The international education sector is one of Australia's largest export industries and is important to Australia in supporting bilateral ties with key partner countries, supporting employment in a broad range of occupations throughout the Australian economy, as well as delivering high-value skills to the economy.
In December 2010, the government appointed the Hon Michael Knight AO to conduct the first strategic review of the student visa program to help enhance the quality, integrity and competitiveness of the student visa program.
On 7 March 2011, Mr Knight released a discussion paper and encouraged interested parties to make a written submission to the review.
See: Student Visa Program Review Discussion Paper (212KB PDF file)
There were 200 submissions received and they are available on the department's website.
See: Submissions Received by the Review Team
Mr Knight reported to the government on 30 June 2011 with 41 recommendations. On 22 September 2011, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans, released Mr Knight's report, Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011.
See: Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011 (1.7MB PDF file)
A list of Mr Knight's 41 recommendations is available on the department's website.
See: Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011 – Recommendations ( 51KB PDF file)
The government supports in principle all of Mr Knight's recommendations, however some recommendations will be modified in places to enhance the performance of the Australian education sector and to better safeguard the integrity of the visa system.
See: Boost to International Education Sector in Response to Knight Review – Media release
The fact sheet on the Government Response to the Knight Review of the Student Visa Program is available on the department’s website.
See: Fact Sheet - Government Response to the Knight Review of the Student Visa Program ( 84KB PDF file)
Stage one implementation of the Knight Review changes commenced on 5 November 2011. The following fact sheet details these changes.
Fact Sheet – Stage One Implementation of the Knight Review Changes to the Student Visa program ( 66KB PDF file)
Students to Benefit as Knight Review Changes Rolled Out – Media release
One of the recommendations agreed to by Government was the introduction of new post-study work arrangements for Australian university graduates who have obtained a Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree or PhD. On 30 November 2011, the Government announced plans to extend eligibility of the post-study work visa. In addition to university graduates, the new post-study work arrangements are to be extended to Bachelor, Masters by coursework, Masters by research and PhD degree graduates from other education providers accredited to offer degree level programs in Australia.
The Government also announced that graduates must complete their qualifications as a result of meeting the Australian study requirement which requires at least two academic years' study in Australia.
Australian Study Requirement
Government extends support for international education – Media Release
The majority of the stage two Knight Review changes are proposed to be implemented by mid 2012 with some other changes proposed to commence in early 2013.
The following information package provides further detail on the planned changes to the student visa program.
The University Sector – Streamlined Processing ( 79KB PDF file)
Post Study Work Arrangements ( 72KB PDF file)
Genuine Temporary entrant ( 96KB PDF file)
Vocational Education and Training (VET), Schools and Non-Award Sectors ( 86KB PDF file)
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) Sector ( 77KB PDF file)
Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Sector ( 76KB PDF file)
More Flexible Work Conditions ( 50KB PDF file)
Improvements for Existing Student Visa Holders ( 64KB PDF file)
Visa Processing Improvements ( 74KB PDF file)
Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) ( 48KB PDF file)
Review of Assessment Level Framework ( 61KB PDF file)
See also: Review of Assessment Level Framework - Terms of Reference ( 59KB PDF file)
Translated versions of the fact sheets are available in seven languages other than English: Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Thai and Vietnamese.
See: Translations of Knight Review Documents