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Ending onshore visa hopping (1 July 2024 changes)

The Minister for Home Affairs released a statement announcing changes to the migration system as outlined in the Migration Strategy. These changes aim to curb “visa hopping,” where temporary visa holders repeatedly apply for further temporary visas to extend their stay in Australia without a realistic chance of becoming permanent residents.

Effective from 1 July 2024, the following changes will be implemented to address visa hopping:

  • Holders of Visitor visas (subclass 600) will no longer be able to apply for Student visas (subclass 500) while onshore.
  • Holders of Temporary Graduate visas (subclass 485) will also be prohibited from applying for Student visas (subclass 500) onshore.

The legislative instruments to enforce these changes have not yet been issued.

Additionally, the Australian government has unveiled its anticipated Migration Strategy, detailing a new direction for the migration system and outlining expected changes in 2024.

Starting 1 July 2024, holders of temporary graduate, visitor, and maritime crew visas will be restricted from applying for Student visas onshore. The full list of visa categories affected includes:

  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
  • Visitor (subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
  • Medical Treatment (subclass 602)
  • e-Visitor (subclass 651)
  • Transit (subclass 771)
  • Maritime Crew (subclass 988)
  • Diplomatic Temporary (subclass 995) – primary visa holders only
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 – Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream
  • Domestic Worker (Temporary) – Diplomatic or Consular (subclass 426)

Restricting Onshore Visa Hopping for Student Visas

In December 2023, the Government introduced a series of reforms under the Migration Strategy to uphold the integrity of the international education system and support genuine international students. These reforms aim to ensure that visas are granted to genuine students and that those who earn qualifications in Australia can contribute to the country’s economic growth.

To reinforce these commitments, legislative Instrument LIN16/016 will be expanded from 1 July 2024, preventing Temporary Graduate, Maritime Crew, and Visitor visa holders from applying for a Student visa while onshore in Australia. The specific visa subclasses affected are:

  • Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate)
  • Subclass 600 (Visitor)
  • Subclass 601 (Electronic Travel Authority)
  • Subclass 602 (Medical Treatment)
  • Subclass 651 (eVisitor)
  • Subclass 988 (Maritime Crew)

This expansion is in addition to the visas already listed in the instrument that restrict valid Student visa applications, including:

  • Subclass 403 (Temporary Work – International Relations) – Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream
  • Subclass 426 (Domestic Worker (Temporary) – Diplomatic or Consular)
  • Subclass 771 (Transit)
  • Subclass 995 (Diplomatic Temporary) – primary visa holders only

Applicants lodging visas offshore will not be granted a Bridging visa and must remain outside Australia until their visa decision is made, unless they hold another visa that permits them to travel to and stay in Australia. Visa holders in Australia must comply with their visa conditions, including any work or study restrictions.

These changes are part of the broader Migration Strategy reforms to address onshore visa hopping that undermines the system’s integrity and fosters ‘permanent temporariness’. Temporary Graduate visa holders should either leave Australia, find skilled employment, or seek other visa pathways that could lead to permanent residency. Those wishing to study in Australia should apply for a Student visa from offshore.

Genuine Student visa applicants can apply from outside Australia, and those meeting the criteria will be granted a visa.

It is anticipated that the legislative instruments will amend Schedule 1 of the Student visa regulations to disallow valid applications from onshore holders of subclasses 485, 600, 601, 602, 651, and 988. Updates will be provided once these legislative instruments are released.

Important Notes:

  • No Bridging Visas for Offshore Applicants: Applicants submitting visa applications from outside Australia will not be granted a Bridging visa and must stay outside the country until a decision is made, unless they possess another visa that permits travel and stay in Australia.
  • Compliance with Visa Conditions: Visa holders in Australia must adhere to their visa conditions, including any restrictions on work and study.


These changes aim to:

  • Limit onshore visa hopping, which undermines the integrity of the system and leads to ‘permanent temporariness.’
  • Encourage Temporary Graduate visa holders to either leave Australia or pursue skilled employment and other visa pathways that could lead to permanent residency.
  • Ensure that individuals wishing to study in Australia apply for a student visa from outside the country.

For more information on these changes, visit the Migration Strategy Page on the Home Affairs website.

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