“The United Kingdom and Australia has changed its policies for students currently studying in the countries and for students who are applying or planning to apply for further education,” informed Bishnu Hari Pandey, Vice President of ECAN (Educational Consultancy Association of Nepal) and Managing Director of Royal Education Foundation in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu.
Students’ applying to foreign universities has increased drastically over the years and the change in the system, which many students find complicated already, has changed one more time.
Australia and the United Kingdom have come up as educational hub in the past few years after the United States. These two countries have made amendments in its policies and visa processes and they are as follows:
“Before November 5, 2011, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi would only process visa application that had bank loans from Nabil Bank and SBI Bank in Nepal. Hence, the visa was only in the ratio of 10 to 15 percent,” informed Pandey.
He further elaborated that after November 5, 2011, the new system, Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) was introduced while the Streamline Visa Processing System, was introduced from March 24, 2012, in Nepal and colleges and universities were streamlined.
The basic function of GTE, according to Pandey, is that it will check how genuine the student is and it also checks the social ties proving that s/he will come back to Nepal after the completion the course in Australia.
Hence, GTE is a major way to check process in the whole scenario. Michael Knight reviewed the whole policy concerning the immigration process in Australia and is now being implemented from the government level. Hence, this is also called the Knight review.
“The Knight review highlights the genuinity and the temporary stay of students in Australia and this also distributes the work of the High Commission,” said Pandey.
Previously, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, where Nepalis have to apply for Australian visas, used to check everything but now, the Universities (in case of students only) will have to check and follow the process.
“The University will check the financial capacity and the genuinity of the students. The files will eventually go to the High Commission but the University will pre-assess everything,” reiterated Pandey.
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, a ‘genuine student’ is a student who intends to obtain a successful educational outcome and has the language, educational and material background to have a reasonable chance of achieving this educational outcome.
Factors that are considered under the existing requirement to be a genuine applicant for entry and study as a student include: English language proficiency, financial capacity, prerequisite schooling, age requirements, and intention to comply with visa conditions.
Also, another change in the system is that the High Commission will now take a mandatory telephonic interview. “Previously, we sent the files to the New Delhi office where the interview took place,” updated Pandey.
A year back, the High Commission worked alone with all the process and the agencies just forwarded the files but now, the High Commission, universities and the agency will work parallelly.
“The university will go through the GTE process while the High Commission will send reports of agents in Nepal to the universities and also approval of the visa,” he said.
In the past, for a student to go to Australia, they had to take loans from Nabil or SBI Bank but, now, with the policy changed, an education or student loan is not needed in order to apply for the visa.
“As long as the students show how they plan to pay for their education and living expenses, the previous rule of mandatory loan is not needed,” notified Pandey.
He also recommended that to apply to Australia, a student should go through a consultancy. “It’s not that a student can’t apply by themselves but it will be difficult. Countries like Australia and New Zealand, specifically, promotes agencies as it will give the agents a major chunk of work,” said Pandey.
Lastly, the Australian government has decided that the wage of international students, in case they are working, is 18 Australian dollars per hour and a student can work up to 40 hours fortnightly.
Private Colleges in Australia is still following the old system and does not follow the new Streamline Visa Processing System.
For more information, log onto www.immi.gov.au.
Similarly, the United Kingdom has also made some amendments in its Tier System, some of which are made in benefit of the international students.
“One of the major changes in the Tier 4 is that the students will have to complete their studies in a certain period. There is now a general limit of five years for Under Graduate (UG) studies. If a student also wants to complete their Masters, the total time period in which both the courses should be completed is six years and added PhD to that is eight years,” stated the Home Office of the UK on its website.
This change will mean that students will no longer be able to fail and repeat years at UG levels as many times as they like as there will be a limit to how long they can study in the UK.
It also means that if they take too long to complete a UG degree, they might run out of time and may not be able to stay in the UK to study at Masters or PhD levels.
The English language rules have remained unchanged and the UK government has decided to begin issuing a joint Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for Pre-Sessional students (PSE).
Another change in the policy is that in the Tier 1, Post-Graduate Work (PSW) will close to new applications on April 5, 2012. New provisions are to be made under the Tier 2 (General) route for graduates with a graduate job and a minimum salary of £20,000.
A new Tier 1 (Graduate Enterpreneur) scheme has been introduced for those who have been identified by UK universities as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, but who are not yet in a position to meet the full requirement of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.
This means that graduates can no longer stay and work in the UK unless they have a graduate job and fulfill the Tier 2 requirement.
Also, from April 2012, Tier 4 applicants will be required to show £800 (outside of London) for each month of the course up to nine months. The amount for applicants renewing visa in-country has also been increased.
To know about the Tiers and for more information, log onto www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.