STUDENT VISAS

Student Visas are designed to allow people from other countries to come to Australia and study. “Study” can include primary or secondary students coming to Australia to study full-time, exchangestudents studying under an exchange program or higher education students studying diploma level courses all the way up to post-graduate doctoral degree courses.  

Student Visas are broken up into two primary types, or subclasses, the Student Visa (Subclass 500) is intended for the person that is undertaking a course of study in Australia. A de facto partner, husband/wife or child can also receive a visa if they are coming to Australia while their family member undertakes a course of study. The Student Guardian Visa (Subclass 590) is for parents, custodians or relatives of a young Student Visa holder and is for the purpose of providing care and support to young overseas students.  

Genuine temporary entrant (GTE)  

Applicants must demonstrate that they are only coming to Australia on a temporary basis to study and they intend to leave the country once the course is completed. The Department of Home Affairs will assess this criterion carefully and look at all the applicant’s circumstances. Some key items that the Department will assess include: 

  • the applicant’s reasons for studying in Australia compared to their home country;  
  • the ties they have to Australia that represent a strong incentive to stay;  
  • the value of the proposed course of study to the applicant’s future employment;  
  • the applicant’s previous immigration history, including Australian visa history and applications to other countries; and 
  • the ties they have to their home country that would compel them to return (for example close family, spouse, children and ownership of property).  

This criterion does not prevent students from completing studies in Australia and then progressing to permanent residency and citizenship. Evidence to meet this criterion usually takes the form of a detailed submission with accompanying evidence.  

Age  

Primary and secondary school children must be a certain age to study in Australia. For example, primary school students must be at least six years old to apply to study under a Student Visa and Year 12 students must be less than 20 years old.  

Successfully enrol in a course of study 

Applicants must demonstrate that they have enrolled in a valid course of study. A valid course may include full-time primary or secondary school courses, diploma level, graduate certificate level or doctorate level higher education courses. Applicants must also have contacted an education provider, been accepted into a course of study and provide evidence of the acceptance. A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is a common document used to evidence enrolment.  

Welfare arrangements (if under 18) 

Applicants that are under the age of 18 must demonstrate that they have adequate welfare arrangements in place to care for them during study and until they turn 18. Examples of adequate welfare arrangements include formally nominating a parent, legal custodian or relative as a student guardian (as long as they meet their criteria) or making adequate arrangements with the education provider.   

Evidence of English language ability 

Applicants are required to meet certain English language requirements, for example by providing evidence that they have achieved minimum scores of 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test taken in the previous two years. The Department of Home Affairs may request this information for any application, however in some circumstances, they may not request evidence of English language ability at all. There are also circumstances in which lower English language scores may be provided (such as if a student is studying an English language course) or where applicants will be exempt from providing this evidence (for example, where an applicant is registered to study an English language intensive course that will be delivered in another language).  

Health Insurance 

Applicants will need to have adequate health insurance coverage from the time they plan to arrive in Australia to the end of their visa. Family members that are travelling with the applicant will also need to have adequate health insurance. Health insurance is considered adequate if it is from an approved Australian health provider. Applicants will need to provide evidence of adequate coverage, for example, a certificate of insurance from a valid provider. There are some exceptions to the requirement to provide evidence of adequate health insurance, for example, if the applicant is from Belgium and covered by a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.  

Visa history 

An applicant may be unable to apply for a Student Visa due to their visa history. For example if they are in Australia and hold a specific visa, such as a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) in the Sponsored Family Stream, or if they left Australia after a previous visa had expired.  

Other requirements 

Applicants must meet Australian security requirements, debt requirements and health requirements. This means they generally have to provide police clearance certificates from each country they have lived in for a long period (to show they have no serious criminal history) and undertake health examinations to ensure they do not have any illness that would negatively impact Australia.   

Applicants may also face complications where they have previously had a visa cancelled, have had a visa expire while in Australia (been unlawful) or previously provided false and misleading information in relation to an application for a visa, amongst other things.  

Evidence of financial capacity  

Applicants must demonstrate they have sufficient funds to meet the costs of the Student Visa including travel expenses, living costs and expenses and course fees. The amount of funds required will depend on the circumstances, for example if the applicant is studying in Australia for 12 months or more, they must demonstrate they have $21,041 Australian Dollars to meet annual living costs. These costs are increased where a husband/wife, de facto partner or child will be accompanying the applicant.  

There are a number of ways to demonstrate sufficient financial capacity including evidence of money in the bank, loans with financial institutions or official Government documentation showing personal income of a parent or husband/wife meets a certain threshold. Note, depending on your circumstances (such as country of passport) the Department of Home Affairs does not always required evidence of financial capacity. The Department may, however, request this information at any time before deciding your application.  

Genuine temporary entrant (GTE)  

Applicants must demonstrate that they are only coming to Australia on a temporary basis to facilitate study by the Student Visa applicant and they intend to leave the country once the course is completed. The Department of Home Affairs will assess this criterion carefully and look at all the applicant’s circumstances. Some key items that the Department will assess include: 

  • the ties they have to Australia that represent a strong incentive to stay;  
  • the applicant’s previous immigration history, including Australian visa history and applications to other countries; and 
  • the ties they have to their home country that would compel them to return (for example close family and ownership of property).  

Evidence to meet this criterion usually takes the form of a detailed submission with accompanying evidence.  

Is a parent, custodian or relative of the Student Visa applicant 

The applicant for a Student Guardian Visa is considered a relative of the Student Visa applicant if they are a parent, step-parent, grandparent or step-grandparent, niece, aunt or uncle amongst other things of the Student Visa applicant.  

Hold a certain visa 

Applicants cannot apply for a Student Guardian Visa in Australia if they hold certain visas such as a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) in the Sponsored Family Stream.  

