Am I Eligible for a Student Visa? Key Requirements
At the start of the year, many potential international students are wondering whether they will be eligible to apply for an Australian Student Visa (Subclass 500). Student Visas have a number of key requirements. However, two of the key requirements are 1) the “genuine temporary entrant” requirement; and 2) the “genuine access to funds” requirement.
Genuine Temporary Entrant
For a case officer to grant your Student Visa they must be satisfied that you are a genuine student. Case officers will be looking for evidence which shows that you are coming to Australia to study temporarily and will then leave. There is a detailed document called a Ministerial Direction which sets out many of the considerations that will be taken into account in deciding if you meet this criterion.
In summary, the case officer will be considering things like:
- Your circumstances in your home country and what reasons you have to return.
- Your potential circumstances in Australia and what ties you have to Australia (such as family already living there).
- How the course is valuable to you, why it is worth the investment and how it will help you obtain employment.
- Your immigration history and whether this suggests you will comply with your Student Visa conditions or not.
- Any other relevant matters – the Ministerial Direction is a guide only and the case officer can take into account many different matters.
As an example, you may wish to provide the following kinds of evidence to support an argument of how you meet this criterion:
- Evidence of family, friends and property you have in your home country that would encourage you to return.
- Research supporting the argument that the particular Australian course you have selected will increase your employment prospects in your home country.
- Evidence of the places you have travelled and how you have followed all conditions on previous Visas.
While case officers must refer to the Ministerial Direction in making decisions, it is not a checklist. They will look at all of your circumstances and weigh up whether they think you meet this criterion or not. We are commonly asked whether you can apply for a Student Visa but then later pursue a Permanent Residency pathway in Australia. Department policy currently states that someone can originally apply for a Student Visa as a genuine temporary student but this intention may “change over time to an intention to remain in Australia for an extended period or permanently.” Therefore it is possible.
Genuine Access to Funds
Case officers must also be satisfied that you have enough funds to support yourself while you are on the Student Visa. There is a Legislative Instrument which outlines the requirements for this criterion. You must be able to show that you have enough funds to meet expenses such as:
- The cost of travel to Australia and back to your home country.
- Annual living costs (currently estimated at AUD21,041).
- Course fees for 12 months.
- If relevant, travel and living costs for any accompanying spouse, de facto partner or children.
- If relevant, school fees for accompanying school aged children,.
Access to these funds can be demonstrated in a number of ways. For example recent official Government documentation showing personal income of a parent, spouse or de facto partner, money in a bank, loans or scholarships.
How We Can Help
Student Visas can be a great pathway to Australia. Depending on what you study, you may be able to build a pathway to Permanent Residency by linking with Graduate Visas and then Employer Sponsored or General Skilled Visas. However, meeting the Student Visa requirements can be difficult as the genuine temporary entrant criterion is subjective. The case officer will be considering the strength of your arguments and evidence, rather than ticking off some easy criterion like your age. In these circumstances, it can help to have someone with experience to guide you to make the proper statements and provide compelling evidence. Book a consultation today to sit down with an experienced professional and get started.