How Will Australia’s Visa Fee Hike will Impact Indians?


  • There is a sense of shock and dismay among International students after the steep hike in visa fees from $710 to $1,600.
  • The Australian government says that the change will help fund important higher education reforms.
  • What’s next: Students and experts are predicting that the visa fee hike could divert prospective students to alternative destinations like USA, Canada, Ireland,  Dubai, & Singapore etc.

 A steep hike in student visa fees has pushed some of International studies aspirants to reconsider studying in Australia. Australia’s visa fee hike decision will pose a significant financial challenge for Indian students aspiring to study in Australia.

 The cost of visas for foreign students seeking to study in Australia (student visa fee) has increased by 225%. The move, announced on Monday 1 July, will significantly impact the study abroad sector, and on international students, as consultants involved in recruitment from India, the second-biggest source country, warn.

The student visa fee (non-refundable) has been increased from AU$710  to AU$1,600 (Rs 39,546 to Rs 89,118) with effect from 1 July 2024. This increase will not impact prospective students who applied for student visas before 1 July 2024.

This move follows the recent increase in minimum funds requirements for international students, the second hike in the last few months.

Public Broadcaster ABC quoted:  “the increase is part of the government’s move to curb net migration which rose to a record 528,000 people in 2022-2023 after the removal of COVID-19 restrictions”. It is estimated that around 440,000 hopeful international students applied for a student visa from July 2023 to May 2024.

The latest visa fee hike is also accompanied by a set of pre-announced measures including a ban on certain categories of temporary visa holders from applying for a student visa while already staying in the country. The move is intended to eradicate the process of so-called ‘visa-hopping’.

Those holding temporary graduate, visitor and maritime crew visas will no longer be eligible to apply for student visas while residing in Australia. The Australian government has advised that temporary graduates to either leave Australia on visa expiry or look for job opportunities that could lead to employer-sponsored visas or permanent residency in Australia.

Those with a “genuine intent to pursue studies” can still apply for a student visa from outside the country, it said.

  • A blow to student’s study in Australia dreams

Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Cyber Security of Australia Clare O’Neil quoted “The visa fee hike and other restrictions would “help restore integrity & trust” to the international education system, and “build a migration system which is fairer, smaller and better for all in Australia”.

However, the reality is that the increased student visa fee makes Australia the most expensive option when compared to popular alternative study abroad destinations such as Canada, Dubai, Ireland, the United States, and the Singapore and is likely to come as a blow for all students.

Yeganeh Soltanpour, the national president of the Council of International Students Australia, has also criticized the visa fee hike, saying: “The possibility of spending all that money only to face rejection is quite heart-breaking for many students. It has caused many in the student abroad aspirants to explore other cheaper and competitive study abroad countries.”
Study Abroad consultants dealing specifically with Indian students say the hike is not in the best interests of students and will hit the overseas education sector hard.
Rupesh Duggal, managing director of Punjab-based Cambridge Educational Services, quoted “There are several factors for the students to consider. The tuition fee is high as well. Besides, there is the housing crisis. Students have to pay high rent for housing and now this study visa fees. It will definitely affect the student numbers especially from Punjab and Haryana.”

Duggal said while Australia has previously been a preferred destination because of its affordable education, students may now move to other countries.

  •  ‘Students are treated as cash cows’

Association of Australian Education Representatives in India President, Nishidhar Borra said in a strong statement that an increase of almost 225% in visa fee cannot be justified.

“Australia has become one of the favourite destinations for Indian students in the past many years. But this move by the government has made it very clear that International students are treated as cash cows for Australia’s education sector,” Borra quoted in an interview.

“It is already known fact that international students pay a higher tuition fee than local domestic Australian students. International students also contribute to the income of the universities and also to the GDP of Australia. Also, they support many other Industries, like the real estate industry, the food joints, the retail shopping and everything else.

“We are requesting the Australian government to have a look at this entire system,” clarified Borra.

  • Highest visa fees in the world

News of the fee hike has also been criticised by the Group of Eight (Go8), a group of eight research-intensive universities in Australia with over 400,000+ students.
Classifying the move as “another massive hit” to the country’s international education sector, the Go8 said Australia now has among the highest visa fees in the world with the current visa fee of AU$710 being more than double that of comparable study abroad nations such as New Zealand (AUD $344); Canada (AUD $168) and the US (AUD $283).
The Go8 further warned that increasing this non-refundable student visa fee sends the wrong message to the market.
She also went on to blame the government for using international students as “cash cows” to prop up the economy, the national research effort and now to fund other government initiatives.

  • Impact on Indian students

Many experts are highlighting the direct impact on the 170,000 Indian students expected to pursue higher education in Australia by 2025. “These changes will force Indian students to explore other affordable study destinations such as US, Canada, Dubai, Singapore and Ireland.

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