China criticises Australian student visa delays

16 March 2018

Written by: Kate Gilmour

China has made representations to Canberra over delays in student visa approvals.

China has criticised Australia’s delays in student visa applications. Postgraduate students have been facing long delays while waiting to be granted student visas.

China’s Global Times released an article on Monday claiming that the delays of over six months were “politically motivated”.  Yesterday Financial Review stated that China’s Education Ministry has made representations to Canberra regarding the delays.

Despite students having been accepted into an Australian University, they must wait for their visa to be accepted. For a visa to be approved, the student must pass mandatory security checks by ASIO, and students are unable to accept offers from other universities during this time.

Global Times has reported that these delays are affecting over 100 PhD students, whereas the the Department of Home Affairs told Financial Review that this number is closer to 40.

An official from China’s Education Ministry told  Financial Review that they are hoping for cooperation between the two countries to resolve the issue.

“Some students still can’t obtain a visa after approval and this causes inconvenience to both applicants and Australian universities.”

“We are making representations on this matter with the Australian side. We would like to see this properly resolved,” they said.

These delays are causing students to look to other countries for study options, causing trouble for Australian universities. International education is the third largest export industry in Australia, valued at $28 billion dollars according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Financial Review reports that Australian universities generate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of revenue from the approximately 134,000 Chinese students enrolled in their courses.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs has told The Sydney Morning Herald that these delays are not targeted at Chinese students.

“The Australian government places a very high priority on its long-standing research and scientific relationship with China. The depth of cooperation is reflected in the fact that Australia is ranked third in terms of scientific publications jointly authored with China and vice-versa,” she said.

According to Financial Review, the Department of Home affairs approved 98.2% of international student visas across all nationalities between 2016 and 2017.

An application for an Australian student visa should take roughly four weeks to be processed, according to Study Options.