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The international education sector is one of Australia's largest export industries and is important to Australia in supporting bilateral ties with key partner countries, supporting employment in a broad range of occupations throughout the Australian economy, as well as delivering high-value skills to the economy.
In December 2010, the Australian Government appointed the Hon Michael Knight AO to conduct the first strategic review of the student visa program to help enhance the quality, integrity and competitiveness of the student visa program.
On 7 March 2011, Mr Knight released a discussion paper and encouraged interested parties to make a written submission to the review.
See: Student Visa Program Review Discussion Paper (212KB PDF file)
There were 200 submissions received and they are available on our website.
See: Submissions Received by the Review Team
Mr Knight reported to the government on 30 June 2011 with 41 recommendations. On 22 September 2011, Mr Knight's report, Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011 was released.
See: Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011 (1.7MB PDF file)
The government supports in principle all of Mr Knight's recommendations, however some recommendations will be modified in places to enhance the performance of the Australian education sector and to better safeguard the integrity of the visa system.
See: Boost to International Education Sector in Response to Knight Review (Media release)
The fact sheet on the Government Response to the Knight Review of the Student Visa Program is available on our website.
See: Fact Sheet - Government Response to the Knight Review of the Student Visa Program
All of Mr Knight's recommendations are available, as well as the actual or planned implementation dates.
See: Knight Review of the Student Visa Program—Recommendations with Expected Implementation Date
Stage one implementation
Stage one implementation of the Knight Review changes commenced on 5 November
2011. The following fact sheet details these changes.
Fact Sheet Stage One Implementation of the Knight Review Changes to the Student Visa Program
Students to Benefit as Knight Review Changes Rolled Out (Media release)
Stage two implementation
The majority of the stage two Knight Review changes commenced on 24 and 26 March 2012. This includes streamlined visa processing for certain university applicants from 24 March 2012. The introduction of post study work arrangements commenced on 23 March 2013 and the cessation of automatic and mandatory student visa cancellations commenced on 13 April 2013.
Fact Sheet – Stage Two Implementation of the Knight Review Changes to the Student Visa Program
Changes to Boost International Education (Media release)
Recommendation 32 – Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework
Comments on the discussion paper on the Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework closed on 16 March 2012.
Discussion Paper on the Review of the Student Visa AL Framework (
B PDF file)
Submissions in Response to the Discussion Paper on the Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework
Review of Assessment Level Framework – Terms of Reference
List of External Reference Group Members – Review of Assessment Level Framework
Frequently asked questions
The following information package provides further detail on the Knight Review changes to the student visa program.
Post-Study Work Arrangements Recommendation 4 - Frequently Asked Questions
Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement ( 94KB PDF file)
Review of the Assessment Level Framework (Recommendation 32) Frequently Asked Questions
Cessation of automatic and mandatory student visa cancellations
See also: Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa – the Australian Study Requirement
Translated versions of the fact sheets are available in seven languages other than English: Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Thai and Vietnamese.
See: Translations of Knight Review Documents