Australia is the biggest island in the world, the sixth biggest country in terms of land area and it is the only nation that solely governs the entire continent.
It is known globally as the world’s most diverse countries with more than 260 languages being spoken. The country is famous for its national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, Heritage sites, Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House. However, apart from all these attractions, Australia’s quality education and globally ranked universities, makes it one of the most attractive destinations for international students.
However, to be eligible to enter Australia for study purposes, one needs a student visa. Read along to know everything about the Australia Student Visa.
Student Visa (Subclass 500)
Planning to study in Australia? To attain a student subclass 500 visa, you must be applying to or admitted to the following categories:
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students
– ELICOS or the English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students is one sector that requires a student visa. Whether you want to pursue a short English language course, IELTS preparation, Cambridge, etc., having a subclass 500 visa is a must.
Vocational Courses or training
– If you are applying in Australia to study courses like Business, Marketing, Tourism, Sport & Fitness, Hospitalities, etc. by a TAFE institute or a private institute, you can apply for this subclass of visa.
You must be enrolled in a registered full-time higher education course at an Australian University, college or an institute. The following are the courses:
1. Courses at undergraduate level such as bachelor’s or an associate degree
2. Courses at a post graduate level such as master’s degree by coursework like MBA, MS, etc.
3. Courses at a post graduate level such as a master’s degree by research and doctoral degree.
4. Diploma or advanced diploma courses like PGDMB, etc.
Features of the Australian Visa
With this visa, a student can avail the following benefits:
- Participate in an eligible course of study in Australia. Students can apply for two or more courses on the same student visa.
- Travel in and out of Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid. Note: Time spent outside Australia does not extend the visa.
- Work up to 40 hours every 2-week period once the course starts You can include family members when you lodge your visa application. You must declare all family members on your visa application at the time of submission, even if they do not plan to travel with you to Australia. If you do not do this, later on, your family members will not be eligible for the grant of dependent visas to join you in Australia.
The partner of the student gets a Dependent Visa and a valid work permit for the same duration as the primary applicant.
Family members who apply for the visa must meet our requirements for health and character.
Length of Stay for Student Visa in Australia
The length of stay is based on the course you intend to study. However, the maximum length of stay for a Student visa will generally not exceed 5 years. The following table will give you an idea:
|Course Duration||Length of Stay|
|10 months or longer, finishing at the end of the Australian academic year (November to December)||
Till March 15 of the following year.
For e.g. your course ends December 2019, your visa would be valid until March 15, 2020.
|10 months or longer, finishing from January until October||
A visa stay period of 2 months longer than the course.
For e.g. the course ends in Feb 2019, then you will be able to stay in Australia till April 2020.
|Less than 10 months||
A visa stay period 1 month longer than the course
For e.g. the course ends in March 2019, then you will be able to stay in the country till April 2020.
To continue studying in Australia, you must apply for a new Student visa.
If your Student visa will expire before your graduation you might be eligible for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). You will need a letter from your education provider with the date of your graduation.
If you hold or held a student visa and completed specific qualifications in Australia in the last six months, you might be eligible for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485).
If you are a recent engineering graduate of a recognized institution you might be eligible for the Skilled Recognition Graduate visa (subclass 476).
If you want to stay longer for other reasons, you must apply for a new visa that suits your circumstances.
Basic Eligibility Requirements for Australian Student Visa
Some basic requirements that a student must meet to be eligible for the Australian Student Visa are:
- Age: You must be aged 6 or older to apply for this visa.
- Full-time Course: You must be enrolled in a full-time course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Part-time and distance learning courses do not qualify.
- English language requirements: If you’re not from an English-speaking country and haven’t completed at least five years’ study in an English-speaking country, you’ll need to prove you can speak English to the required level.
- Good Character: You must be of a good character to visit or live in Australia. This means that you are required to present a proof stating that
1. You do not have any criminal record or charges against you
2. You have never been deported from Australia before
3. You have never been a member of a group or organization, or had or have an association with a person, group or organization that the Minister reasonably suspects of being involved in criminal conduct
4. You are not subject to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
- Health and Insurance: You need to provide proof that you are in good health and thereby maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia. To do so, you need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and keep your policy up to date. OSHC assists international students to meet the costs of medical and hospital care they may need while in Australia. OSHC also includes ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals.
