The Australian government has loosened the eligibility rules for student visas, making it easier for international students to study in Australia .
The changes will mean less evidence is required to obtain a student visa for Australia . Among the documents that may no longer be required are English language tests, evidence of funds and evidence of academic qualifications.
“Prospective students and their families, agents and education providers should be aware that these changes will lower the minimum evidentiary requirements needed for the grant of a student visa for the selected countries and education sectors,” a department of immigration Australia spokesman said in a statement.
The move, announced over the weekend, appears to be an attempt to address the steady drop in foreign student enrolments over the past two years.
Australia welcomed 270,499 foreign students during the 2009/10 financial year, a 15.8 per cent drop on the 2008/09 figure of 320,368.
The drop was predominantly blamed on tighter eligibility rules making it more difficult for foreign students to enter Australia.
Also contributing to the drop were the stronger Australian dollar making immigration more expensive, and widespread media coverage of a spate of racist attacks on Indian students.
Figures show applications from India dropped by nearly 36,000 between 2008/09 and 2009/10, while other large contributors such as China, Korea, Nepal, Thailand and Brazil also dropped in numbers.