For those who are not familiar with the concept of the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE), it was designed to screen those who have a genuine intention to study in Australia and those real intention is not study, rather some other purpose. This is a subjective assessment made by DIAC officers based upon the information presented to them in an application. The guidelines discussed here are from the Ministerial Direction No. 53. These are the direct instructions to case officers from the Minister of the DIAC.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Intention as: A thing intended: an aim or plan. It is not to say that this intention can never change over time. Many overseas students who plan to study in Australia first and then apply for a permanent visa through the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program upon the completion of studies may be quite concerned about the GTE requirement. It is understandable but excessive worry is not necessary as the immigration department has confirmed that the GTE is not designed to exclude those students who, after studying in Australia, go on to develop the skills required by the Australian labour market and go on to obtain permanent residency. However students should be cautious not to make educational choices solely on the basis of hoping to achieve a particular migration outcome.
Main factors to be assessed against the GTE requirement
The immigration department assesses whether or not a genuine temporary entrant criterion is satisfied by considering the applicant against the factors including but not limited to the following:
- The applicant's circumstances in their home country
- The applicant's potential circumstances in Australia
- Value of the course to the applicant's future
- The applicant's immigration history
- If the applicant is a minor- The intention of a parent, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant
- Any other relevant matters
Now let's look closer at these factors one by one through examples. The examples below illustrate circumstances that may cause further scrutiny. Of course it is not possible to exhaust all circumstances.
1. The applicant's circumstances in their home country
* The applicant applies for a course in Australia where there are many similar courses available in his/her home country or region with similar cost of living. There is provision to allow for "reasonable motives" but this is not defined clearly.
* The income earned in the applicant's home country is far below the cost of living in Australia or there are high unemployment levels in applicant's home country.
* The applicant lacks personal ties in their home country such as family, community and employment to serve as a significant incentive to return to their home country.
* The applicant has military service commitments back in their home country, which they may try to avoid by staying in Australia.
* There are political and civil unrest in the applicant's home country.
2. The applicant's potential circumstances in Australia
* The applicant's family and community ties with Australia present as a strong incentive to remain in Australia indefinitely.
* The applicant has intention to use the student visa program to circumvent the intentions of the migration program. For example the applicant applies for a one year course just to gain more time to prove a de-facto relationship in order to obtain a spouse visa.
* In cases where a secondary applicant- spouse or de-facto partner is included, evidences indicate that the applicants might be in a non-genuine relationship or in a genuine relationship but with non-genuine intentions in terms of the use of the student visa program. For example, the primary and secondary applicants alternate between being the primary and secondary applicants to extend their period of stay in Australia or an applicant whose previous application was refused seeks to apply for a student visa as a secondary applicant.
* In cases where the applicant seeks to apply for a Subclass 570 visa to study English in Australia, evidences raise doubts about the applicant's genuine purpose of stay in Australia. For example the English course is of six months period but is structured into two months of intensive study and four months of break which may allow the applicant to work most of time when he/she is in Australia, or there are plenty of English courses available in applicant's home country but the applicant did not attempt to undertake any.
3. Value of the course to the applicant's future
* The course that the applicant seeks to study is irrelevant to their education background or current employment. For example the applicant's bachelor degree is in engineering but applied for a master course in accounting or the applicant is seeking to undertake an English course where their currently occupation does not require English skill.
* The applicant enrolled to study at a lower level than previous studies undertaken in their home country. For example the applicant has a master degree in business administration in their home country and applied for a bachelor course in commerce in Australia.
* Compared with Australia, the applicant cannot be well rewarded in their home country with the qualification to be gained from the proposed course of study. For example the applicant seeks to conduct a diploma course in welfare in Australia, however in their home country welfare worker or welfare related jobs are not demanded by market, which means they are unlikely to be employed easily or get paid reasonably well with the diploma qualification.
However it does not mean that applicants are not allowed to change study or career pathways. As long as the applicant can provide solid reasons for their course choice, the GTE requirement can still be met.
4. The applicant's immigration history
*The applicant has previous applied for visas to Australia or other countries but was refused.
*The applicant's previous visa to Australia or other countries was cancelled due to breach of visa conditions.
*The applicant's education history in Australia indicates an intention to use the student visa program primarily for maintaining ongoing residence. For example the applicant has undertaken a series of short, inexpensive courses, or has been onshore for some time without successfully completing a qualification, but seek to enroll in another course.
5. If the applicant is a minor- The intention of a parent, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant
This factor is actually quite self explanatory. In assessing the GTE criterion for minors, case officers will not only take into account the applicant's conditions but also the intention of a parent, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant. The department considers a minor is competent to make decisions if at least 16 years old. So if the applicant is under 16 years old, their parent's intention must be assessed as well.
6. Any other relevant matters
*A relative of the applicant has an immigration history of concern
*The information provided by the applicant in their student visa application is not consistent.
If questioned by the case officer of not meeting the GTE requirement, applicants can still provide further documentation such as evidence of economic situation, personal ties to their home country, claimed previous study, etc to try to prove the genuineness .
Somehow, the GTE requirement reminds me of the PIC 4020, both of which may lead to subjective decision making. Hope my assumption will be proved wrong. (If you have no idea what PIC 4020 is, have a look at our previous newsletter, volume 205& 208.)
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