Other requirements 

Applicants must meet Australian security requirements, debt requirements and health requirements. This means they generally have to provide police clearance certificates from each country they have lived in for a long period (to show they have no serious criminal history) and undertake health examinations to ensure they do not have any illnesses that would negatively impact Australia.   

Applicants may also face complications where they have previously had a visa cancelled, have had a visa expire while in Australia (been unlawful) or previously provided false and misleading information in relation to an application for a visa, amongst other things.  

Accompanying children must be over six years old 

Generally, any accompanying child must be over six years old unless specific circumstances are met, such as compelling and compassionate circumstances.   

Welfare arrangements for overseas family members 

Applicants must demonstrate that there are adequate arrangements for accommodation, support and welfare in relation to any family member that is not coming to Australia and is under 18 years of age. This criterion will be met where children are left with another parent, amongst other circumstances.  

Adequate health insurance 

Applicants will need to have adequate health insurance coverage from the time they plan to arrive in Australia to the end of their visa. Family members that are travelling with the applicant will also need to have adequate health insurance. Health insurance is considered adequate if it is from an approved Australian health provider. Applicants will need to provide evidence of adequate coverage, for example, a certificate of insurance from a valid provider. There are some exceptions to the requirement to provide evidence of adequate health insurance, for example, if the applicant is from Belgium and covered by a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.  

Providing for the student 

An applicant for a Student Guardian Visa must demonstrate that they can provide accommodation, general welfare and support to the Student Visa applicant. They must also show that they have adequate access to finances to meet the costs and expenses for themselves, any accompanying family members and the Student Visa applicant.  

The amount of funds required will depend on the circumstances, for example if the Student Guardian intends to stay in Australia for 12 months or more, they must demonstrate they have $21,041 Australian Dollars to meet annual living costs. These costs are increased where a husband/wife, de facto partner or child will be accompanying the applicant. The Student Guardian applicant must also demonstrate they can meet the costs of the Student Visa applicant including travel expenses, living costs and course costs.  

There are a number of ways to demonstrate sufficient financial capacity including evidence of money in the bank, loans with financial institutions or official Government documentation showing personal income of a parent or husband/wife meets a certain threshold. Note, depending on your circumstances (such as country of passport) the Department of Home Affairs does not always required evidence of financial capacity. The Department may, however, request this information at any time before deciding your application.  

Yes. A husband/wife, de facto partner, dependent child or stepchild of the visa applicant may apply for a Student Visa alongside the person that is studying. A family member may even apply after the Student Visa is granted in some circumstances.  

A few of the common mistakes that we see with these visas include:  

  • Insufficient research and supporting documentation provided in genuine temporary entrant statements;  
  • A lack of understanding about the financial requirements leading to the submission of insufficient evidence; 
  • Not discussing pathways and eligibility with sufficient time before the expiry of a current visa;  
  • Not understanding the conditions placed on the visa for the primary applicant and accompanying family members; and  
  • Selecting courses which do not make sense in the context of an applicant’s circumstances and future migration pathways.  

n application for this visa usually includes the following costs:  

  • $620 visa application charge;  
  • $460 for additional family members over 18;  
  • $150 for additional family members under 18;  
  • $620 for an additional family member if they apply after the Student Visa application is granted;  
  • English language test (about $340);
  • Health checks (about $250 for minimum required checks); 
  • Police checks (about $45 in Australia, but overseas checks can vary significantly); 
  • Health insurance; and  
  • Costs to cover course fess and travel and living expenses.  

The total costs will depend on the circumstances, including the number of family members, course selected, the number of people included in the application and other circumstances.  

Note: the costs above are in Australian Dollars.

The processing times for these visa depend on the study sector, for example:  

  • For higher education sector applications, processing times are about 40 to 54 days;  
  • For English language intensive courses for overseas students (ELICOS), processing times are between 27 to 42 days; and  
  • For vocational education and training sector applications, processing times are about 45 to 73 days.  

These processing times are averages only and individual cases can be processed in longer or shorter periods.  

The Student Visa can last up to five years, depending on the course / package of courses that will be studied. The length of a Student Guardian Visa will depend on the length of the Student Visa holder’s course. 

Student Visas present a valuable opportunity to obtain a firstclass education, but they can also be one of the first few steps in a longerterm pathway to permanent residency. When planned correctly, Student Visas can link with:  

  • Temporary Graduate Visas (Subclass 485);  
  • Skilled Independent Visas (Subclass 189);  
  • Skilled Nominated Visas (Subclass 190);  
  • Training Visas (Subclass 407);  
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visas (Subclass 491); and 
  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visas (Subclass 482) (particularly under the Labour Agreement Streams involving Designated Area Migration Agreements for semi-skilled workers).  

Many different long-term pathways can be linked with a Student Visa as long as care is taken and long-term plans are made as early as possible.  

We can assist you to obtain your Student Visa as part of your pathway to Permanent Residency and Citizenship by:

  • Reviewing your circumstances and providing you with detailed advice about your eligibility for a Student Visa or Student Guardian Visa; 
  • Discuss any complications with your case, highlighting any risks and strategies that can be used to overcome these risks;  
  • Provide detailed document checklists so that you provide the best evidence to support your application;  
  • Draft all required forms on your behalf and assist you to draft detailed submission and provide compelling supporting evidence;  
  • Provide a detailed plan to meet your long-term migration goals, all the way to Permanent Residency and Citizenship; and 
  • Assist you from preparing the visa, all the way to a decision being made on your application so that if any complications arise, we are there to help.  

If you are interested in obtaining assistance with your migration matters, the first step is to book a consultation using the link below.

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Applying for a visa can be confusing but we are here to help. Now that you have a basic understanding of how this visa works, book in a consultation so that we can discuss how we can help you start your new life in Australia. 






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