RM100,000 in savings needed to obtain student visa in Australia

It seems that Australian visa policies for international students are going through some notable changes, especially in terms of financial requirements. - NSTP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Starting today, Malaysian students intending to pursue further studies in Australia are required to provide evidence of at least A$29,710 (approximately RM100,000) in savings to obtain the visa.

It marks the second increase imposed by Australia in regards to its policy on foreign student visas within a seven-month period; and it will affect around 15,000 Malaysian students who are currently studying or intending to pursue their studies in that country.

The payment for Australia's student visa has been raised from A$21,041 (RM65,717) to A$24,505 (RM76,528) last October, and once again to A$29,710.

International media reports have said that this measure was aimed at tightening regulations for foreign student visas following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in 2022, which resulted in an influx of arrivals and exacerbated pressure on the property rental market in the country.

When commenting on these developments, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said they will hold discussions with the Australian government to discuss the policy of increasing the minimum savings requirement for international students to obtain visas.

He the meeting will be conducted promptly to determine whether this policy applies to all countries or only specific ones.

"We will hold discussions with counterparts and the Australian government as soon as possible to understand the policy of that country," he said as quoted by Utusan Malaysia.

He was speaking at the launch ceremony of the New Logo of the UKM Specialist Centre (UKMSC) yesterday.

Zambry said when it comes to student visas, the matter involves not only the Higher Education Ministry but also the Home Ministry.

Earlier, international media reported that Australia would raise the minimum savings requirement for international students to obtain visas and also issued warnings to several educational institutions regarding fraudulent student recruitment practices.

Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil was reported to have said that warning letters had been sent to 34 education providers for "unscrupulous or exploitative recruitment practices."

"They could face imprisonment for up to two years and be barred from taking in students if found guilty," she said.

The international education sector is one of Australia's largest export industries, valued at A$36.4 billion (RM112.47 billion) to its economy in 2022/23.

However, the influx of migrants has put significant pressure on the country's property market with high rental rates nationwide.

Migration to the country increased by 60 per cent to 548,800 from that year until September 30, last year.

The Australian government expects to halve this number in these next two years.

"We are significantly reducing migration levels; we are in the midst of the largest decline in migration numbers in Australian history, outside of war or pandemic," O'Neil had said, according to the report.

Source: New Straits Times