Last Updated: August 08, 2021
Student Visa Australia
Australia is a popular study destination for international students, as it imparts good quality education and provides a safe environment to students. Australia is already a proud host to students from more than 150 countries.
Choosing a Course
The universities in Australia offer a lot of courses and programs depending on the interest of the students. The students should choose an area of study well in advance so that they can apply for the visa in a timely manner. The popular courses available in Australia are:
- Bachelor's Degree
- Master's Degree
- Post Graduate courses
- ELICOS (studying English in Australia) program
- VET- Vocational Education and Training course
Types of Student Visas and their Validity
Following are the types of Australian student visas available for international students:
- Australian Student visa (subclass 500): This is the most popular type of long-term student visa for international students in Australia. This visa is valid for the duration of the course for up to five years. After five years if the student has not completed their course, they can apply for a new visa.
- Student Guardian visa (Subclass 590): If a student is under 18 years old, they can have a guardian accompany them under the Student Guardian visa. This is a temporary visa valid for the duration of the student visa for the international student, the guardian is caring for. It allows the guardian to provide care and support to a student who is less than 18 years old. The guardian is allowed to pursue an education for the duration of 3 months or an ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) course for 20 hours per week for as long as the visa is active.
- Training visa (Subclass 407): This is a temporary visa for students looking to get training in their academic field in a professional environment. The visa is valid for a maximum period of 2 years and the student has to be sponsored/nominated/invited by an employer.
- eVisitor Visa (Subclass 651): This is a short-term visa with a 12-month validity, allowing the student to stay for a maximum of 3 months at a time. The student can pursue a short course for the duration of 3 months. This visa is free of cost.
- Working Holiday Visa (Subclasses 417 and 462): These visas are for internationals looking to holiday in Australia while being able to work. Though traditionally only for tourists, it allows them to study for a maximum period of 4 months. This type of visa is valid for 12 months and upon expiration of the visa, they are eligible to apply for another type of Working Holiday visa to extend their stay by another 12 months.
Who Needs to Apply for the Australian Student Visa?
All international students that are over 6 years old and looking to study in Australia need to apply for the Subclass 500 Student Visa which is the only Australian student visa for long-term courses.
Cost of Australian Student Visas
|Student Guardian visa||AUD630|
|Working Holiday visa||AUD495|
Steps to Applying for an Australian Student Visa
Applying to an Australian university
Before applying for a student visa, the student needs to be enrolled in a full-time course or courses and obtain a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) which confirms their enrollment. The course(s) should be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). The CoE is issued by the educational institution where the student is enrolled. A postgraduate student is exempt from this requirement.
Proof of English language proficiency
An international student, who is not a citizen of the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland can be asked to prove their English language proficiency at any step of the visa process unless they have completed a 5 year English course in any of these countries or are already enrolled in ELICOS course in Australia. The English proficiency tests accepted are TOEFL (46 minimum score), IELTS (5.5 minimum score), Advanced Cambridge English test (162 minimum score), PTE Academic (42 minimum score), and Occupational English test (minimum of a B grade in each component). If the student does not meet the minimum score requirement, then they will be required to enroll in an ELICOS course for up to 20 weeks.
Proof of health insurance
An international student needs to get health insurance and must be covered by OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover), approved by an Australian health insurance provider to cover any medical or hospital bills incurred during their stay. The OSHC must be valid for the entire duration of the visa. The student visa is issued only for the duration of OSHC. It must include the arrival date of the student in Australia, which is usually one week or one month before the beginning of the course. The OSHC has to be valid till the last day of the visa, which is usually a month or two after the completion of the course. Certain Norwegian, Swedish, and Belgian students are exempt from this requirement if they have alternate health coverage.
Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement
The candidate needs to prove that they are entering Australia temporarily to get an education and intend on returning to their home country upon completion of their education. The student needs to submit a personal statement that covers all the requirements of the GTE confirming their intention to study. All the details in the GTE have to be facts supported by evidence. The student should include their academic and work qualifications, their personal family situation, and how the course that they are enrolling in is going to enhance their future. The student might be called in for an interview if it is deemed necessary.
Proof of financial resources
The student needs to prove that they have sufficient funds to cover their cost of tuition as well as the living costs. The funds they need to have are roughly US $14,000 for one year. The proof can be in the form of bank statements or the undertaking by a family member to cover up the cost, in which case the student needs to show proof that their sponsor has an annual income of at least AUD62,222.
Proof of good character
The student needs to prove that they have an upstanding character and will obey Australian laws and ways of life. This means that the student should not have a criminal record and should not have been involved in illegal activities. Based upon the information provided, additional documents may be required, such as a police certificate, a military certificate, or a letter of good conduct from an employer or the educational institute.
Proof of good health
Students applying to study in Australia must meet the minimum health standards to keep the general population in the country safe. The student has to undergo a health examination and the results are then examined by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC), to verify that the student does not suffer from any medical condition which can be a threat to the public health or might lead to healthcare and community services that are in short supply. The student might be asked to sign a health undertaking by the MOC should the need arise.
