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Studying in Australia, 2019

How to meet the requirements of the Australian government and be issued a student visa - including the most recent changes for 2019.

Crispin Aranda

Studying in Australia, 2019

Studying in Australia 2019

Australia is a popular study destination with students from around the world – including 6,022 Filipinos in 2018 -  who intend to have a top-quality education that meets global standards.

In 2017, 799,371 international students were enrolled in education programs in Australia. Of these, there were 350,472 international students enrolled in the higher education sector.

The information in this article was sourced from the Australian Government's Department of Education and Training 2017 international student enrolment data,

Which education sectors are international students studying in? 

Sector

International student
enrolments 2017

Higher education

350,472

VET

217,696

ELICOS

155,448

Schools

25,762

Non-award

49,993

Total in Australia

799,371

Which states and territories are international students studying in?

New South Wales and Victoria attract the largest numbers of international students. The other states and territories have smaller numbers of international students and smaller numbers of students overall.

State/territory

International student
enrolments 2017

NSW

304,545

VIC

253,076

QLD

123,737

WA

53,897

SA

35,821

ACT

16,910

TAS

8,889

NT

2,495

Where are Australia's international students from?

The following table shows the international student enrolments for the top 10 nationalities in 2017, which made up approximately 70 per cent of Australia's enrolments in all sectors. The largest number of enrolments in the higher education sector were from China, India and Nepal; the largest in the VET sector were from India, China and the Republic of Korea; the largest in the ELICOS sector were from China, Brazil and Japan; and the largest in the schools sector were from China, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea.

Nationality

International student
enrolments 2017

China

231,191

India

87,615

Brazil

36,496

Nepal

35,423

Malaysia

32,899

Republic of Korea

31,112

Thailand

30,730

Vietnam

30,536

Colombia

21,628

Indonesia

20,028

 

All nationalities

 

799,371

 

Philippine Students in Australia

                 

 

 

Data

Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sum of DATA YTD Enrolments

 

Sum of DATA YTD Commencements

 

 

Sector

2016

2017

2018

2019

2016

2017

2018

2019

Higher Education

6,830

6,812

6,558

2,582

1,816

1,484

1,540

102

 

VET

8,001

8,129

9,326

5,757

3,243

3,161

3,972

1,249

 

Schools

187

196

186

81

79

58

66

21

 

ELICOS

532

488

479

135

378

328

309

45

 

Non-award

165

188

179

63

103

134

135

32

 

Grand Total

Philippines

15,715

15,813

16,728

8,618

5,619

5,165

6,022

1,449

 

                                   

All nationalities grand total for enrolment in 2016 was 974,380; increasing in the next two years 1,113,007 in 2017 and 1,234,659 in 2018.

It should be noted that the annual or year to date commencements (those who completed courses are much lower: 377,382 in 2016; 425,955 (2017); 446,963 in 2018 and 46,028 so far this year (2019).

The same trend (lower commencement numbers than enrolment) is illustrated in student visa figures for the Philippines.

Changes in Criteria for Issuing Student Visas

1.  Age. Nothing has changed for this criterion, i.e., those intend to be a school student (but not participating in a secondary school student exchange program), must be aged 6 or older to apply for this visa.

For the four-year period (2016=2019) there were less than 200 Filipino students of school age. The number of those who completed in 2019 was even smaller- just over 35%. Most Filipino students took up Vocational and Education Training Courses (VET), followed by Higher Education.

2.  Evidence of enrollment.

     a)  Be enrolled in a course of study and provide evidence

Prior to applying for a student visa, the applicant must have been enrolled in a program that should be seen by the assessing visa officer as a logical, viable and approvable academic program.  Evidence of enrolment in the proposed study must accompany the application or the application would not be considered valid and therefore cannot be processed.

     b)  Provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). The CoE is the official evidence of enrollment in a full-time course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

The CoE may be for 1 or more courses. Where one course leads to the other, the course gap must be less than two calendar months unless the course finishes at the end of the standard academic year (SAY) and the next course starts at the beginning of the same SAY.

     c)  Other evidence of enrolment 

In some cases, a CoE may not be needed if the student is:

  • enrolled in a full-time course of study or training under a scholarship scheme approved by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade: In this situation a letter of support is required.
  • sponsored by the Australian Department of Defense: (a letter of support is also needed)
  • secondary exchange student: provide an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form
  • a postgraduate research student who needs to stay in Australia while your thesis is marked: a letter from your education provider must accompany the application.

3.  Funds available for duration of study and stay in Australia

The amount of money needed as evidence of ability to pay for stay in Australia has increased for 2019 from $19,830 to $20,290.  A student applicant with an accompanying Partner or Spouse must have an additional $7,100 (up from $6,940). An additional child will require $3,040 (up from $2,970).

