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  • Jenny Murphy MARN 0852535

Student Visa Processing Priorities


student visa

A new Ministerial Direction signed on December 14, 2023, establishes the prioritization framework for student and student guardian visa applications.


Ministerial Direction No. 107 formalises the Australian Government's strategy for processing priorities within the student and student guardian visa programs as part of the Government commitment to strengthen the integrity of the international education sector.


An evidence level is allocated to each Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)-registered education provider. The new Ministerial Direction works with the evidence-level framework to prioritise applications from international students wishing to study in Australia.


Ministerial Direction No. 107 assigns the highest priority to:


Student visa applications submitted outside Australia by:


  1. Schools sector, Foreign Affairs or Defence sector, and Postgraduate Research sector applicants

  2. Higher Education, ELICOS, VET, and Non-Award sector applicants studying at an education provider with an Evidence Level 1

  3. Subsequent entrant applications submitted outside Australia that include an unmarried family member under 18 years.

  4. All Student Guardian visa applications (lodged in or outside Australia).


Any secondary applicant (spouse, de-facto partner, or dependent child) included in the primary visa application will be given the same priority as the primary applicant.


A subsequent entrant refers to a secondary applicant for a student visa who did not apply jointly with the primary applicant/primary visa holder.


In cases where the primary applicant plans to undertake multiple courses of study (course packaging), the application will be prioritised based on the principal course of study, i.e., the course with the highest AQF level.


These new student visa processing priorities apply to all visa applications submitted on or after December 15, 2023, and to those filed before this date that are still pending finalization.


It is essential to note that student visa applications lodged within Australia will continue to be processed according to existing arrangements.


Disclaimer: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute immigration advice. For more detailed and case-specific information or advice, please get in touch with SCA Connect.


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