- If you are a student from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy, or New Zealand, you can also apply for Medicare under your country’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.
- The average cost of OSHC is AUS$438 for 12 months for a single student.
- Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE): To be eligible for a student visa in Australia, you must prove that you are entering Australia temporarily to gain a quality education and would return to your home country at the end of the course or after a few years of experience.
- Evidence of your identity. Attach a copy of your passport.
- Non-immigrant Visa Application
- Application fee payment receipt
- Confirmation of Enrolment Form (COE) – To obtain a visa to study in Australia you must be fully enrolled in an Australian institution and receive a “Confirmation of Enrolment (COE)”. These forms are issued by the Australian institution you will be attending. The forms are usually issued after the tuition fees have been received.
- Acceptance letter from your host university, this will include the proposed study plan
- Overseas health insurance receipt (OSHC)
- Recent Digital photographs
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
- Evidence of your English proficiency skills (IELTS/ TOEFLS/ Cambridge/ PTE Scores)
- Statement of Purpose
- Evidence of Financial Capacity
- Evidence to show that you meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement
Cost of Visa
The cost of the Sub-class 500 visa for students is AUD 620 which needs to be paid when you submit your application. You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics. If you have dependents joining you on your visa there will be additional fees payable when you make your application.
Acceptable credit cards are MasterCard, VISA, American Express. When paying by credit card in Australian dollars you may incur banking and currency conversion fees and you will need to accept the risk associated with any currency fluctuations.
When to apply for the Australia Student visa
You can apply for an Australian Student Visa maximum of 124 days prior to the commencement of your course. Also, you can travel to Australia a maximum of 90 days prior to the start of your course.
How to apply for the visa
Under the new SSVF Guidelines. the Australian Student Visa process is completely online. Below are the steps you need to follow to apply for the visa:
- To start an online application, you will need to create and log into your ImmiAccount.
- Select ‘New Application’
- Attach your documents to the application. You can attach up to 60 documents for each person. Ensure that you attach the documents to the application form and do not email. Photos of documents are accepted ifthe photos are clear.
- You can also track your application, but to do so, you will again need to login to your ImmiAccount. You can use your account to attach documents, update passport details, change email and address details and check the progress of your application.
- A Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is a unique number assigned to each online application. You will need this to track and manage your application, identify when you need to communicate with the visa centre and check your visa entitlements.
- Pay for the application fee
Note: Your visa is digitally linked to your passport, and therefore, no label will be incorporated in the passport.
Processing Times for the Australia Visa
1. For Independent ELICOS sector:
- 75% of applications in 77 days
- 90% of applications in 4 months
2. For Vocational Education and Training Sector:
- 75% of applications in 78 days
- 90% of applications in 5 months
3. For higher education sector:
- 75% of applications in 56 days
- 90% of applications in 78 days
4. For post graduate research sector
- 75% of applications in 90 days
- 90% of applications in 5 months
Application can take longer to process if:
- You do not fill it in correctly
- You do not include all the documents we need or we need more information from you
- It takes the officials time to verify your information
Also, if the correct application charges are not paid, your visa will not be processed.
Working on the Student Visa as an International Student
Under Visa Subclass 500, students are eligible to work for up to 40 hours in a fortnight (A fortnight means 14 days starting on a Monday) when:
- It is a registered part of your course that is mandatory
- Your masters degree by research or doctorate degree has started
- Your course is not in session. (during scheduled breaks, if your enrolment has been cancelled due to the default of your education provider and until you get a new enrolment and start the course, if you hold a valid visa and have completed your course as listed on your confirmation of enrolment)
You may take part in volunteer work outside of the 40 hours per fortnight work limitation. Also, the unpaid work is counted towards the 40 hours per fortnight limitation.
One thing to note here is that you can work more than one job as long as the total hours are not more than 40 in a fortnight.
However, you must not work in Australia before your course of study commences.
Students completing the Australian study requirement can apply for a Post-study Work Permit under Graduate Stream. However, students enrolled in an ELICOS cannot apply for Post Study Work Permit for Australia.
Work rules for family Members of International Students
Family members (spouses and children) accompanying the international student under their student visa have the same work rights as the student. However, unlike the students, family members may not exceed 20 hours per week, even during holidays.
For those students obtaining a graduate degree, like a master’s degree, their family can work unlimited hours. Like students, family members are not allowed to begin work until after the student has started his or her course.