Two-Year Wait for Australian Visas Put International PhD Students ‘in Limbo’

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Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on May 11, 2022 02:14 PM IST

The two-year wait for Australia visas has left international PhD students in the middle of nowhere. The Australian Immigration Department has declined to notify them when their visa applications will be approved.

Two-Year Wait for Australian Visas Put International PhD Students ‘in Limbo’

International students with PhD offers from Australian universities have waited up to two years for visa approvals. These students claim they are "in limbo" because Australia's Department of Home Affairs (DHA), which controls immigration, refuses to provide a clear deadline for hearing back on their visa applications.

Alokita, an Indian student, got accepted to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra to study aerospace engineering in September 2020, with plans to commence her PhD in February 2021.

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Alokita asserts that the institution has been "very supportive" and has already allowed her to postpone her place five times owing to the delay, but she fears she will lose her scholarship and PhD spot if her visa is not accepted by June 2022.

Hamed, another 34-year-old Iranian student, was accepted into the PhD programme at theUniversity of Newcastlein Electrical Engineering but is still awaiting a judgement on his visa application, which he submitted in January 2020.

These applicants claim to have contacted the DHA numerous times in some cases, their institutions and superintendents have also contacted the DHA on their behalf but DHA's generic responses rarely indicate when the students can expect a decision.

According to Tanushree, another Indian student, DHA provided a boilerplate response each time, stating that her application is being actively considered and that the mandatory checks from external organisations might take two years or longer.

These students also asserted that they know people who have recently filed for identical visas and have been approved.

As per the DHA's website, 75%of postgraduate research visas are approved within 85 days. In March 2022, 90% of applications with clientele outside Australia were approved in 74 days. However, it is still unclear how many applicants are awaiting their delayed decisions.

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As stated by a departmental spokesperson, the period of time it takes to process an Australia student visa is determined by a variety of factors, including the applicant's personal factors.

The Department cannot provide a visa until it is satisfied that all requirements are fulfilled. Non-citizens applying for visas to enter Australia are assessed on a case-by-case basis and in compliance with Australia's migration legislation.

The official further said that the DHA issued roughly 84,000 student visas to applicants from foreign countries between November 20, 2021 and April 29, 2022.

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Source: The Pie News

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