International enrolments of overseas students in Australia were up 11% between January and July 2016. By the end of this period there were 401,000 student visa holders in Australia mostly arriving from China and India. A sizeable number of the increases were a result of a greater number of student visa holders being eligible for the Post-Study Work programme. Whilst China and India remain the highest visa holder’s applicants from Brazil rise 21.7%. The 2015/16 figures are part of a trend showing increasing numbers of international students travelling to Australia with increases year on year from over 250,00 in 2010/11 to a record 310,000 in 2015/16. Commentators highlight this as a positive trend showing Australia is becoming a global hub for education. Other top countries sending student to Australia include South Korea and Nepal. Students travelling to Australia predictably study a range of subjects with Business and Management being the most popular, closely followed by Mathematics, and Computer Science. Visa applicants are being warned by the Australian government to beware of agents offering tourist and bridging visas telling them that these visas allow holders to study and work in Australia. ‘The Department of Immigration and Border Protection warns people to be cautious regarding claims that Australian visas are allegedly for sale. These claims are not true. Australian visas are not for sale. Visas can only be obtained through official channels,’ said a DIBP spokesman. There are strict rules covering working on student visas in Australia with students being permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term and no restrictions during recognized school vacations. Students are allowed to arrive up to 90 days before travel but may not work until after the courses have started. A new Simplified Student Visa Framework came into effect on 1st July 2016 which aims to make applications for international student visas more streamlined and much easier to complete. Under the Simplified Student Visa Framework students can apply for a single student visa whatever the subject they are planning on studying in Australia. There are reports that the new system has had some teething problems and student visas are being delayed with increased rejections during the bedding in period. The Department of Immigration and Border Control has acknowledged the issues and have reported that they aim to finalize at least 75% of all applications from overseas students within one month of receiving the application. Under the Simplified Student Visa
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