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The "Migration (Suspension Certificate Matters) Specification (LIN 24/034) 2024" Explanatory Statement, issued by the Minister for Home Affairs, outlines the legislative instrument made under subregulation 1.29(3) of the Migration Regulations 1994, commencing on 23 March 2024. This instrument supports the implementation of the Government's Migration Strategy announced on 11 December 2023 and the Migration Amendment (Suspending Education Providers) Regulations 2024 made on 14 March 2024, specifically designed to amend the Migration Regulations to incorporate regulation 1.29.

This regulation allows the Minister to consider a 'relevant score' for education providers when issuing an Immigration Minister’s certificate under section 97 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act).

The purpose of this instrument is to detail the method for calculating a 'relevant score' for registered providers, which factors in various aspects related to overseas students or intending overseas students and their adherence to visa requirements. This includes considerations such as the number of student visa applications, cancellations, refusals under Public Interest Criterion 4020, and instances of unlawful non-citizenship beyond 28 days. The instrument also specifies the frequency and timing of calculating this score, which will be done twice annually, and outlines the period for which a relevant score will have effect for a registered provider.

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Provider Update - ESOS - March 2024

The "Provider Update - ESOS - March 2024" document informs education providers about the Australian Government's new legislative measures under the Migration Regulations 1994, which support the Immigration Minister's authority under Section 97 of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act.

Announced on 26 August 2023, these measures enable the Minister to issue suspension certificates to education providers if it is believed that a significant number of overseas students or intending overseas students are not adhering to the purposes contemplated by their visas.

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The document is an Explanatory Statement for the Migration Amendment (Suspending Education Providers) Regulations 2024, issued by the Minister for Home Affairs under the Migration Act 1958. The amendment aims to support the Australian Government's Migration Strategy by allowing the Minister to consider a 'relevant score' when deciding to issue a suspension certificate to education providers under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act).

This 'relevant score' is determined by a method specified by the Minister through a legislative instrument and can be used to address issues of non-compliance by education providers that might affect the integrity of the student visa program.

The amendment specifies that the relevant score will be calculated based on factors that could include fraudulent activities or non-genuine claims by students associated with the provider. This initiative seeks to prevent exploitation within the international education sector and protect the integrity of Australia's migration system.

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The Migration (English Language Requirements for Subclass 476 (Skilled – Recognised Graduate) and Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) Visas) Instrument (LIN 24/021) 2024, issued by the Minister for Home Affairs, repeals the previous specification of English language test scores and introduces updated requirements. Effective from 23 March 2024, this instrument aims to enhance the integrity of the temporary graduate visa program in line with the Government's Migration Strategy by increasing the required English language test scores for applicants of Subclass 476 and Subclass 485 visas.

Applicants are now required to achieve higher scores in approved English language tests, including the CAE, IELTS, OET, PTE, and TOEFL iBT, within one year before their visa application. This adjustment from the previously allowed three-year period to one year necessitates more recent proof of English proficiency. For the OET, unlike other tests, required scores for each component do not need to be achieved in a single sitting.

This instrument maintains that citizens holding valid passports from native English-speaking countries (the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland) do not need to meet these English language test requirements. Furthermore, specific arrangements remain unchanged for Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders, in line with migration reforms introduced in 2020.

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The Migration (English Language Tests and Evidence Exemptions for Subclass 500 (Student) Visa) Instrument (LIN 24/022) 2024, issued under the authority of the Minister for Home Affairs, repeals the previous instrument from 2018 and sets new English language proficiency requirements for Subclass 500 (Student) visa applicants. Commencing on 23 March 2024, this legislative instrument aims to enhance the integrity of the student visa program as part of the Government's Migration Strategy.

The updated regulations increase the required English language test scores for applicants, reflecting the Government's emphasis on the importance of strong English language skills for students' academic success and integration into Australian life. The instrument specifies that applicants must have taken an approved English language test within two years before making their application and achieved the required test scores as detailed in Schedule 1 of the instrument. Higher proficiency requirements are introduced to help students thrive in their studies and engage more effectively in work and community activities in Australia.

The instrument also maintains specific lower test score requirements for applicants enrolled in English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) of at least 10 or 20 weeks, foundation programs, or eligible pathway programs, acknowledging the tailored support these courses provide to students in meeting academic entry requirements for Australian education institutions.

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