What are the requirements for a student visa?
Before applying for a Student Visa, you must first be accepted for full time study in a registered course offered at one of Australia's schools, technical colleges or universities. Most educational institutions have their own website, allowing you to apply online.
A Student Visa provides you with temporary resident status and is valid for the entire duration of your course. After completion of your studies, you will be required to leave Australia by the date specified in your visa, unless you are making an application for another temporary or permanent residency visa.
To be granted a Student Visa you will assessed against a number of factors which vary according to your Country of Passport and Visa Subclass.
This is known as your Assessment Level. The Assessment levels range between 1 and 5. The higher your Assessment Level, the greater the degree of evidence required.
Your Student Visa Application will be assessed on:
Your capacity to cover the cost of airfares to Australia, tuition, accommodation, and other general expenses;
Your capacity to support any accompanying dependent family member for the duration of your stay;
Your level of English language proficiency. If English is not your first language you may need to undertake the IELTS English test;
Your situation in your home country, i.e. personal, financial, employment and other commitments which might prompt you to return home or other circumstances, e.g. military service commitments;
Your academic record and history, in the context of the course you intend to study;
Your immigration history e.g. previous compliance with immigration laws, whether you have any outstanding debts to the Commonwealth of Australia, and whether you have previously applied for entry into Australia;
Your proposed course of study and whether it is a reasonable choice, given your circumstances;
Whether your proposed course of study is consistent with, and appropriate to your current level of education.
Additionally, there are some general requirements which are applicable to all student visa applicants.
Your ability to satisfy the health requirement. Any dependent family members included in the visa application are also required to meet the health requirement. You may be directed to undergo a health examination and chest x-ray and forward your results to DIAC, before the processing of your student visa application is completed
Your ability to satisfy the character requirement. You must be of "good character" to enter Australia and will be required to provide a declaration in the application form
Your responsibility to have private health insurance throughout your stay in Australia. It is compulsory to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before submitting your visa application. Any accompanying dependent family members must also be covered by this insurance
The Australian Qualifications
Australian Qualifications Framework Courses:
There are two categories of schools in Australia - public (government funded) and private schools. Schooling in Australia begins with a preparatory year followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school.
These courses are essentially a stepping-stone for candidates aspiring to enter universities and Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutes, as well as a pathway for direct entry into jobs which do not require any further education.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) Courses
Vocational institutions (technical colleges) are closely linked with industry which means the courses are very practical and skill based. This training is provided at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, which are government owned, or at privately operated institutions.
Certificates I and II are qualifications which recognise the students' basic vocational skills and knowledge while Certificates III and IV are the equivalent of trade certificates in various vocations. These prepare students for both employment and further education and training in their chosen field.
These Diplomas prepare students for applying their skills and knowledge based on fundamental principles and complex techniques. These qualifications recognise capacity for initiative and judgment across a broad range of technical and management functions. The Advanced Diploma is a more specialised qualification that signifies skill and knowledge of a greater complexity and a higher level of personal accountability.
Higher Education Courses (University)
There are 38 public (government funded) universities and 2 private universities in Australia.
The Bachelor Degree prepares students for professional careers and postgraduate study. There are many other options within the degree program which could require more or fewer years of study, depending on the student's academic and professional goals.
Here are some examples:
A Professional Degree course can extend to four years and equips candidates with practical skills and techniques that will be applied in the professional domain.
A Combined or Double Degree program allows students combinations of subjects from two degrees, enabling them to graduate with both degrees in a shorter time than would be required to complete two degrees independently.
The two-year Graduate Entry Degree in a specified discipline is often meant to be a shorter alternative to the standard three year (or longer) degree for initial professional preparation.
The Bachelor (Honours) Degree can be undertaken by students who demonstrate a high level of achievement at an earlier stage in the undergraduate degree program, and involves some research preparation.*
* Bachelor Honours Degree requires the completion of an additional year, or its equivalent, and is awarded on the basis of the level of performance in the degree as a whole.
Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas are generally designed for specific vocational purposes, either for broadening of skills and knowledge already gained in an undergraduate program, or for vocational skills and knowledge in a new professional area.
Masters & Doctoral Courses (University)
The Master Degree involves the enhancement of specific skills and provides a mastery of a relevant field of study or area of professional prcatice.
Various options for a Master Degree include:
the course work Master Degree program, which comprises of course work, project work and research in varying combinations, with entry from Bachelor or Bachelor Honours Degree or a Graduate Diploma.
the research based Master Degree program, which comprises of at least two-thirds research with a substantial, often externally assessed thesis outcome. Minimum admission requirement is a Bachelor Honours Degree or Masters preliminary year, a research-based Graduate Diploma or equivalent research experience.
the professional Master Degree program involves a work-based project, with entry from a relevant qualification and professional experience, or extensive relevant professional experience.
The PhD, or Doctoral Degree is the highest award offered by Australian universities. It recognises a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the form of new knowledge or significant and original adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge.
There is a choice of either a Research Doctorate, which is primarily achieved through supervised research, with entry from a research or part-research Masters Degree, or a Bachelor Honours Degree (First or Second Class, upper division), or a Professional Doctorate, which may be undertaken through varying combinations of course work and research. The latter requires significant professional practice, either prior to, or during the program.
There are a number of courses that are not covered by the AQF, but are registered with the Australian government.
Essentially, these courses support students to meet the entry requirements for additional study and/or may lead to further study resulting in an AQF qualification.
English Language Skills Courses
International students who need to improve their English language skills - speaking, writing, and reading in order to meet the English language proficiency requirements of their desired course of study, may undertake an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS). These short courses are offered at a range of universities, Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutes and private English language centres throughout Australia.
Non-Award Foundation Courses
The Non-Award Foundation course prepares international students whose academic background does not meet the minimum academic requirements for entry into a university undergraduate course.
Student Health Care in Australia
What healthcare will I need on a student visa?
As the holder of a temporary student visa, you will not be entitled to free use of the Public Health care system known as Medicare. Instead, you will be required to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of your stay. This private health insurance fee must be paid before your visa can be issued, and is renewable every year.
In most cases, your Australian institution can organise your health cover on your behalf.