Student Visa (subclass 500)

Effective from 1st July 2016, international students who want to come to Australia to study full-time at a registered educational institution must apply for a Student visa (subclass 500). A new immigration risk framework, simplified student visa framework (SSVF) has been implemented to assess Student visa applications. The applicant will be assessed as regular or streamlined based on the provider and country of passport.

If the visa applicant falls under regular category, it is mandatory to satisfy English language and financial capacity requirements in addition to the general requirements. If the visa applicant falls under streamlined category, it is not mandatory to provide the evidence of English language and financial capacity.

General requirements
  1. Enrolment

    The visa applicant must provide evidence of enrolment at the time of application lodgement.

    • If applied outside Australia, Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for all intended courses.
    • If applied inside Australia, Letter of offer or CoE for all intended courses. However, CoE(s) must be provided before the visa can be granted.
  2. Health, character and insurance
    • Visa applicant(s) must meet the health requirements. Visa applicant(s) might need to undergo health examinations as part of the visa application process and can choose to undertake them prior to lodging the visa application.
    • Visa applicant(s) must satisfy character requirements.
    • Visa applicant(s) must have adequate health insurance while in Australia. It can be only meet by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), unless exempted.
  3. Genuine temporary entrant

    The genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement is an integrity measure to ensure that the student visa programme is used as intended and not as a way for international students to maintain ongoing residency in Australia.

    The GTE requirement applies to all visa applicants. The officer assessing the visa will take into account whether the individual circumstances indicate an intention for a temporary stay in Australia.

  4. Qualification and employment history

    The visa applicant(s) should provide evidence of current or most recent employment and academic qualification(s)/study, as applicable.

  5. Parental consent and welfare arrangements
    • If a child under the age of 18 is included in the visa application and one or both parents (or legal guardians) are not applying for an Australian visa, both parents will need to complete and sign the form 1229 - Consent form to grant an Australian visa to a child under the age of 18 years.
    • For student applicants who are under 18 years of age, evidence of accommodation and welfare arrangements in Australia must be provided at the time of visa application lodgement.
  6. Dependent school enrolment

    If any dependent applicant(s) is 5 – 17 years of age, evidence of enrolment in an Australian school is required.

Additional requirements for regular applicants
  1. English language requirements

    The main applicant needs to provide evidence of English language skills as part of the visa application. It is usually fulfilled by a satisfactory test score in an approved English language test, unless exempted. The following English language test providers such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, CAE, OET scores are acceptable for visa purpose.

  2. Financial capacityrequirements

    The visa applicant needs to have enough money that is genuinely available to pay for all cost associated with the study in Australia. Evidence of financial capacity can be demonstrated from either of the following:

    • sufficient funds to cover travel costs to Australia and 12 months’ tuition, living and schooling costs (for school aged dependents, if applicable) for the main visa applicant and accompanying family members, or
    • evidence that the spouse or parents of the main applicant are providing financial support and they have an annual income of at least AUD 60,000 for a single student visa application or at least AUD 70,000 for a visa application that includes accompanying family members
    • an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES) form for secondary exchange students only
    • a letter of support from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) or Department of Defence
Family members applying to join the main visa applicant
  • Dependent family member(s) can make a combined Student visa application along with the main applicant or they can apply for Student visa, as subsequent entrant(s), to join the main visa holder later, provided the main visa holder has declared them in the visa application or they became a dependent family member after the grant of the visa (such as a newborn baby).
  • The main applicant must have adequate funds to support self and all accompanying family members, as determined by the financial capacity requirements.
Visa obligations

Visa holder(s) must abide by the visa conditions as indicated in the visa grant letter and comply with the state and territory laws of Australia. Different visa conditions may apply to the main visa holder and dependent visa holder(s). Visa holder(s) must maintain the following visa conditions in addition to other visa conditions, as applicable.

Main visa holders can generally work up to 40 hours per fortnight when the course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. Students pursuing master’s degree by research or doctoral degree do not have work restrictions.

Accompanying family members can generally work up to 40 hours per fortnight. If the main visa holder is doing a master’s degree or a doctoral degree, family members can work unlimited hours, unless restricted by state and territory laws.

Visa holder(s) must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance (generally Overseas Student Health Cover) while in Australia, unless exempted.

Accompanying family members aged 18 years or older can study in Australia only for up to three months. If they want to study for more than three months, they must apply for their own student visa.

Visa entitlements
  • Main visa holder can study registered full-time course(s) in Australia.
  • Visa holder(s) can generally work a specified number of hours.
  • Visa holder(s) can generally stay in Australia until the course is finished.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long is result of English tests valid for student visa application?

The results are valid for 2 Years and the test must have been taken no more than two years before the student visa application.

Q. Can the applicant use their Diploma or Cert IV level certificates in lieu of English test score for a student visa?

Yes, applicant can satisfy the English language requirement the applicant has fully completed or completed substantial component of a course at the Certificate IV or higher level in Australia within two years before applying for the visa.

