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International students must have a valid visa for the duration of their studies in Australia.
Most international students will need a student visa. However, visitor visas permit up to three months study and working holiday maker visas permit up to four months study. A student needs to apply for a student visa if the course duration is more than four months. On 1 July 2016 the Simplified student visa framework (SSVF) was implemented replacing both Streamlined Visa Processing arrangements and the Assessment Level Framework. Key changes under the SSVF include:
Further information about these visa options are available here
There are seven sectors in which a student visa holder may study. To apply for student visa, you should have an unconditional offer letter from an Australian University for which the offer must have been accepted and course tuition fee must have been paid.
The different type of student visas are:
1) English Language Intensive Course (ELICOS) sector visa is for international students undertaking a stand-alone English language course that leads to a certificate level award or non -formal award.
2) Schools sector visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia in a primary, junior secondary or senior secondary school course or an approved secondary school exchange programme.
3) Vocational Education and Training sector Visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia and whose main course of study is a certificate, vocational education and training diploma, vocational education and training advanced diploma, vocational graduate certificate or vocational graduate diploma.
4) Higher Education sector visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia and whose main course of study is a bachelor degree, associate degree, higher education diploma, higher education advanced diploma, graduate certificate, graduate diploma or Masters by coursework.
5) Postgraduate Research sector visa is designed for international students who want to study a Master’s degree by research or a Doctoral degree in Australia.
6) The Non Award sector visa is designed for international students who want to study non award foundation studies or other full time courses not leading to an award in Australia.
7) Foreign Affairs or Defence sector Visa is designed for international students who are sponsored by Foreign Affairs or Defence to study a full-time course of any type in Australia.
To be eligible for a student visa, applicants must be accepted for full time study in a course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Applicants must also meet financial, health insurance, English language proficiency and health and character requirements.
There is no limit on the number of student visas issued each year. If applicants meet requirements, they will be granted a student visa. Student visas are issued for the entire period of study in Australia. Visas are issued in alignment with the period for which the applicant has Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). There are two other visas related to the student visa programme, the Student Guardian visa and the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. The Student Guardian visa is for individuals who wish to accompany and care for minors studying in Australia. The Temporary Graduate visa allows international students to live and work in Australia temporarily after they have finished their studies.
Student visas include a visa condition that, once the course has commenced, allows most students to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session and for unlimited hours during course breaks. The limitation imposed by this visa condition reflects the purpose of a student visa; that it is to allow entry to Australia in order to study, not to work. Secondary visa holders are subject to a visa condition that limits them to 40 hours work per fortnight at any time.
Higher degree by research students on a Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa may work unlimited hours once their Masters or PhD course has commenced. Dependants of students studying a Masters or PhD research course have no limitation on their work hours.
All the best!
Source of Information: Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs
Image Courtesy: Department of Home Affairs - Immigration and Citizenship Service