Genuine Student FAQs

One of the main reasons why Student Visas get refused is when Immigration Case Officers are of the view that the applicants cannot satisfy the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criterion.  The GTE criterion focuses on how the visa applicants can demonstrate that they do not have intentions of staying in Australia permanently based on key factors.

On 23 March 2024, the GTE criterion was replaced with the Genuine Student criterion, which relies on the visa applicants to prove that their genuine purpose is to enter and stay in Australia as a student.

This article intends to help unravel this recent change and discuss its effect on new student visa applications lodged from 23 March 2024 by answering the following questions below.

  1. How can the Department of Home Affairs assess if you are a genuine student?

The Case Officer will consider the following factors when assessing if the applicant is a genuine student:

  • the applicant’s circumstances;
  • the applicant’s immigration history;
  • if the applicant is a minor — the intentions of a parent, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant;
  • the applicant’s record of compliance with any condition of a visa previously held by the applicant (if any);
  • the applicant’s stated intention to comply with any conditions to which the visa may be subject; and
  • any other relevant matter.

Under these factors, the applicant should answer key questions such as:

  • Have you considered taking the course in your home country?
  • Do you genuinely intend to study in Australia considering your personal ties in your home country, economic circumstances, military service commitments, and political and civil unrest in your home country?
  • Do you have knowledge of living in Australia, your course, and your education provider?
  • Are you using the Student Visa program to enter Australia and to continue to stay but not for the purposes of studying?
  • Will completing the course bring value to your future?
  • Have you had a history of starting courses but not completing them?

The complete guide on these factors can be found under the Ministerial Direction 106.  

Although the Genuine Student criterion is identical to the GTE criterion, the focus when creating a Statement of Purpose for your Student Visa application, is to demonstrate that your sole objective is to enter and stay in Australia as a student and not for other purposes.

  1. Can I still apply for a Student Visa if I am currently holding a Visitor visa or Graduate Visa or Student visa?

Yes, you can.  However, your application will raise more questions and you might also need to provide further evidence to assert your genuineness as a student if you have held any of the visas mentioned above.

Under the Ministerial Direction 106, the are circumstances where further scrutiny will apply, such as holding any of the visas as above, applicants studying courses unrelated to their previous course/employment, inconsistent information provided by the applicant on previous visa applications, and applicants who have been involved in migration fraud and non-compliance on previous visas held.

  1. Do I still need to prove that I have reasons to go back to my country of origin after my graduation?

You do not have to prove that you are heading back to your country of origin after your course completion.  However, you should prove that you are a genuine student and that you are not using your student visa to stay in Australia permanently.

  1. Are there changes on the English language capacity requirements when applying for a Student Visa?

Yes, here are the new English language test score requirements for Student Visa effective 23 March 2024:

  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) minimum of 50 in each band or 42 if the applicant has 10 weeks of ELICOS or 36 if the applicant has 20 weeks of ELICOS;
  • International English Language Testing system (IELTS Test) overall band score 6.0 or overall band score of 5.5 if the applicant has 10 weeks of ELICOS or overall band score of 5.0 if the applicant has 20 weeks of ELICOS; or
  • Other acceptable English tests as per the Migration (English Language Tests and Evidence Exemptions for Subclass 500 (Student) Visa) Instrument (LIN 24/022) 2024.

The applicant should have taken the English test within two years immediately before the day the visa application was lodged or within two years immediately before the day the visa application was granted if the English test result were not provided at the time of visa lodgement.

If you plan to apply for a Student Visa and you are unsure on how to present your application in the best light, it is recommended that you seek advice and/or assistance from an Immigration Lawyer or a Registered Migration Agent. 

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