB noted that there had been a surge in visa rejections of Indian international students.

This is evidenced by the latest Department of Home Affairs student visa data, which shows that roughly one-in-ten Indian student visa applications from within Australia were rejected over the past two years, well above the circa 5% rejection rate across all nations:

This same data also shows that rejections are much higher for student visa applications originating from outside of Australia, with 20% to 30% of applications from India rejected over the past two years, roughly double the average from all source nations:

As shown above, Nepal and Pakistan also have very high visa rejection rates, suggesting they too are ‘high risk’ source nations for international students.

The soaring visa rejection rates come at the same time as the volume of Indian student visa applications on hand with the Department of Home Affairs has ballooned, dwarfing all other nations, with Nepal also experiencing explosive growth:

These applications from India and Nepal are likely being delayed because they are high-risk and, therefore, warrant aditional scrutiny from the Department of Home Affairs.

With this background in mind, it is not surprising that Australia has now placed student visa applications from India, Nepal and Pakistan in the “high-risk” category, changing the assessment level for these countries from Level 2 to Level 3. From SBS News:

Assessment Levels (ALs) streamline the current visa system, which also dictate the requirements set for a visa application…

Perth-based migration agent Narinder Kaur told SBS Punjabi that the visa system has now been updated for visa applicants from India, Pakistan and Nepal.

“The international students from these countries are now in the high-risk category. The assessment level for these visa applications has gone up from Level 2 to Level 3,” she said…

Ms Kaur said the new applicants from the Indian sub-continent will now have a mandatory requirement for English proficiency and funds available.

“Previously, this was not the case as these countries were placed in Assessment Level 2″…

Ms Kaur said that the Assessment Levels are normally set after determining how likely the applicants from a certain country are to comply with conditions of an Australian student visa.

“The process becomes rigorous for students from high-risk countries as they would need to provide more evidence to support their claims for the grant of a student visa,” she added…

“There are many parameters including the rate of visa cancellations or visa refusals or the rate of student visa holders becoming unlawful non-citizens, and, or applying for a protection visa,” she said…

These visa changes will obviously have a detrimental impact on Australia’s international student enrolments. India and Nepal are currently Australia’s second and third biggest markets for international students, as well as the fastest growing:

Therefore, classifying student applications from these nations “high-risk” should make it more difficult to obtain a visa and stem the flow of enrolments.

These visa changes come at the same time as the Morrison Government’s 30,000 reduction in Australia’s permanent migrant intake, which has also significantly reduced the incentive for international students to study in Australia.

The end result is that the boom in student enrolments from India and Nepal is about to turn bust, which comes at the same time as student visa applications from China are falling.

On the flipside, this is positive for Australian university pedagogical standards, which were being badly eroded from increasing numbers of lower-quality students.

Unconventional Economist


  1. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Yeah nah. I expect the government to step in and force Home Affairs to loosen their standards so as to protect educational institutions profits, as they should.

  2. I met quite a few “students” from these recently booming countries like Nepal and Mongolia – when they come they have no intention to stay but to make money and return back to be part of the wealthier part of the society
    after few years they change their mind and want their kids to stay here

    so the fact that permanent immigration is getting cut will not discourage many to come because when they come they have no intention to stay

  3. Professor DemographyMEMBER

    The usual pattern will follow. They will ramp up in another area or from another country. Hong Kong? Taiwan?

    • Taiwan….???
      Why would they pay $$$$ to study at universities inferior to their own in expectation of PR in a country with fewer economic opportunities?

      Seriously the big numbers are always going to be China and the Subcontinent (and they are just enrolling in fake college VET too). No where else.

  4. TheRedEconomistMEMBER

    I was in Melbourne with family for the Giants vs Collingwood Prelim and Eels vs Storm.

    Jumped in a Taxi and from AAMI park to Spencer Street and the Indian Student type driver said he will “Get me back for $20 cash and no meter”

    Even though it was raining and I was with my family, I replied, “put on the meter .. you are doing the dodge”

    He insisted on the cash and thankfully the wife said, “lets get out..”

    I vented my frustration with a “that ain’t the way we roll around here”…. then slammed the door. He then pushed back into the cab rank.

    We then walked back up hill past the MCG and got a free Tram into town.

    I mentioned this to a nice lady Taxi owner (Egyptian heritage been in Melbourne for 25 years) on the way to the airport on the Monday. She reckoned he was trying to do the dodge because through the meter, the driver gets 60-70% whilst the rest goes to Taxi Car owner for maintenance and license fees.

    It was a great trip… silencing 75,000 Magpie Supporters was gold and being congratulated by random people (non Pies supporters) on Sunday was excellent. Pity the Giants were pumped in the GF.

    Getting on a tram in the free zone was testing… but the CBD was very busy, even on a Sunday night.

    Melbourne certainly has more edge than Sydney and trams seems to work so well.

    • Melbourne would be as jammed as Sydney without the trams. They’re sardine like, but you figure every one is filled with 50-100 people and imagine that’s about 50-100 cars out of the way.

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        Yeah I hope Sydney gets public transport one day so that my driver can get from A to B much quicker!

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      LOLOLOLOL – I could never imagine why a sane person would turn down a “cash in hand” discount. What’s wrong with you people?

      • TheRedEconomistMEMBER

        Reusa… Fare would have been about $15 thought the books… And was not keen for this fella to touch my main member.