Australia is a great place to study. It provides high-quality courses, a fantastic lifestyle and welcoming environment for international students. Once you have been accepted into your Australian course, the next step is to organise your student visa.
You will need a student visa for the whole time that you study in Australia. Before you apply for Australian courses, you should contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or your nearest Australian visa officeto find out whether you will be eligible for a student visa, how to make your application and what documents are required. There is a list of Australian visa offices you can find. In most cases, members of your family unit (a partner or a dependent child) may apply for a student visa to live with you in Australia while you study.
General and evidentiary visa requirements
There are various general and evidentiary requirements that student must meet in order to be eligible for a student visa. These include requirements relating to:
- Your health
- Your character
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
- Being free of depth to the Commonwealth of Australia
- Custody, accomodation, and general welfare arrangements for students under 18 years of age
- Your capacity to cover the cost of air fares, course tuition fees, and living cost for you and your family members for the duration of your stay in Australia (the minimum living cost requirements is AUD $18,610 per year)
- Your academic records and qualifications completed
- Your English language profiency
- Proving you are genuine temporary entrant
Applying for a student visa
Student visa are devided into subclasses depending on the type of study in which you have enrolled. You can apply for your student visa using either a letter of offer or a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your education provider. But you usually need to supply evidence of your CoE before your student visa is granted. Some students are able to apply online through the DIBP website, while others need to apply by post or in person at their designated Australian visa office. The applications process differs depending on your assessment level, which will be one of three levels depending on your country of origin and the type of study you intend to undertake (from ELICOS and secondary school through to post graduate research). The higher the assessment level (with level 1 being the lowest and level 3 being the highest), the greater the ammount of evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate in order to support their student visa applicant. You can check your assessment level at www.border.gov.au/trav/stud/stud.
Student visa applicants who lodge their application with CoE from participating university or eligible non-university provider for an advanced diploma, bachelor degree, master degree, doctor degree, student exchange program or study abroad program are eligible for streamlined visa processing. These applicants do not receive an assessment level and are processed in a streamlined manner with reduce evidentiary requirement regardless f their country of origin. For more information, see www.border.gov.au/stud/stre.
Help with your visa requirements
The best way to find out your specific visa requirements is to visit the DIBP website at www.border.gov.au/trav/stud. You can also contact an education agent, your nearest Australian visa office or the international office at your intended Australian institution for advice and help with your visa application.
Fees and charges
A non-refundable base application charge of AUD %550 applies to most visa applications. Applicants who are bringing eligible family members to live with them in Australia while their study should note that an additional applicant charge applies for each addition family member included in a combined visa application. This charge is added to the base application charge and varies according to the age of the additional applicant(s). in addition there may be other expenses associated with your visa application, such as cost for medical examinations, police checks and the translation of documents into English (if required).
Working in Australia
As a student visa holder, you automatically receive permission to work with your student visa grant. For more information, see www.border.gov.au/trav/stud/more/work-conditions-for-student-visa-holders.
International students and dependent family members are restricted to a maximum of 40 hours of work per fortnight while their course is in session but are allowed to work unlimited hours during vacation period. These exclude students completing master by research of doctoral degree, who have unrestricted work permission. Before startin work, you must obtain an Australian Tax File Number. Application information is available on the Australian Taxation Office Website at www.ato.gov.au
Working in Australian has a number of benefits for international students:
- Course – related work is an advantage in the graduate labour market.
- Casual and part-time work provides a useful income for student.
- Working gives you opportunities to practice your English language skills, meet new people and develop useful contact.
Your rights when working in Australia
Before commencing paid work in Australia, you should be aware of your rights and responsibilities as an employee. Here are some things to watch out for when working in Australia:
- Make sure you are being paid at or above the minimum rate of paid and that you are subject to the workplace conditions set for your area of employment or “award” by the Fair Work Commission (www.fwc.gov.au) . It is against the law to be paid by “cash in hand”.
- Think carefully about doing unpaid “trial” work. You should be paid for all the work you undertake (unless you are volunteering or doing work experience arranged through your education provider)
- Take your time to read through your employment contract before you sign it.