Sign the Australian values statement
The student is required to sign the Australian Values Statement to confirm that they have read and understood the 'Life in Australia' booklet and will abide by the laws and rules of the country.
Applying for the visa online
The visa has to be applied online by creating an ImmiAccount
, attaching the necessary documents, and paying the visa fees.
Steps to be taken after applying
Students should double-check their application after applying, for any mistakes or changes that might need to be made. The student can attach any additional information later on in the ImmiAccount or fill out Form 1023 if they have made any mistakes in their application. The student should also check their ImmiAccount regularly, in case any additional information is needed, which might include but is not limited to Biometrics and Health exams.
Documents required to apply for the Australian student visa
All of the documents have to be in English. If any document is in any other language, it has to be translated into English by a translator that is accredited by National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters, if located in Australia. All of the documents have to be scanned in colored ink and multi-page documents have to be uploaded as a single file. The documents needed are:
- Copy of valid passport
- Copy of birth certificate/driving license/national identity card
- Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), for the course selected by the student
- Proof of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), if applicable
- Proof of financial resources
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Proof of Genuine Temporary Entrant
- Previous academic transcripts
- Most recent curriculum vitae or resume outlining both employment and academic achievements for the past five years
- Proof of good health
- Proof of good character
- Australian values statement
Additional documents to be submitted by students if applicable
- Proof of name change, if applicable
- Form 956 Advice by a migration agent/exempt person and Form 956A - Appointment or withdrawal of an authorized recipient, if applicable
- Form 1229 completed and signed by parents or legal guardians only if the student is less than 18 years old
- Proof of employment history, if working, for example, recent payslips
- Masters and Doctorate Course students should submit a letter from their education provider along with proper documents showcasing their financial ability to stay and study in Australia
- Students who are sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or by the Australian Department of Defense should submit a letter of support
- A secondary exchange student should submit an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student form
Working While Studying in Australia
Student visa (subclass 500)
The Subclass 500 visa allows the students to work for 40 hours per fortnight
after their course commences and unlimited hours during vacation breaks. No additional work permit is needed to work in Australia. The students are not allowed to work until the course has started, though, and after the completion of the course.
If a student plans on working 15 hours in week 1, 20 hours in week 2, and 25 hours in week 3, the student cannot go ahead with working 25 hours in week 3 because the total hours worked in week 2 and week 3 exceed the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
- The 40-hour work restriction does not apply to students enrolled in Masters by research, or doctoral courses. These students are allowed to work unlimited hours.
- If the student works as a volunteer, those hours don't count towards the 40-hour quota.
- Any work done by the student as part of their course and approved by their educational provider to provide practical training pertaining to the course, does not count toward the 40-hour limit.
Working Holiday Visa (Subclasses 417 and 462)
The students that hold a Working Holiday Visa can work for a period of up to 6 months at only one job with no other hourly restrictions.
Note: No matter what kind of visa the student holds, they still have to make sure that they are meeting the satisfactory grade requirements for the course, though.
Covid-19 temporary relaxation
The working hours restrictions have been temporarily relaxed for international students in Australia. This relaxation is only for students employed by an approved aged care provider, healthcare sector, agriculture sector, supermarket, tourism, or hospitality businesses.
Renewing the Australia Student Visa Subclass 500
The Subclass 500 visa cannot be renewed upon the expiration, but if the student has not completed the course before the termination of the visa, they can apply for a new Subclass 500 visa. The procedure will be the same as the first time and the student will have to show proof that their course will not be completed within the time duration of the visa. The application should ideally be submitted at least a month before the expiration of the current visa if the student is already in Australia or at least 3 months before the expiration of the current visa if the student is outside Australia.
Working After Graduating
International students have several visa options to work in Australia temporarily after the completion of their course. The most popular ones are:
Depending upon the degree, educational provider, and individual factors, the student can check on the homeaffairs website, regarding which work visa would work best for them.
- Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) - Can be extended for a stay of up to 6-7 years for recent graduates
- Skilled Recognition Graduate visa (subclass 476) - Valid for up to 18 months for recent engineering graduates
Some Things to Remember
- The student can arrive in Australia up to 90 days before the commencement of their course, provided that their student visa is valid for that time.
- OSHC should be valid till the last day of the student's stay in Australia. In case, a family member joins the student in Australia, then the family member should also have OSHC coverage, which is valid till the last day of their stay in Australia.
- The student has to inform their educational provider of their current address and contact information within 7 days of arriving in Australia or within 7 days of the change in the information.
- Students with a previous criminal record will be denied visas to Australia.
- If the student is asked to provide biometrics, they will have to do so within 14 days of the request.
- The student can travel freely in and out of Australia as many times as they want for the duration of their student visa.
- The student should be familiar with the grading system beforehand, as certain grades have different connotations in Australia for instance, HD means high distinction, D stands for distinction, C for credit.
- The student should also read up on the local language style before they set out for Australia.