Australian universities and tertiary colleges are amongst the best in the world and hundreds of thousands of international students arrive each year to get a great education and internationally recognised qualifications … whether its a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, a Master’s Degree in IT or a PhD. International students can study to become doctors, dentists or teachers and some will train to become Ayurvedic practitioners. The options are endless and the cost of study can be significantly lower than the cost of studying in countries such as the USA. Australia is recognised globally as a wonderfully multicultural, warm and safe country and studying Australia will provide some students with a pathway to permanent residence. The Australian visa rules can be difficult to understand and visa pathways can be difficult to navigate unless you understand the rules!
Once you’ve selected Applying for a student visa in Australia is a fairly straightforward process as long as you are able to meet the requirements and have been issued a Confirmation of Enrolment from your school.
As an international student, the first thing to look for when searching for a course, is that not just the college, but the specific course you are looking for is registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. One way to do a quick course search is on their website.
Most courses have two basic entry requirements you need to be sure you can meet before submitting an application –
- English language
Generally VET courses (Certificate III to Advanced Diploma) will require you to have an IELTS of 5.5 with no band score less than 5.0 or equivalent. For university, language requirements are slightly higher (overall band score of 6.5 with no band lower than 6.0) although some areas of study can be even higher still, ie. nursing (overall 7 with no band less than 6.5). You can read about accepted english language tests and view a results comparison table here.
The overall process can be divided into 8 main steps:
- Do some research on various websites including CRICOS and choose a course
- Check that you meet the entry requirements and submit an application with all supporting documents
- English –
If you have a valid English language test that meets the required minimum level – great!
If not, one of the following is likely to be the case –
- i) You have an English language test but you are short of 0.5 or similar to get into the course – If you meet all other requirements, the school may package your studies with an english language course first (ELICOS). Your Letter Of Offer will be conditional upon you successfully completing the english course and achieving the necessary improvement and final score to go onto your main course of study. A study period of 10 weeks is usually recommended to improve a band by 0.5.
- ii) You do not have an English language test at all or it is no longer valid
- You may choose to enrol into a standalone ELICOS course at a school of your choice. Once you complete the course, you will receive a certificate from the school stating your level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc.) which you can show your next course provider
- The school may be able to evaluate your level of English internally. This can done in two ways – the school can send you a link for you to complete a test online or they can organise an appointment for you to come into the school and complete a test in person at their premises. Either way, the test should be done under exam conditions and in the allocated time frame.
Some fields do not offer the option to package an English course with a primary course, i.e. Nursing. If you wanted to study in this field, you will need to provide a valid test the moment you submit your application. In this instance, you may chose to sit an official English language test straight away. However, you need to be mindful of the time it may take for your results to be published. IELTS takes 13 days to make your scores available while PTE can take up to 5 business days.
- Once you have the appropriate English language test score and if the admissions team is happy that you satisfy all other entry requirements, you may be issued a letter of offer
- You will need to accept your offer and make the initial payment towards your studies
- Once payment has been received, the school will issue a Confirmation Of Enrolment (COE)
- Next, you will have to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). You are able to do this through the school when you first submit your application, or once you have your COE. Educational institutions have their one preferred partner who they work with so the downside of choosing to have them organise your oshc is that you only get that one option and are not able to compare between providers
- With your COE, OSHC and other necessary documents, you should now be able to prepare and submit your student visa application
The steps are generally quite easy to follow but you need to be aware of other important factors such as the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria and the risk matrix. This is where using an agent comes in handy!
An agent can help you understand the Australian Qualifications Framework and what your qualifications from back home (if you have any) are equivalent to. This will then also help you understand whether you meet the entry requirements or need to potentially look at building a pathway to achieve your academic goals. An agent can help you filter and navigate through all the options in the areas of study you may be interested in saving you time and presenting only courses that we think you are likely to be offered a place in. A migration agent can also then offer assistance with long term plans and other possible visas such as the Graduate Temporary Visa.
Whether you are looking to study English, a VET course or embark on a journey at uni, send us a quick message and one of our agents will get back to you! shortly. Educational institutions in Australia pay a small commission to agents for dealing with their student’s enrolment (at no extra cost to the student!) so we may be able to offer our services at a discount price or even for free!!