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Why are Australian student visas being delayed and what can you do about it

Australian student visa
Worried about Australian student visa delays? Here are four tips to avoid processing delays. Source: Allan Lee/AFP

Australia may be known as the “Lucky Country”, but for many international students, the word “lucky” may not be an apt moniker considering many have been waiting for months for their Australian student visas and may not return in time for their studies. This has been a constant source of anxiety and worry for many.

Australia is home to 43 universities, of which seven are in the top 100, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023. International students in the country enjoy a world-class education, state-of-the-art learning facilities, and high quality of living.

It’s no wonder international students have been coming to Australia in droves over the years. If you’re thinking about studying in Australia, would you be putting yourself at risk of having your Australian student visa application delayed, as experienced by many applicants, including those from India and Iran?

To better understand this, let’s explore several reasons why there has been a delay with Australian student visas being processed and issued.

Reasons for Australian student visa delays

Large volume of student visa applications being processed

Since the reopening of Australian borders reopened on Dec.15, 2021, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has reportedly been grappling with an influx of applications, in addition to visa backlogs by those affected by the country’s two-year border closure.

Statistics show that the number of international students arriving in Australia in April 2022 is 52.5% lower than during pre-COVID level in April 2019. However, the DHA has issued 1.3 million visas to fully vaccinated travellers since the country first reopened its borders following COVID restrictions.

Worries over non-genuine applicants

The DHA has reportedly increased scrutiny on Australian student visa applications. It said the provision of incorrect information and bogus documents are one of the most common reasons for student visa cancellations. There have been concerns that student visas are being issued to non-genuine applicants.

The increasing number of non-genuine applicants followed Australia’s decision to waive visa application fees, as well as the temporary relaxation of working hours for students.

Budget slashed by AU$875 million to the DHA

Delays in Australian student visa processing times are reportedly exacerbated by the DHA’s budget cuts of A$875 million.

The measure will slash one-third of the department’s migration operation, which could lead to more fears of delay to be dragged on till next year.

4 tips to help speed up your Australian student visa application

It is difficult to predict when you could get your Australian student visa. DHA’s website provides visa processing times; they note that global visa processing times are updated monthly.

However, taking certain measures could help eliminate basic visa application errors which would slow down your student visa application.

Fill up your application correctly

The simplest way to have your Australian student visa processed quicker would be to be meticulous and provide all the necessary details in your application and ensure you have all the necessary documents. You can get someone to help you with your application, such as a registered migration agent​, a legal practitioner, or an exempt person​, notes the DHA.

Submit genuine documentation

This one is a no-brainer, but ensuring that all the documents you submit are genuine is imperative. You can also consider attaching separate verifications of the documentation you submit.

Don’t apply at the last minute

Once you have been accepted into your programme at an Australian university or institution, start collecting the necessary documents needed for your visa and apply immediately.

Respond immediately if you’re asked to provide additional documentation

If the DHA requests you to provide further clarification(s) or documentation(s) regarding your application, reply promptly. This would prevent them from delaying your student visa application due to insufficient or incomplete documents. Be sure to check your Immigration and Border Protection (IMMI) online account regularly.

If your application is handled by a migration agent, follow up by checking if there are any requests by the DHA.