Many people dream about studying abroad in Australia, but in order to make the dream a reality, you need to secure your student visa. Student visas are issued to those who wish to undertake a course of formal study in a country in which they are not otherwise legal residents.
In Australia, people who wish to undertake a course of less than three months’ duration may study while holding a tourist visa. For studies greater than three months, there are several visa subclasses. These student visas are only available to students who wish to undertake a registered course on a full time basis and, as such, are not available for part time students or for people who pursue their coursework online. A registered course is an education or training course offered by an Australian education provider who is registered with the Australian government and entitled to offer courses to overseas students. The specific visa subclass for which you must apply (and under which your application will be assessed) is determined by your main course of study.
If you intend to study in Australia for more than three months you will need to apply for a student visa. While the specific student visa you need depends on your chosen course of study, the key requirements for all student visas are as follows:
Issued an electronic Confirmation of Enrollment (eCoE) certificate.
You cannot apply for an Australian student visa until after you have received an eCoE from the school at which you intend to study. Also, in order to get an eCoE, you must have received a formal offer of admission by the university, accepted it in writing, and paid the required tuition deposit.
Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement.
The GTE requirement mandates that visa applicants must be able to demonstrate a genuine intention to only temporarily 1) study in Australia or 2) accompany a student as a dependent or as a guardian. To ensure that visa-holders do not overstay their visas, several factors may be considered when determining if the GTE requirement has been met and applicants may need to fill out a visa application form. Others may be asked to attend an interview at their nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
Sufficient funds for airfares, course fees and living costs.
Student visa applications must prove that they have the financial means to support themselves while studying in Australia. As of 2018, this could be demonstrated by 1) possessing AUD$20,290 in order to cover the cost of their tuition, travel, and living expenses or 2) showing evidence that their spouse or parents are willing to support them and that this third party has the funds necessary to do so.
English language proficiency.
Applicants from non-English-speaking countries (and who have not already completed at least five years of study in an English-speaking country) will need to prove they can speak English at a high enough proficiency to pursue their course of study in Australia. Several tests of English proficiency are accepted, but the minimum accepted qualifications vary based on the intended program of study.
Meet character and health requirements.
The Australian student visa requirements stipulate that applicants must be of good character in order to study in Australia. For this reason, all applicants are asked to submit a criminal background record check that demonstrates that they do not have a substantial criminal record and additionally, they must complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form. At the same time, students from some nations, or pursuing a particular course of study, may be asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show that they’re in good health. If this applies, applicants must be examined by a physician who has been approved by the Australian authorities.
Acceptable Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
All international students and their dependents must purchase Overseas Student Health coverage, or OSHC, for the entire duration of their stay in the country. To learn more about OSHC, or for more information about supplementary insurance while studying in Australia, check out our page on Health Insurance in Australia.
To be eligible to work in Australia, you will need to apply for a visa with “permission to work” after you commence study. This visa has an additional cost of roughly $55 AUD. If you are granted permission, there will be restrictions on the number of hours you are allowed to work in a week. As an international student, you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the term and unlimited hours during periods of vacation.