Genuine Student requirement

Dear colleagues and clients,

Over the weekend, the Genuine Student (GS) requirement was introduced, marking a significant development that will impact international students, education agents, and education providers. The first rumors about GS surfaced over a year ago, prompting us to prepare and anticipate its effects at GTE EXPERTS. Since 2018, our primary services have revolved around assisting Education Agents and Education Providers’ clients with Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) statement writing, proofreading, editing services, and student visa application preparation. Initially, there were speculations that GTE might be abolished altogether, or that the new requirement would replace it. Consequently, we braced ourselves for the worst, but fortunately, the changes turned out to be entirely positive for us.

Let’s delve deeper into the GS requirements and their changes.

GTE vs. GS:

Since the introduction of GTE, several changes have been made to prevent individuals worldwide from using student visas solely to gain working rights in Australia. Unfortunately, each change has resulted in increased workload for education providers and agents. However, the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) struggled to determine Genuine and Non-Genuine students. In my view, even if a person uses a student visa for purposes other than work, they are still engaging in education, attending classes, learning new information, and gaining skills, thus fulfilling the purpose of education.

Since 2018, we have analysed over 5000 visa refusals, with the most common reasons including insufficient ties to the home country, insufficient funds, lack of research on education providers, higher earning capacity in Australia, and immigration history.

This year, DoHA introduced the Genuine Student requirement, built based on these main visa refusal statements. The requirement seeks to answer four main questions:

1. Details of the applicant’s current circumstances, including ties to family, community, employment, and economic circumstances.
2. Explanation of why the applicant wishes to study the course in Australia with a particular education provider, demonstrating understanding of course requirements and Australian study and living.
3. Explanation of how completing the course will benefit the applicant.
4. Details of any other relevant information the applicant wishes to include.

Although a word limit of 150 words per question was introduced, there is no limit for the attached Letter of Genuine Student statement at the end of the visa application, along with all supporting documents. In my professional opinion, there are no significant changes to the GTE statement; it’s mainly a change in name, and I hope that students and agents will now differentiate between Statement of Purpose (SOP) and GTE or GS.

What does this mean for students?

First, students need to familiarise themselves with student visa requirements. A significant percentage of applicants from South Asia are unfamiliar with GTE. Most of the time, agents provided generic statements that sufficed until now. The difference between GTE and GS is minor, requiring answers to almost the same questions. The case officer assessing your case is interested in your personal story and the depth of your roots back home. They want to see investment in your future and assurance that your education will lead to a better job back home, enabling you to recoup your investment within 3-5 years.

The biggest changes include:

– The importance of choosing a course related to your work or prior studies experiences.
– Restrictions to apply for a student visa onshore for holders of visas such as 485, 600, 601, or 651.
– The need for a genuine reason to study in Australia and a plan for financing your studies.

Failure to satisfy above mentioned changes will lead to a visa refusal.

What does this mean for education providers?

Firstly, there will be an end to indiscriminate acceptance of applications. Providers will need to assess applicants carefully, considering their genuineness, absence of prior visa refusals, and relevance of studies to prior education or work experience. The GS statement will have a significant impact on visa acceptance rates compared to the GTE statement. Higher education and Vocational Education providers may experience a decrease in clients and potential closures for non-genuine providers.

What does this mean for education agents?

Schemes aiming to bring students onshore and apply for a visa to increase visa grant chances will no longer be viable. Agents will need to enroll students in genuine courses matching their prior education. Jumping between different education providers, especially from higher education to VET, will no longer be feasible. Agents will need to work closely with clients to satisfy GS requirements, crafting unique statements tailored to each student’s story.

In conclusion, while we anticipate some closures and a decline in student enrolment rates, the Genuine Student requirement will ensure a more educated and genuine student cohort in Australia. This aligns with the goal of attracting intelligent overseas students and converting them into potential migrants, benefiting the overall migration strategy. We look forward to assisting agencies and education providers with GS statements and visa applications, and we are prepared to handle student assessments for genuine student requirements, offering outsourcing services for admissions departments.

Stay tuned, the workshop discussing Genuine Student requirements is on the horizon.

Warm regards,

Arturas Mickus


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