It has been confirmed that Indian students’ assessment level for higher education has been downgraded by the Australian visa department from Visa Assessment Level 2 to Visa Assessment Level 3.
This downgrade means that India has now been included in the high-risk category for visas, which is a piece of bad news for Indian students who wish to study in Australia.
Australia is the second-most popular destination for Indian students after the United States of America.
Since the beginning of September, Melbourne-based immigration agents have noticed that there had been an increase in the rate of visa rejections of Indian international students by the Australian embassy.
Chaman Preet, one of the immigration agents in Melbourne, said that he was amazed when he was helping a student apply for the Australian students’ visa on Wednesday morning. According to him, when he lodged Australian student visas for Indian applicants to study at level 1 or 2 institutes the previous day, there was no need to for the students to provide English scores or demonstrate financial capacity. However, on Wednesday morning when he lodged an Australian student visa for an applicant who wanted to study at a level 2 institute, the visa application system requested for English scores and proof of financial capacity. Chaman said he checked for other level 2 institutes and got the same assessment result.
Another immigration agent based in Brisbane, Suman Dua, stated that the downgrade would directly affect students. Suman said that Indian applicants who wish to apply for the Australian student visa are now obliged to provide results of English test and financial evidence if they want to study with an academic institution whose rating is either 2 or 3.
Suman added that academic institutions also have a rating from 1 to 3 now. Previously, Indian applicants for student visas in Australia do not have to provide evidence of funds in the form of a money deposit or English test as long as they were applying to academic institutions whose rating was either 1 or 2.
India’s assessment level was upgraded from 3 to 2 in 2017, but about years later, it has been downgraded again. India is not the only affected country; Pakistan’s assessment level was also downgraded. Chaman stated that this change would have significant implications for students from India and Pakistan.
Presently, Australia has five different visa assessment levels for student visa applicants. Assessment level one has the lowest risk and least visa barriers while level 5 has the highest risk and visa barriers. The US is on assessment level one when it comes to the Australian student visas. There is currently no country on the 5th assessment level.
With this downgrade, India and Pakistan have joined other high-risk countries like Zimbabwe, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and China for higher education.
Upgrading or downgrading of assessment level for a particular country is done after careful examination of students from such country. The assessment level of a country is either upgraded or downgraded based on the degree to which students from such country complies with Australian visa regulations. One of such regulation is not overstaying in Australia.