Higher Education Visa
Australia has a great quality higher education system offering a wide range of highly regarded and internationally recognised graduate and post-graduate courses. This makes Australia a popular destination for international students seeking quality education.
Australia does not have a universal student visa, but issues specific sub class visas for each level of education. The relevant sub class visas for higher education are Sub Class 573 (Higher Education) and 574 (Postgraduate Research) Visas.
Student Visa Assessment Levels
From 24 March 2012, The Department of Immigration introduced 5 Assessment Levels for all Student Visa Applications, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest Assessment Level.
The Assessment levels are determined on calculated immigration risk posed by previous students from a certain country studying in a certain education sector and their obedience by the visa conditions. If, for a certain period of time, a group is determined to be following the visa conditions, they are placed into a lower Assessment Level, and less supporting documents might be required with their Visa Application, and vice versa.
You can find out what Assessment Level you are in based on your Passport & the Visa Subclass you are applying for here.
Higher Education Visa Sub Class 573
The higher education student visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia and applies to a bachelor degree, associate degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, higher education diploma, higher education advanced diploma or masters by coursework.
With this visa:
- you can study in Australia
- dependent family members can accompany you to Australia.
- you can work up to 20 hours per week after you start your course of study, while your studies are in session or unlimited hours while your studies are not in session
- your family members can work up to 20 hours per week as well after you start your course.
- your partner can also study in Australia for up to three months.
To be eligible to apply for a Higher Education Visa Sub Class 573 you must meet the following specific requirements and rules:
Full Time Studies Acceptance
You must be accepted for full-time studies in a registered course or part of a registered course. You must provide proof of acceptance of the position with either your letter of offer or Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE) from the university you’ve been accepted to, prior to your Visa Application.
Genuine Temporary Entry
Your personal circumstances must demonstrate that you intend to stay in Australia temporarily. The factors that are considered are personal circumstances in your own country and in Australia, immigration history, relevance of the course for your future and other matters relevant to your intentions to stay in Australia temporarily.
Financial and Health Requirements
You must have enough money to cover travel cost, tuition and living expenses for yourself, your partner and any dependent children for the duration of your stay in Australia, starting from $18,610 per annum if you are living alone, and over $40.000 for a family with two children aged between 5 and 18. You can find the full details about the financial requirements here.
You must also undergo a health examination and maintain health insurance for you and your family members while in Australia, and the health insurance must be paid for a year in advance before lodging the Visa Application.
English language skills
You must provide evidence of your English language skills (based on your Assessment level), and the country you are currently holding passport for.
Streamlined Visa Processing
Streamlined Visa processing allows for faster and easier access to visas for international students applying for most universities and partner programs.
Since 24 March 2012 applications of students with Confirmation of Enrolment from a participating university in Australia at Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree levels will have reduced evidential requirements when applying for a student visa regardless of their country of origin. They will be assessed as though they were lower migration risk (similar to the current Assessment level 1). Under the streamlined processing arrangements, universities can be confident that the majority of their students will have their visa applications processed quickly.
The following higher education sector courses are eligible for streamlined visa processing:
- Bachelor degrees
- Master degrees by coursework.
The following postgraduate research sector courses are eligible for streamlined visa processing:
- Masters degrees by research
- Doctoral degrees.
The following higher education sector courses are not eligible for streamlined visa processing:
- Higher Education Diploma
- Higher Education Advanced Diploma
- Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Diploma
- Associate Degree.
You can find the full list of universities participating in Streamlined Visa Processing here.
This Post Graduate Research Visa sub class 574 is designed for international students who wish to study a Masters degree by research or a Doctoral degree as a continuance of their previous studies overseas or in Australia.
With this visa:
- You can study in Australia Doctoral degree or Masters Degree by research.
- You can include your dependent family members on the visa application.
- You can work without limitations after you have started your course of studies.
- Your family members included on your visa can work without limitations once you have started your Masters by research or Doctoral studies.
- Your partner can also study in Australia for up to three months.
The Post Graduate Research Visa allows unlimited entries to Australia for the duration of the visa, and you must be covered by Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire period you are holding the visa.
To be eligible to apply for this visa you must meet the following specific requirements:
Be accepted for full time studies
You must be accepted for full-time study in a registered course or part of a registered course within the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). You must provide proof of acceptance with either your letter of offer or Confirmation of Enrolment from the university at the time of your application.
Genuine temporary entrant
Your personal circumstances must demonstrate that you intend to stay in Australia temporarily. The factors that are considered are personal circumstances in your own country and in Australia, immigration history, relevance of the course for your future and other matters relevant to your intentions to stay in Australia temporarily. In other words, you must provide a sufficient proof that you intend to return back to your home country after you have finished your Masters or Doctoral degree.
Financial and health requirements
You must have enough money to cover travel costs, tuition and living expenses for yourself, your partner and any dependent children for the duration of your stay in Australia. You can find more details about the financial requirements here.
You must also undergo a health examination and maintain health insurance for you and your family members while in Australia.
English language skills
You must provide evidence of your English language skills (based on your Assessment level and the level of English Language that the institution you are enrolling to is requiring).
Academic records and history
If you are applying for your first student visa, you must provide your academic records from your previous (Bachelor Degree or Higher Education) studies to show that you have successfully completed an undergraduate degree or equivalent.
If you are applying for a second, subsequent student visa, you must provide academic reports and previous records of attendance to show that you satisfy the course requirements.
Character & Australian Values
This is a basic requirement for each temporary or permanent visa. You must be of good character, with no police records in any of the previous countries you have lived in.
Also, you must declare and sign an Australian Values Statement, which obligates you to obey the laws in Australia and follow Australian recognised values.