Q. What is the major difference between regular and streamline categories?

The mandatory document requirements for English and Financials Capacity differs for applicants in regular or streamlined category. Applicant can also check the mandatory documents using Document Checklist Tool from https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/500-

Q. Can student visa be lodged using offer letter?

Only if the applicant is in Australia, s/he can apply for student visa with a letter of offer; however, the applicant must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.

Q. How is the applicant assessed against the character requirements?

Visa applicant(s) must answer a number of character related questions on the visa application form and the information provided will be used to assess the character. Applicant(s) might be asked for more information by DIBP, if required.

Q. Who does not require Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for Student visa?

The applicant does not require OSHC if s/he is:

  • a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
  • a Swedish student(s) covered by the National Board of Student Aid or by Kammarkollegiet
  • a Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
Q. What is requirement for welfare arrangements for an applicant under 18 year old?

To be granted a student visa, the applicant must demonstrate that s/he has adequate welfare arrangements in place for the length of the student visa or until they turn 18 years of age. They can do this by demonstrating that they will be accompanied by a parent or legal custodian, a suitable relative or that the student’s education provider approves the arrangements for the student’s accommodation, support and general welfare.

Q. What is satisfactory test score to meet the English language requirement?

The student applicant needs to provide evidence of English language proficiency and DIBP accepts the following minimum English language test scores:

English Language Test Providers

Minimum Test Score (MTS)

MTS where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS

MTS where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS

nternational English Language Testing System

5.5

5

4.5

*Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based

527

500

450

TOEFL internet based test

46

35

32

Cambridge English: Advanced(Certificate in Advanced English)

162

154

147

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)

42

36

30

Occupational English Test

Pass**

N/A

N/A

*The TOEFL paper based test will only be accepted from limited countries

**The Occupational English Test includes a mark between A and E. An A or B is considered a pass.

Q. Are there any exemptions for the English language requirement?

If one of the following applies, the applicant does not need to provide evidence of an English test score with the visa application:

  • If the applicant is enrolled in full-time school studies as a principal course including in a secondary exchange programme, a postgraduate research course, a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), and Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored students
  • If the applicant has completed at least five years’ study in one or more of the following countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
  • If the applicant is a citizen and holds a passport from UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland
Q. What is the amount of living and schooling cost required for student visa purpose?

For student visa purpose, the living costs for main student or guardian is AUD 19,830,for partner or spouse is AUD 6,940 and for each child is AUD 2,970. Where school aged children are included in the Student visa application, schooling costs of at least AUD 8,000 per year for each child needs to be added to the amount of fund required.

Q. What is the pre qualifying visa for student visa for the applicants in Australia?

If applicant is applying student visa in Australia, applicant must hold a current temporary substantive visa, but not any one of the following:

  • Domestic Worker (Temporary) Diplomatic and Consular visa (subclass 426)
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) in the Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or consular) stream
  • Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) - primary visa holder only. This means a family member of a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) can apply for a Student visa in Australia.
  • Transit visa (subclass 771)
  • Visitor visa (subclass 600) in the sponsored family stream or in the approved destination status stream.

A substantive temporary visa is any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa, which allows the visa holder to remain temporarily in Australia.

Q. What are the major visa conditions applicable to the main student visa holder?

The following are the major visa conditions applicable to the main visa holder.

  • 8105 - Work Limitation

    S/he cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when the course is in session (other than work which has been registered as a part of the course). A fortnight means any period of 14 days commencing on a Monday and ending at the end of the second following Sunday.

    S/he can work for more than 40 hours per fortnight during recognised vacation periods offered by the education provider.

    S/he cannot start paid work until s/he has started the course in Australia.

    No work limits apply if s/he is studying a Masters by research or Doctorate course in Australia.

  • 8202 - Meet course requirements

    S/he must remain enrolled in a registered course (unless applicant is a Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored student or secondary exchange student in which case s/he must maintain full-time enrolment in the course of study or training).

    Note: A registered course is one that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

    S/he must maintain enrolment in a registered course that is the same level as, or at a higher level than, the registered course for which s/he was granted a visa. S/he must maintain satisfactory attendance in the course and course progress for each study period as required by the education provider.

  • 8501 - Maintain health insurance

    S/he must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance during the stay in Australia.

    Note: Under policy, you must maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

  • 8516 - Must maintain eligibility

    S/he must continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of the student visa. For example, s/he should continue to have sufficient financial capacity to support the study and stay in Australia.

  • 8517 - Maintain education for dependents

    S/he must maintain adequate schooling arrangements for the school-age dependents who joined in Australia for more than 3 months as part of student visa application.

  • 8532 - 18 approve welfare

    If s/he is younger than 18 years of age, s/he must have accommodation and support, and general welfare must be maintained for the duration of stay in Australia.

  • 8533 - Inform provider of address

    S/he must inform the education provider:

    • the address where s/he lives in Australia within seven days of arriving in Australia
    • if s/he changes the address, where s/he lives within seven days of the change
    • if s/he changes education provider, within seven days of receiving the electronic confirmation of enrolment certificate or evidence of enrolment.

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