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Migration (LIN 19/198: Evidence of Financial Capacity - Subclass 500 Visa and Subclass 590 Visa) Amendment Specification 2024

The document titled "Migration (LIN 19/198: Evidence of financial capacity—Subclass 500 Visa and Subclass 590 Visa) Amendment (LIN 24/042) Specification 2024" details significant updates to the financial capacity requirements for applicants of the Subclass 500 (Student) Visa and Subclass 590 (Student Guardian) Visa.

Key Updates and Purpose:

  • The amendment revises the financial requirements for these visa subclasses to reflect the current cost of living in Australia, ensuring that visa holders can adequately support themselves during their stay.
  • The updated financial requirements are calculated based on a new methodology tied to the Australian National Minimum Wage, aiming to align the visa holders' financial capacity with the minimum standard of living similar to the lowest-paid Australian workers.

Specific Changes:

  • The required evidence of funds for primary applicants and their dependents has been increased by approximately 21% from previous figures.
  • The new figures apply to various applicant scenarios, including primary applicants both with and without secondary applicants, and for each dependent child.

Consultation and Legislative Details:

  • Consultations were held with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education, supporting the new methodology.
  • The Office of Impact Analysis determined the changes to be minor or machinery in nature, thus not requiring a regulatory impact statement.

Implementation and Applicability:

  • The changes will apply to all new applications made on or after the instrument's commencement date.
  • The instrument is exempt from parliamentary disallowance and does not require a Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights due to its classification under the Migration Regulations.

This amendment aims to reduce financial hardship among international students and ensure they have sufficient resources throughout their educational period in Australia.

SNAPSHOT:


4. LIN 19/198 specifies, for the purposes of subclauses 500.214(3), 500.313(3) and 590.216(3) of Schedule 2 to the Migration Regulations, the requirements for evidence of financial capacity that must be given by an applicant for a Subclass 500 (Student) visa (Subclass 500 visa) or Subclass 590 (Student Guardian) visa (Subclass 590 visa), if required to do so.

5. Subclauses 500.214(3), 500.313(3) and 590.216(3) provide that, if required to do so by the Minister, in writing or by use of a computer program available online, an applicant seeking to satisfy the primary criteria for a Subclass 500 visa, the secondary criteria for a Subclass 500 visa or the primary criteria for a Subclass 590 visa, respectively, must give the Minister evidence of financial capacity that satisfies the requirements specified in an instrument made under subclause 500.214(4), 500.313(4) or 590.216(4), as appropriate.

6. The requirements specified in LIN 19/198 include, in Australian dollars (AUD), the amount of funds required to be evidenced by an applicant seeking to satisfy the primary criteria for the grant of a Subclass 500 visa, secondary criteria for the grant of a Subclass 500 visa, or primary criteria for the grant of a Subclass 590 visa. These figures were last updated on 1 October 2023.

7. The purpose of LIN 24/042 is to amend LIN 19/198 to revise and increase the amount of funds required to be evidenced by a Subclass 500 visa applicant or Subclass 590 visa applicant, to reflect the current cost of living pressures these visa holders will be subject to once they arrive in Australia.

8. Previously, these figures were adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This has been the accepted methodology since the 2011 Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program (Knight Review).

9. Previous stakeholder feedback through the Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) indicated the CPI methodology for calculating financial capacity requirements was no longer fit for purpose. Concerns were also raised that the previous amount for school-aged dependants was not an accurate representation of current average schooling costs in Australia.

10. The amended figures are based on a new methodology, calculated as a proportion of the Australian National Minimum Wage. The National Minimum Wage is the minimum amount an employer must pay an employee. It is reviewed and set annually by the Australian Fair Work Commission each financial year.

11. The rationale for this new methodology is that a student visa holder should be able to support themselves to at least the standard of the lowest paid Australian worker. The new methodology more accurately accounts for the costs of modern living, especially in light of increasing cost of living pressures.

12. The adjusted figures result in an increase of approximately 21 percent from the previous figures. These adjustments and the corresponding amendments of LIN 19/198 will help to reduce the number of international students experiencing financial hardship while in Australia, and ensure that they have adequate financial support for the duration of their studies.

13. The increased financial capacity requirements only apply to new Subclass 500 and Subclass 590 visa applications made on and from the date the amending instrument commences.

14. The following annual living costs and expenses from LIN 19/198 are updated by this instrument.

(a) The amount of living costs and expenses required for an applicant seeking to meet the primary criteria for a Subclass 500 visa or Subclass 590 visa under clauses 500.214 or 590.216, respectively:

- an increase from AUD24,505 to AUD29,710;

(b) The living costs for a spouse or de facto partner of an applicant under clause 500.214:

- an increase from AUD8,574 to AUD10,394;

Source: LIN24042.pdf and LIN19198-Explanatory-Statement_20240509-222425_1.pdf

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