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International Student Visas
International education is Australia’s largest services export, generating approximately $19 billion in 2015. The student visa plays a major role in supporting the education sector and facilitating the entrance of international students.
Student visas allow international students to come to Australia and live in Australia while they undertake a course of study.
Type of Courses
There are a wide range of courses in which a student can enrol:
Primary and secondary school;
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS);
School exchange program;
Vocational Educational and Training (VET) courses;
Higher Education courses;
Postgraduate research degrees;
Non-award courses; and
Students sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Trade or the Department of Defence
1. Genuine Temporary Entrant - An applicant must be able to show that he or she is a genuine student. The assessment takes into account the applicant's situation in his or her home country, academic record and links to Australia as well as immigration history.
2. Enrolment – Applicants must study at an accredited institution which is listed on a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (‘CRICOS’) or in a primary or high school program.
3. Risk Matrix – An immigration risk framework is used to guide the evidence of English language and financial capacity that a student needs to provide with their visa application.
Regular Evidentiary Requirements: evidence of English language ability and finances would need to be provided.
Streamlined Evidentiary Requirements: evidence of English language ability and finances would generally not be required.
4. Level of English – Applicants subject to “Regular Evidentiary Requirements”, will need to provide evidence of language ability.
Exemptions from language testing include:
Holding a passport from certain countries; or
Previous studies in English; or
Enrolled in certain types of course.
5. Financial Requirements – If required, applicants will need to provide evidence that they have sufficient funds to undertake studies in Australia. Applicants may need to provide evidence that they have enough money to pay course fees, travel and living costs for themselves and any accompanying family members while in Australia.
How to apply
An application must be made online although paper applications are allowed in limited circumstances. It is possible to make an application while in or outside Australia. If you are in Australia, you would generally need to hold a substantive visa which is not subject to a “no further stay” condition.
A student visa is generally valid for the duration of your studies plus 2 months. Students enrolled in research degrees will generally receive an additional 6 months to handle the marking of their work.
Students must provide evidence of adequate health insurance which is an ongoing condition for the duration of the visa and must stay enrolled on the course whilst in Australia. Students are also permitted to work once they have commenced their studies. They are generally allowed to work up to 40 hours a fortnight whilst the course is in session.
Student visas can be a way to improve your skills, job prospects and employability throughout the world. An Australian qualification can also provide visa holders more options when applying for permanent visas.
Heenan & Browne Visa and Migration Services has significant experience of the student application process and can deal with any difficult issues that may arise when applying for a visa. Please contact our office to discuss your options.