4.  Meet English language requirements

Evidence of student visa applicant’s English language skills is usually required both by the educational institution and the Department of Home Affairs.  The minimum score required by DHA is shown below  

On the other hand, the required English test scores would vary based on the academic course and educational provider.

While there are other options to demonstrate English proficiency, Filipino applicants should take the IELTS/English languages tests approved by the DHA.

English language tests

The table below shows the English language test providers and the minimum scores an Australian student visa applicant must achieve to meet the Student visa English language requirement. 
 

You must have taken the English language test in the 2 years before you apply for a student visa.
 

 

 

 

English language test providers

 

 

Minimum score

Minimum score and at least 10 weeks English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

 

Minimum score and at least 20 weeks ELICOS

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

5.5

5

4.5

TOEFL internet-based test

46

35

32

Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English)

162

154

147

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

42

36

30

Occupational English Test

B for each test component

N/A

N/A


5.  Have adequate health insurance

The student visa applicant and accompanying family members must have and maintain adequate health insurance “from the day of arrival in Australia and for the length of the whole stay as a student in Australia.

Coverage under Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) must be from an approved Australian health insurance provider. The student applicant may obtain the OSHC or decide with the educational provider for the OSHC coverage.

Exceptions. The following applicants need not have OSHC:

  • a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
  • A Swedish student covered by Kammarkollegiet
  • Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia
  1. Certain visa holders not eligible to apply for student visa in Australia
  • Domestic Worker (Temporary) Diplomatic and Consular visa (subclass 426)
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) in the Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or consular) stream
  • Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) – primary visa holder only. A family member of a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) can apply for a Student visa in Australia
  • Transit visa (subclass 771)
  • Visitor visa (subclass 600) in the Sponsored Family stream or in the Approved Destination Status stream

6.  Be a genuine temporary entrant

A student visa allows the be in Australia temporarily – for the duration of the student’s authorized period of stay.  The Department of Home Affairs therefore would like to be certain that the student  genuinely intends to stay in Australia temporarily. 

In essence you must meet the  genuine temporary entrant (GTE) criteria i.e.,  the intention to return home after studying in Australia.  Significant weight is given to the applicant’s previous immigration history (in Australia and other countries)and overall – the value of the academic program chosen to the applicant’s future.

In particular, the student visa applicant must submit a personal statement to meet this GTE requirement. The Australian visa officer then determines whether the student visa will be issued based om the  applicant’s personal circumstances and the following factors:

  1. Previous study
  2. Gap in previous study
  3. Current employment
  4. Ties to home country or country of residence
  5. Economic situations in home country or country of residence

In addition, the Australian Visa Officer evaluates the GTE statement based on the applicant’s actual situation in the home country and potential situation in Australia:

The factors considered in the applicant’s home country:

  1. Reason for not studying in the applicant’s home country or region if a similar course is available there
  2. Applicant’s ties to home country that support an intention to return after study is finished
  3. Economic situation
  4. Military service commitments
  5. Political and civil unrest in your home country

Potential situation in Australia

  1. Ties to Australia that present a strong incentive to stay in Australia
  2. Level of knowledge of the proposed course and education provider
  3. Previous study and qualifications
  4. Planned living arrangements
  5. Financial stability
  6.  

7.  Meet the character requirement.

In general, the student visa applicant’s general behavior is considered specifically that the applicant has “no substantial criminal record” which refers to the length of a sentence imposed by a court of law.

Therefore, for Filipino student visa applicants, an NBI Clearance and police certificates from any country that the applicant has stayed or resided in for a specified, extended period of time.

8.  Meet the health requirement

Applicants must submit to and present a required medical exam – from a designated panel physician outside Australia at an approved clinic, hospital or facility - to show that he/she does not have a significant medical condition that could (a)  threaten public health; (b) result in significant healthcare and community service costs; and (c) place a demand on healthcare or community services that are in short supply.

9.  Sign the Australian values statement

The student visa applicant must not only be qualified and eligible to be issued a student visa. He/she must also read and confirm full understanding of the Life in Australia booklet as explained to him/her and subsequently, submit a signed statement to respect the Australian way of life and obey Australian laws.

10.  Have paid back any and all debt to the Australian Government

Any and all financial obligations that the student visa applicant or any family members (including those who are not applying for the visa) owe the Australian government money, must have paid back or arrangements have been made to pay back the debt.

11.  Not have  had a visa cancelled or a previous application refused

Australian visa that had been issued but subsequently cancelled could affect the student visa applicant’s eligibility.  In addition, any visa application refused while in Australia shall also have negative effects on the current student visa application.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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