If you want to study in Australia it is important to be well-informed in order to choose the right visa and course program. Studying in Australia is a good way to get your foot in the door of the local market. Here you find all the information you need to study in Australia.
Which Visa Options to study in Australia?
If you want to study in Australia, you have 3 visa options:
- A Visitor/ Tourist Visa allows you to study for a maximum period of three months (choice of courses: full time, part time …)
- A Working Holiday Visa allows you to study for a maximum of four months (choice of courses: full time, part time …)
- The Student Visa is what you need if the two previous options do not suit you. This visa allows you to study the course of your choice for as long as you wish. It also gives you the right to work during your studies.
Student Visa (subclass 500)
Prior July 2016, the Student Visa was divided into several “Subclasses” (subclass 570, 571, Vocational Education and Training, subclass 572, Higher Education, subclass 573 etc.). Since 2016, applications are more simple as you can only apply to a Student Visa Subclass 500 (and some others that we will discuss below).
It allows you to study:
- English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
- Secondary school exchange program
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses –a registered VET course or a registered course for the award of an advanced diploma
- Higher education courses
- Postgraduate Research degrees
The subclass 500 allows you to stay in Australia to study full-time in a recognised education institution. You have to study for a minimum period of three months (full time course). The advantage of the Student Visa is that it allows you to work 40 hours every 2 weeks during your course and without limitation during holidays.
If you have a partner and if you can proof that you’re in a relationship for more than 1 year, your partner can join your Student Visa for free and work part-time without having to study (same for family members). There is an additional cost to add an applicant on your visa.
Other students visas for specific situations
Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)
If you want to come to Australia to provide care to a student under 18 years.
Training and Research visa (subclass 402)
For training and research opportunities which allow you to take part in structured workplace-based training.
Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)
If you have finished your studies and wish to work in Australia temporarily, you may be eligible for the post-study work visa.
Requirements to get a Student Visa
Step 1: Enroll in an Australian school / institution
To get your Student Visa you have to be accepted by an Australian institution CRICOS accredited (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students). The course duration should exceed three months.
The first step is therefore to decide which studies you want to do and at which institution. The choice of city is also important for the choice of institution. This could be a university, a language school or a vocational training centre (TAFE).
If you are not in Australia to apply, check the school’s website. All university websites have a section for international students. This is where you will find the procedure for applying. You will need to attach various documents to your application (passport, transcript of records, diplomas obtained).
Once you have completed your application form, all you have to do is wait for the school to reply. If you receive a letter of acceptance, you will have to reply and pay the first semester’s registration fee. You will then receive the Overseas Student Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). The number given in this confirmation is required to apply for your student visa (step 2).
Note: You may have to prove your English language proficiency (entry requirements vary according to your level of English, the course you want to study and between the institutions).
Step 2: Apply for your Student Visa
Once you have obtained your COE (Confirmation of Enrolment) from your chosen Australian institution, you can apply for your student visa.
To apply for a student visa, you need to do it online on the Australian Immigration website.
You will need to attach certain documents (passport, English test results, translated transcripts). So remember to prepare these documents before you start your application. Once the application is finalised, you will receive a Transaction Reference Number to track the progress of your application.
When your application is successful, you will receive a Notification of Grant Letter by email. Don’t delete it. It is your official visa.
Please note that you must have OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) for the duration of your studies.
How much does the Student Visa cost?
The student visa costs $650 (March 2023). The Student Visa is valid for the duration of your studies in Australia + a few months. You can enter Australia up to 90 days before the start of your course.
What does a student visa allow?
The student visa allows you to study in Australia for the duration of your visa. You can study the course of your choice, at the university or school you choose. During your visa period, you can enter and leave the country as you wish. So you can decide to travel to other countries during your holidays!
You can also include your family members in your application (your partner or your dependent child). And apply online in or outside Australia.
The student visa also gives you the right to work during your stay. This is not to be underestimated! Indeed, it is a good way to finance your studies or simply to put money aside.
Under normal circumstances and before the pandemic, you could work 40 hours per fortnight during your studies and as many hours as you wanted during the school holidays.
Student visa work restrictions were relaxed throughout the pandemic, and completely removed to allow student visa holders to work over their normal limit of 40 hours per fortnight to address workforce shortages. This will end on 30 June 2023.
From 1 July 2023, work restrictions for student visa holders will be re-introduced and capped at the increased rate of 48 hours per fortnight.
How does studying in Australia work?
In Australia, students start their academic year either in February or in July for universities and vocational schools. As far as language courses are concerned, they start every two months or so.
The Australian education system is relaxed and the teachers are accessible. You can easily ask them questions or chat with them after class. Teachers encourage students to participate in debates and discussions during class.
As far as timetables are concerned, in Australia, students generally study four subjects per semester, which represents about ten hours of classes per week. However, you should know that personal work is important.
These light schedules allow students to have a job to finance their studies. Indeed, you can work 40 hours/2 weeks outside the school holidays. Currently and until June 2023, there are no limitations on hours, so you can work as many hours as you like during your studies.
Do you need more help?
For more information about studying in Australia you can visit the official Australian government site for international studies:
- Australian government site for international studies (UK)
- Australian government site for international studies (USA)