Overseas Students in Australia

| November 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

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The student visa program enables overseas students to come to Australia to undertake full-time study in registered courses.

When processing applications, the department ensures:

·         transparency in the requirements to be granted a student visa

·         consistency in decision-making

·         integrity of the student visa program by using objective measures of risk to determine visa requirements.

Eligibility

Before applying for a student visa, students must have been accepted for full-time study in a registered course in Australia.

A registered course is an accredited education or training course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and offered by an Australian education provider registered to offer courses to overseas students.
See:CRICOS

Applying for a student visa

Students must apply for a visa in the sector that relates to their main course of study:

·         Independent English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector (subclass 570) visa

·         Schools sector (subclass 571) visa

·         Vocational Education and Training sector (subclass 572) visa

·         Higher Education sector (subclass 573) visa

·         Postgraduate Research sector (subclass 574) visa

·         Non-award sector (subclass 575) visa

·         AusAID and Defence sector (subclass 576) visa.

Generally, only students subject to Assessment Level 1 or students eligible for streamlined visa processing may be granted their first student visa while they are in Australia. Other students may only be able to obtain their first student visa while they are in Australia under exceptional circumstances.
See: Student Visa Program—Assessment Levels (formerly known as Form 1219i) (144KB PDF file)

Students who already have a student visa to study in Australia, but want to change their main course of study to one in a different education sector must apply for a new student visa in the education sector appropriate to their new main course of study.
See:Applying for a student visa (formerly known as Form 1160i) (128KB PDF file)

Assessment factors and streamlined visa processing

Students must provide evidence to satisfy the assessment criteria that apply to them before they can be granted a student visa. This may include evidence that they have the financial capacity to cover living costs in Australia—tuition fees, travel costs and capacity to support any family members. Applicants must also satisfy criteria for proficiency in English, level of education and other matters such as the potential to breach visa conditions.

The evidence required for these criteria varies according to the student visa applicant’s assessment level. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest evidentiary requirements and Assessment Level 5 represents the highest.
See: Student Visa Program—Assessment Levels (formerly known as Form 1219i) (144KB PDF file)

Streamlined visa processing is available for prospective international students with a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) from a participating university at bachelor, masters or doctoral degree level. Student visa applicants who are eligible for streamlined visa processing are not subject to assessment levels.
See: The university sector streamlined visa processing( 80KB PDF file)

All students and accompanying family members must meet character and health requirements and obtain overseas student health cover (OSHC) for the duration of their visa. Students from Belgium, Norway and Sweden may not need OSHC if they have acceptable health cover offered by those countries.

Passport holders from certain countries may be entitled to Medicare, however it is still a requirement for overseas students to obtain OSHC for the duration of their stay in Australia while on a student visa.
See:Health insurance for students 

Course packaging

Students may ‘package’ their studies to combine a preliminary course with their main course of study on the one student visa. The subclass that applies to the package would be the one that corresponds to the main course of study. The student’s assessment level is based on the package of courses they are studying.
See: Course packaging

Visa conditions

Permission to work

Students and their dependent family members who were granted a student visa on or after 26 April 2008 have permission to work.
See:New permission to work arrangement for student visa holders(58KB PDF file)

Students and dependent family members who were granted a student visa before 26 April 2008 and have not yet applied for permission to work may only apply for permission to work after they have started their course in Australia.
See:How to apply for permission to work

Students and their dependent family members with permission to work must not undertake work until the main student visa holder has started their course in Australia. They are limited to 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session, but may work unlimited hours during formal holiday periods. Holders of a Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa who have started their course have unrestricted permission to work.

Student visa holders found to be working in excess of their limited work rights  may be subject to visa cancellation.

Family members’ permission to work

Family members who have permission to work can work up to 40 hours per fortnight once the main student visa holder has started the course of study.

Where students are on a Higher Education (subclass 573) visa, Postgraduate (subclass 574) or AusAID and Defence (subclass 576) visa and have started a masters or doctorate course, any family member who has permission to work can do so for unlimited hours.

No extension of stay

Most Assessment Level 3 and all Assessment Level 4 students (except those in the schools sector) undertaking a course or courses of 10 months duration or less, are subject to a ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition. This condition generally prevents students from extending their stay in Australia, although they may apply for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa or a student visa with permission to work or a student visa with permission to work.

If an Assessment Level 3 student provides evidence of funds to cover a further 12 month stay, the ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition is no longer mandatory.

Students who are sponsored by the Australian Government, or the government of their home country, may also be subject to a ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition. They will only be able to extend their studies in Australia if the sponsoring government gives written consent.

Change of address

Students must inform their education provider of their current residential address within seven days of arrival and of any change of address in Australia within seven days of the change. Students must also notify their current provider of any change of enrolment to a new provider.

Family members

Family members aged 18 years or over may only study for up to three months. If they want to undertake a course of study that exceeds three months, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.

School-age family members, children aged 5–18 years, who join the student in Australia for more than three months must attend school. The student must meet any associated education or tuition costs for that child.

A student’s child aged 18 years or over cannot apply for a student visa as a family member. If they want to study in Australia, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.

Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa

Where students are under 18 years of age, it is possible for a parent or relative to apply for a student guardian visa to accompany them to Australia. The student guardian visa allows that person to stay in Australia to care for the student until they turn 18. A student guardian does not have permission to work while in Australia.

Statistics

The student visa program report is a quarterly statistical publication that provides data on the student visa program administered by the department. This report will be a valuable resource for anyone who has an interest in the international student sector.
See:Student visa statistics

Further information for students

The Education Services for Overseas Student Act 2000 provides important safeguards for overseas students in Australia. The Act regulates the activities of education providers delivering education and training to international students by setting standards and providing tuition and financial assurance.
See:Australian Education International

If students choose to work part-time while studying in Australia they have the same work rights as Australian permanent residents and citizens. For more information and advice about conditions of employment in Australia students can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.
See:Fair Work Ombudsman

Further information is available on the department’s website.
See:www.immi.gov.au

The department also operates a national general enquiries line.
Telephone:131 881
Hours of operation:Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.

Fact Sheet 50 – Overseas Students in Australia

Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.  Last reviewed April 2013.

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Category: Study at High School, Study at TAFE, Study at University, Study English, Study Master, Study MBA, Study PhD Doctorate, studyinaustralia

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