“Nepal has gone down to assessment level 3!” is the recent big news for Nepalese Students. Students, parents and the stakeholders are all concerned, curious and confused regarding the update. However, it’s not about running after baseless rumors but to understand as what exactly has changed and how are we to be better prepared for it?
To begin with, what exactly is the assessment level and how is it determined? When any country opens its doors for international students, their main intention is to provide opportunity to genuine people, whose main motif is to study rather than for any other immigration reasons. Specially when people come from a third world country, they come with a lot of social, emotional or financial baggage and have intentions other than just studying.
There are no specific rules to determine whether a candidate is genuine or not. So how does a visa offer evaluate? What determines the genuinity of an applicant? Its generally done on the basis of the documents that are provided to the High Commission. And what kind of documents need to be provided depends on the genuinity of the previous applicants. The levels are reviewed every six months and this is determined on the basis of the types of documents provided. Going down a level below means that in the past their might have been many fraudulent cases and hence now the risk has gone up. The assessment levels determine exactly what documents will be required at the high commission.
For around two years Nepal, India and Pakistan were at Assessment Level 2 which clearly meant that the previous applicant came from genuine candidates and hence, the risk of non-genuine students was much less. So, it was not mandatory for an applicant to show their Financial Capacity or an English Proficiency Test to get visa.
However, now as all these countries have stepped down to Assessment Level 3, the financial documents as well as the Proof of English proficiency test will become mandatory for the visa. This can sometimes, confuse an applicant, as from Nepal, generally students were asked for these documents upfront even when we were in AL-2. That was done to avoid the risk factor and to discourage non-genuine applicants but it was not a mandatory requirement at the High Commission. Hence, it seems that the Nepalese students who are applying from offshore will not be affected much.
Nevertheless, this change will definitely affect the onshore Nepalese students. These students might be enrolled at a VET sector and would now like to join a university or maybe they are in a tourist visa and would like to continue their education. Such applicants will now have to produce all the financial documents and proof of English language for their Student Visa.
Furthermore, we should also understand that just as countries have their Assessment Level determined, so has the University. To understand it in more detail, the visa officer will add up the points from both the University and the Country and then will require the documents. If the sum of both is four or less then the applicants need not show any above-mentioned documents. However, if the sum is five or more then the documents become mandatory. For instance, if the country is in AL 3 but the University is in AL 1 the sum is 4, which means that the financial capacity and English requirement are not mandatory.The following Chart might be able to clarify the above explanation:
For those applicants who want to figure out the assessment level of an education provider, the most authentic process would be initially to go to https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/web-evidentiary-tool. There will be the option to select your country. Once that is done, you need to select the name of the education provider and then click on “Display Evidence”. The requirements will be listed out. If the list requires evidence of Financial Capacity and evidence of English Language Ability, then it is evident that the education provider is not in assessment level 1. This in turn is an indication of a high-risk factor.
To sum up, the change in Assessment level of a country means that now the students need to be careful with their choice of university and go for an Assessment level 1 Education provider to minimize the hassles.