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End of Student (Subclass 500) visa hopping from 1 July 2024

By 27 June, 2024No Comments3 min read

student visa hopping

As part of its Migration Strategy released in December 2023 (see here), the Department of Immigration has indicated that from 1 July onwards, measures will be brought in to stop visitors and Graduate visa holders from being able to apply for further Student visas onshore.

This article discusses what these changes are and how they will take effect.

What is “visa hopping”?

Australia’s student visa program is a significant economic driver and gives access to its education system.

The Department’s view is that it has been used by international students (and other temporary visa holders) to “visa hop” to another Student visa to prolong their stay in Australia when they have little prospect of becoming a permanent resident. This leads to a growing cohort of individuals who are “permanently temporary”.

How will this change be implemented?

To make a valid application for a Student (Subclass 500) visa you need to satisfy certain criteria.

Presently, for example, you are unable to make a valid onshore Student visa application if you’re the holder of certain visas including certain Domestic Worker visas, certain Diplomatic Visas, or a Transit Visa.

This will be expanded to include holders of:

  1. Visitor visas (including the Subclass 600 visa, and eVisitor and ETAs);
  2. Graduate (Subclass 485) visas;
  3. Medical treatment (Subclass 602) visas; and
  4. Maritime Crew (Subclass 988) visas.

What does this practically mean?

Effectively this prevents the above visa holders from being able to validly apply onshore for a Student visa.

However, such visa holders will still be able to apply for a Student (Subclass 500) visa from outside Australia. In doing so they would need to:

  1. satisfy the “Genuine Student” criteria (see here) – which factors in the applicant’s study history, and Australian immigration history; and
  2. wait outside Australia until their Student (Subclass 500) visa is approved before entering (or otherwise having another valid visa for travel to Australia).


The above highlights the increasing importance of appropriate visa planning as a Student or Graduate. This includes maximising the time on your Graduate 485 visa, and where appropriate, securing an appropriate visa pathway to permanent residency.

We have a dedicated private client practice experienced in assisting Students to navigate their Australian immigration journey. Contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone +61 3 9016 0484 if you have any further queries.

This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information
Jordan Tew

Author Jordan Tew

Jordan is one of less than 50 lawyers who are Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law by the Law Institute of Victoria, and less than 100 nationally. Accredited Specialists undergo a vigorous assessment process, and make up about 1% of all registered migration agents.

More posts by Jordan Tew

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