As a popular destination of international students, Australia merged several student visa subclasses into one. With the simplified structure, apply for a Subclass 500 Visa if you want to study full-time in an education institution.
We're glad you're considering Australia as an education destination! Was it the fact that there are 22,000 duly registered courses offered in 1,100 institutions? Or was it because 5 Australian cities ranked in the top 30 of the QS Best Student Cities 2016? Or was it perhaps because in the University System Ranking, Australia ranked 9th in the world, ahead of Germany, New Zealand and Japan?
Whatever your reason for studying in Australia is, you'll be happy to know that the application procedure has never been as simple as it is now.
By consolidating various subclasses of visas for international students into one (Subclass 500), the government of Australia has made it easier for people to study in the country. While protocol may have been modified, the general procedure has remained the same and there are three main requirements for international students:
What is Considered a "Full Time Program" of Study
As an international student, you must maintain full time enrolment. You will be considered in breach of your student visa conditions if you don't.
There may be some extenuating circumstances and you will be permitted to enroll with a reduced study load but requests will have to be approved for every semester. And you should be careful in applying to take fewer academic subjects. If you do not complete your course within the expected course or visa duration, you may have to apply for another student visa.
In addition to enrolling in a full-time study program, you must maintain satisfactory course progress for each study period for the duration of the course (Visa condition 8202). Your academic status will be determined at the end of each semester. If your status is Terminated, this will be taken as not achieving satisfactory course progress and your case will be reported to DIBP for breach of student visa conditions. This can lead to visa cancellation.
Validity of the visa
A student visa may be granted for up to five years, but it could be longer or shorter under some circumstances. It may be shorter for primary school-aged students with a maximum visa validity of two years. The visa grant could be longer if:
To help you plan what you may do post-course completion, just use the following guidelines:
Visa Application Fee
As of January 1 2018, the visa application fees for student visa applicants (in Australian Dollars) for Subclass 500 is as follows:
|Base application charge||From $560|
|Additional applicant charge 18 and over||$420|
|Additional applicant charge under 18||$140|
You must be enrolled in a course of study that is CRICOS-registered. From the image above, you can see that you will be needing an Overseas Student Confirmation of Enrollment for each intended course of study with your visa application. You may not need the confirmation though if you are:
Your accompanying family members aged 18 years or older can study in Australia for up to three months. If they want to study for more than three months, they must apply for their own student visa.
You can apply to enrol and complete two or more courses on your Student visa (subclass 500) where there is clear progression from one course to another, known as course packaging.
The final course that you will take as part of your package of courses is your main (or principal) course of study. Regardless of how many courses there are in your enrolment package, the main course of study determines your financial and English language evidentiary requirements. In addition, you must be enrolled in all of the courses.
Genuine Temporary Entrant Criteria
To ensure that applicants for a student intend to study, continue to maintain their lawful status in Australia by adhering to the conditions of their visa, the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection (or DIBP) set some eligibility requirements for applicants to meet.
These conditions were also developed to further assess the applicants' genuine intention to study and not:
The Genuine Temporary Entrant (or GTE) criterion is used to validly rule out the risks to immigration law of student visa holders. It was not designed to exclude students who may develop skills needed in Australia post-course completion and eventually apply for skilled immigration.
As such, the GTE requirement applies to all applicants for a student visa and is the main consideration by a DIBP Officer for evaluating whether an applicant intends to live temporarily in Australia.
To ensure that you are a GTE, a Visa Officer will consider the following factors:
And remember in Australia, the course/study program you enroll in and work opportunities are directly linked. This is important because some programs offer direct pathways to onshore (in Australia) skilled visa options.
Students must have adequate health insurance while in Australia. This can be shown by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance. You should remember the policy number since this information must be included in the visa application,
Where the education provider arranges for OSHC coverage, the student will need to know the name of your health insurance provider, the date that the policy starts and finishes and should be aware of the terms and conditions of that health insurance policy.
The current approved OSHC providers are:
Health and Character Checks
As part of the visa application process, applicants over the age of 16 need to submit to health examinations and character checks (NBI clearance as well as police clearance from the country or countries where the applicant has lived or resided for at least one (1) year in the last 10 years.
The certificate must cover the period of time from the issue date back to the age the applicant is considered an adult, or must cover the whole time the applicant was in a country or countries. For immigration purposes a police certificate is deemed to be valid for 12 months from the issue date.
You will be notified If a medical and/or x-ray examination is required. When you receive that, you will have to make arrangements with a panel doctor of your choice. A panel doctor is a doctor or a radiologist who has been approved by the Australian Government as a member of the panel to perform medical examinations on visa applicants who have applied from outside Australia.
Because the health assessment process can take several weeks to complete it is recommended that the applicant choose to have the health examination with designated and authorized panel of physicians prior to lodging your visa application.