Student Visas allow international students to travel to Australia to undertake a full-time course of study.
Country and Education Provider Risk Model
For student visa applicants, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has a risk rating that it assigns to an applicant given:
1. their country of passport; and
2. the Australian education provider they choose to enroll in.
Depending on the combination of these two factors you will either need to meet:
1. Regular Evidentiary Requirements: in which case you will need to provide evidence of English language ability and financial capacity;
2. Streamlined Evidentiary Requirements: in which case you generally will not need to provide evidence of English language ability or financial capacity.
To be granted a Student visa, you must:
1. be enrolled in a course that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students(CRICOS). There are some very limited exemptions to this requirement;
2. provide the DIBP with a valid Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) (or Letter of Offer if you are in Australia);
3. satisfy the DIBP that you are a “Genuine Temporary Entrant”. The case officer who assesses your case needs to be satisfied that your intention is to stay in Australia temporarily to study and you are not using the student visa programme to maintain ongoing residence in Australia. There are various factors the case office weights up when making this assessment, which we will inform you of in our first meeting with you. It is vital that this requirement is addressed fully in your application as it is the most common reason that student visas are refused;
4. have adequate health insurance in place for the duration of your stay in Australia (including time spent in Australia after the end of your course to attend graduation). Students can show this by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance;
5. if you are subject to Regular Evidentiary Requirements, provide evidence of your English Language Ability. This is usually evidenced by achieving a score of 5.5 overall or more on the IELTS test. If you are completing ELICOS (English language) studies as part of a packaged course, you only need a score of 4.5-5.0 overall depending on how many weeks of English language study you will undertake. There are various exemptions to the English language requirement, such as if you hold a passport from certain countries, if you have previously studied in English overseas, if you have done certain courses recently in Australia, or if you are enrolled in secondary school or below in Australia;
6. if you are subject to Regular Evidentiary Requirements, provide evidence that you have genuine access to sufficient funds to undertake your studies in Australia and pay for your cost of living. This could be evidenced by:
7. funds in your name or the name of a eligible relative (e.g. bank statement, evidence of a loan) to pay for your course fees, cost of living and some ancillary costs for the first 12 months of your stay in Australia; or
8. the taxable income of your parents or spouse for the last 12 months – their taxable income must be at least AUD60 000 if you are the sole applicant, and AUD70 000 if there are dependent applicants included in your application.
9. if you are lodging your student visa in Australia, hold a “pre-qualifying visa”, which includes most temporary visas besides a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa.
You can apply to undertake two or more courses in Australia if there is an obvious progression from course to course. For example, some students wish to study English first before they move on to their main course of study.
Students under the aged of 18 need to have welfare arrangements in place whilst they are in Australia, be it by nominating relative in Australia over the age of 21 to provide welfare to them, or by being accompanied by a Student Guardian (see Student Guardian Visa).
Working on a Student Visa
All student visa holders are subject to a work restriction that allows them to only work up to 40 hours per fortnight, though they can work unlimited hours during periods of time that the course is not in session.
Where you can lodge an application
You can lodge the visa either inside or outside of Australia.
If you lodge the application in Australia, you will be granted a Bridging Visa which will allow you to stay in Australia until the visa is processed. You must be in Australia for your student visa to be granted.
If you lodge your application whilst overseas, you must be overseas for the visa to be granted.
Pathway to Permanent Residence
You should contact us early when considering lodging a Student Visa application. If you are looking for a pathway to permanent residence, we can advise you of the sort of courses you may want to consider studying so that in the future you may be eligible to apply for skilled migration or a work based visa.
Our experienced immigration lawyers have handled many successful Student Visa applications. We will ensure your application is given the best prospects of success.
We offer all our prospective clients an initial meeting, during which we will thoroughly explain the law surrounding this visa to you and inform you of the process moving forward.
To organize a initial consultation with us, please contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers on (02) 9590 3987.