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Australian Student Visas – A Quick Guide

Our clients often ask us to clarify and explain how the recent changes to the student visa program affect them and their families.  So today, we decided to give a quick overview of the new subclass 500 Study Visa.

We will be continuing a series of posts to help those people understand the requirments of and obligations on international students in Australia.

Significant changes to the student visa program

On 1 July 2016, the Australian government introduced significant changes to the student visa program.  A new visa framework was introduced to replace the previous seven student visa subclasses to a single subclass, the subclass 500 Study Visa.

Students who were already granted one of the previous student visas must continue to comply with any conditions attached to their current visa.

Why would someone want a visa to study in Australia?

Obtaining an Australian student visa can provide you with many benefits. Besides the valuable knowledge from Australian Education Institutions and improving your English Language Proficiency, you have the right to work legally in Australia.

Applying for Student Visa may also act as a prospective approach to get temporary or permanent residency in Australia.

Advantages of applying for student visa

A Student Visa in Australia can be an extension of your education in one of the most quality education systems in the world. A student visa can be extended multiple times until the end of your course or studies. Through the acquired knowledge and skills during your education in Australia, you can apply for permanent residency qualifying through the Australian Permanent Residency point system.That way Australia is attracting highly qualified and experienced experts.

A Student Visa allow unlimited number of entries and departures from Australia while the visa is valid. Since the duration of the educational training in Australia is shorter than many programs in other countries, you can save a substantial amount of time and costs associated with it.

General Requirements and criteria for the subclass 500 Study Visa

General requirements you must meet include that:

  • You must be accepted into full-time study.
  • You must be a genuine temporary entrant.
  • You must be of good character.
  • You must be of sound health.
  • You must have acceptable Australian Health Insurance to cover you for the duration of your visa.
  • You must not have any outstanding debts to Australia or any of the Commonwealth Countries, or have made arrangements to repay such debts.
  • If you’re under 18 years of age, acceptable arrangements for your accommodation, support and general welfare.

Study visa applicants may also be requested to provide evidence that they can meet specified financial criteria.  They may also need to demonstrate that they have appropriate English language skills.  Both of these will be determined by the course/s that the student is enrolled in and their country of citizenship.

Student Visa Conditions

All Australian student visas have conditions attached to them.  These visa conditions are normally written as numbers on the decision notice that is given to the student when their visa is granted.  There is also an explanation in the decision notice to inform the student what each of the conditions mean.

The most common Student Visa Conditions and Restrictions are:

  • Restriction not to work until the course has commenced or work permit is granted.
  • Once work permit is obtained, only 40 hours a fortnight are permitted during semesters.
  • Course Requirements & Attendance must be satisfied.
  • The education provider must not be changed for the first 12 months.
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) must be maintained during studies.
  • Change of address must be given to the education provider within 7 days.

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