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New Australian Student Visa Assessment Levels

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced new visa assessment levels 1-3 for student visas on 22 March 2014.  Each student visa application is considered on its individual merits. Assessment levels facilitate this process, allowing us to deliver fast and efficient service to our clients while maintaining the integrity of Australia’s immigration programme.

Transparency in visa requirements and consistent decisions are a pivotal part of the student visa programme. With visas granted to students from over 190 different countries, assessment levels are a key tool in determining visa requirements and enabling consistency in decisions across this diverse range of clients.

There are three assessment levels in the student visa programme. They align student visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country studying in a particular education sector. Assessment level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and assessment level 3 the highest. The higher the assessment level, the greater the evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their claims for the grant of a student visa.


Assessment levels

Each country, across each education sector, is assigned an assessment level which is based on the calculated immigration risk posed by students from that country studying in that education sector.

To determine the assessment level of a particular country and education sector, we examine that group’s compliance with their visa conditions and other indicators of their immigration risk in the previous year.

Where these statistical indicators show that a group has a higher level of immigration risk over a sustained period, we respond to this trend by raising the assessment level of that group. In effect, this requires applicants to submit a higher level of evidence to support their claims that they wish to study in Australia.

Where a group’s indicators demonstrate that they tend to abide by their visa conditions, these lower immigration risk groups have their assessment level lowered. This streamlines the visa process by reducing the level of evidence that these applicants need to submit to support their claims for a student visa.

We regularly undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of the entire student visa caseload and reviews the assessment levels to ensure that they align to the immigration risk of groups.


Assessment levels and streamlined student visa processing

If you are eligible for streamlined visa processing, you are not assigned an assessment level.  This is because under the streamlined visa processing arrangements student visa applicants are assessed as though they are a lower immigration risk, irrespective of the passport you hold.


Assessment levels table

If you are not eligible for streamlined visa processing, the passport you hold and the education sector of your principal course will determine the assessment level of your visa application.

All students sponsored by AusAID or Defence seeking Subclass 576 (AusAID or Defence Sector) visas are assessment level 2.

Students holding a passport which is not listed in the table below, with a main course of study in the subclass 574 (Postgraduate Research) sector are assessment level 2.

Students holding a passport which is not listed in the table, with a main course of study in the following education sectors are assessment level 3:


570 – Independent ELICOS

571 – Schools

572 – Vocational Education and Training

573 – Higher Education

575 – Non-Award.


To identify the assessment level for your visa application, match your passport type with the visa subclass for the education sector of your principal course.


Your assessment level is the one in effect for your passport and visa subclass on the date that you lodged a valid application with us.


For more information about Australian student visa processing assessment levels click through.


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