Student Visa – Frequently asked questions

Student Visa – Frequently asked questions

What can I study in Australia?

Everything – well, almost everything! Australian colleges and institutions offer a wide range of subjects to international students. It is important to do the research and ensure the course you are considering is accredited and approved for overseas students.

Courses available to international students include:

Nursing, Trades, Engineering, I.T, Tourism and Hospitality, Management, Education, Teaching, Agriculture, Arts, etc.

Can I work on a student visa?

Students are allowed to work 40 hours a fortnight while their course is in session and unlimited hours during semester breaks. No limit applies if you are studying a Masters degree by research or a PhD. It is important to note students cannot start work before their course has started. Once you have completed your course, you can work unrestricted hours.

Your dependent partner can work 40 hours a week once the course has commenced (whether the course is in session or on holidays). The 40 hour work restriction does not apply if the main applicant is studying a Master degree (research or coursework) or a PhD.

Can my partner come with me to Australia on my student visa?

Students can include their partner (married/defacto) in their application if they wish to travel together to Australia. You will need to provide evidence that you are in a genuine relationship and that they meet the visa requirements as a secondary applicant. This can include documents like a marriage certificate, joint bank accounts, a lease agreement or that you have children together. Lots of international students call this a ‘combined visa’.

Can I add my partner to my student visa after it has been granted?

Yes. Students are able to add their partner as a subsequent dependent applicant after their visa has been granted. It is important that you have declared your partner in your initial student visa application otherwise they cannot be added to your student visa and you will have to apply for a brand new student visa and include them in this application.

If you’ve married since your original student visa was granted, then in these circumstances it is often possible to add your partner to your student visa.

You must be able to provide evidence that you are in a genuine relationship – married or de facto.

Unlike initial student visa applications, there are no processing times listed on the Department’s website for subsequent dependent applicants. This means that you may be waiting weeks or months.

How much funds do I need to have?

The Department of Home Affairs expects students to have sufficient funds to cover their travel, cost of living and tuition fees. Students need to demonstrate genuine access to at least the following if the course they enrol in is 12 months or longer:

Single applicant: $21,041 and the first year tuition fees

Secondary applicant travelling with you:

  • Partner: $7,362
  • Child: $3,152

If you want to study for less than 12 months, the amount of funds needed to demonstrate will be calculated ‘pro-rata’, which means that the amount will be adjusted according to the length of your course.

Do I need to sit an official English language test such as IELTS or PTE?

It depends! Not all students are required to sit a formal English language test although it is good to have one.

A student’s nationality (country of passport) and education provider will determine if an applicant needs to provide evidence of English language ability. You can check what needs to be attached to a student visa application on the Document Checklist Tool on the Department’s website.

In most cases, international students still need to provide some form of evidence that they meet the minimum language requirement to gain admission into a course. This can sometimes be done by completing an internal language test (free of charge) provided by the school.

Is there an age limit?

No, absolutely no age limit! You can apply for a subclass 500 at any age as long as you are over 18. If you are under 18 years old you will need to have a chaperone or organise guardianship arrangements.

Can I study more than one course?

You certainly can! This is called a ‘package’ and is very common. If you need to improve your English and enrol in a language course before commencing a primary course (e.g. a Bachelor degree or Diploma), you can package both courses and apply for one single visa to cover the whole duration of your studies.

When can I commence my studies/apply for my student visa?

Universities and TAFE usually have two intakes a year: February and July.

English schools have classes commencing every Monday and private colleges generally have four intakes a year – February, April, July and October. Additional intakes may be organised depending on the student’s circumstance.

If you are in Australia, you will need to be mindful of your current visa’s expiry date and start a course within a reasonable timeframe.

If you are offshore, you can find the Department’s processing times here. Generally we recommend applying for a student visa at least two months prior to the course commencement date. You must also allow 1 – 2 weeks for English and Tertiary studies or 4 – 6 weeks to finalise an enrolment for university.

Do I apply for my student visa or my course first?

International students are required to enrol into a course before they can apply for a student visa.

How do I know if my course is suitable for an international student?

In order to apply for a student visa, the education provider and course must be approved by and registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Colleges and universities must display a CRICOS code on their website and marketing material.

How much does it cost to study in Australia?

Tuition fees vary drastically depending on the course you study. An English language course can cost anywhere between $250 and $450 per week. A certificate or diploma level qualification can cost from $8,500 to $13,000 and a university degree is approximately $30,000 per year.

The total tuition fee depends largely on the level of the qualification, course duration and quality of the education provider. A deposit is required to receive a Confirmation of Enrolment and instalment plans can usually be arranged.

What is a Confirmation of Enrolment?

A Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) is issued by your chosen education provider, (university or college) and provides evidence that you have enrolled and made payment towards a course. It also shows the Australian Department of Home Affairs information such as the course start and end date, student details and health insurance arrangements.

Can I apply for a scholarship?

International students may be eligible for a scholarship depending on the course they study and the eligibility criteria. Some universities in Australia provide a scholarship of up to 20% discount off tuition fees.

Scholarships can be granted on the basis of merit, previous studies in Australia and country of passport, among others.

Can I change my course?

Yes, international students are able to change their course but they must be granted permission to do so. Students changing their qualification level, (e.g. dropping from a Bachelor degree to a Diploma) need to apply for a new student visa. Where a change in course or institution requires you to apply for a new student visa, it is likely that the Department of Home Affairs will want a very detailed explanation of your reasons for changing in order to make sure that you still meet the GTE requirements.

Can I change my institution?

If you wish to change education providers, you may need a letter of release. Students are required to complete at least 6 months of their primary course before requesting or advising of a change of institution.

You must ensure you meet your student visa conditions at all times.

If you are thinking of applying for a student visa and would like assistance with the enrolment and application process, contact our team today for a quick initial assessment and a quote.

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