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Student and Student Guardian Visa Processing Priorities

On 14 December, the Australian government introduced a new framework for processing student visas based on the risk level of institutions. This Ministerial direction sets out how the Department of Home Affairs will prioritize visa applications from international students wishing to study in Australia based on provider risk.

Ministerial Direction

Ministerial Direction No. 107 formalises the Australian Government’s processing priorities for the student and student guardian visa programs. An evidence level is allocated to each education provider, with level 1 providers benefitting from faster processing times. Education providers with a higher evidence level will experience slower processing times.

Highest Priority

Across all student visas, the highest priority will be provided to:

  • student visa applications lodged outside Australia by:

  • Schools sector, Foreign Affairs or Defence sector, and Postgraduate Research sector applicants

  • Higher Education, English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Non-Award sector applicants studying at an education provider with an Evidence​e Level 1

  • subsequent entrant applications lodged outside Australia that include an unmarried family member under 18 years​

  • all Student Guardian visa applications (lodged in or outside Australia).

Any secondary applicant (spouse, de-facto partner or dependent child) who is included in the primary visa application will be given the same priority as the primary applicant. Where the primary applicant intends to undertake two or more courses of study (course packaging), the application will be given the order of priority that applies to the principal course of study (i.e. the course of study with the highest Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level).

Determination of Evidence Level

According to the Department of Home Affairs, evidence levels will be determined by

  1. rate of visa cancellations;

  2. rate of refusals due to fraud

  3. rate of refusals (other than fraud)

  4. rate of student visa holders becoming unlawful non-citizens

  5. rate of subsequent Protection visa applications

When will it apply

The new student visa processing priorities apply to all visa applications lodged on or from 15 December 2023, as well as applications lodged prior to this date that are yet to be finalized.

Student visa applications lodged in Australia will continue to be processed according to existing processing arrangements.

Do you require further assistance

If you have further questions about the above, or have any other immigration related query, please get in touch with our experienced team. Contact us by email at or by phone at +614517572873.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information.


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