Govt eases visa rules for skilled graduates

Canberra – The Australian government has relaxed its visa rules for foreign students, allowing those who graduate from Australian schools to stay longer after finishing their studies.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, foreign graduate students in Australia can now extend their stay up to four years through the graduate skilled visa program. This was done to allow them to gain work experience necessary to obtain permanent residency status.

Immigration officials said that students must apply for this visa within six months after graduation, provided they also undergo the skills assessment test.

The immigration department said they are expecting a rise in student visa applications following this announcement as many overseas students are interested to work and stay permanently in the country after their studies.

The government said that 95 percent of visa applications this year was approved compared to data gathered in the period last year which indicates that more foreign students are lodging applications to study in the country’s universities or colleges.

The government has also simplified its skilled working visa earlier this year to attract more workers to fill in positions for highly-skilled workers. This was done through the new short-stay visa available for highly-skilled workers only. The medical visa was also extended for up to one year.