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    Australian Student Visa - Requirements, Cost, Processing Time, Rejection Reasons

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert


    Wish to study in Australia? International students planning to pursue a long term course in Australia (more than 12 weeks) must obtain an Australian Student Visa. Among the various subclasses of visa, you are required to apply for a specific subclass depending on your age, type of program, and duration of stay. In most cases, international students pursuing higher education in Australia apply for the Australian Student Visa Subclass 500 is required (regardless of the field of study opted). 

    Some of the important points to know when applying for an Australian Student Visa are:

    • You can make online applications through ImmiAccount.
    • The application fee is around 620 AUD for subclass 500.
    • The funds required as a proof for a single student is 62,222 AUD. 

    COVID-19 Updates: Pilot Program- Small number of continuing international students were offered to return to Australia. However, the program has been postponed due to the resurgence of cases in Australia. As per the current update (Aug 2020), Indian students are not currently being allowed to come back or enter Australia under Pilot Program 2020. 

    Visa Subclasses

    Australian Student Visa (subclass 500) 

    The student subclass 500 visa came into effect in July 2016. It covers the complete duration of your study program and lets you stay in Australia for up to five years and in line with your enrollment date. The base application charge for an Australian Visa is 620 AUD (~33,272 INR). Some of the perks of obtaining this student visa include being able to bring a family member to Australia, participate in an eligible course of study, and apply online in or outside of Australia for the choice of program. 

    To get the subclass 500 student visa, international students must:

    • Enrolled in a full-time on-campus program in Australia
    • Have an OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) or fall in either of the exempt categories.
    • Must be of the minimum age of 6
    • Have proof of welfare arrangement, if you are less than 18 years old. 

    Other Visa Types

    Types Applicable for
    Student Visa (subclass 500) Up to 5 years
    Visitor Visa (subclass 600, 601, 651) Maximum of 3 months of study
    Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417 and 462) For Maximum 4 months of study
    Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590) For guardian with international student in Australia and 3 months’ study or ELICOS course for 20 hours per week for duration of visa
    Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) For students completing Australian education to stay and gain work experience for 18 months to 4 years.
    Training Visa (subclass 407) For people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis to participate in occupational training or professional development
    Eligibility

    Australian Student Visa Eligibility

    As an international student willing to study in Australia, you must ensure that you fulfill the following eligibility criteria for obtaining your student visa:

    Enroll in a course of study and Provide Evidence

    Your Australian student visa application must consist of the evidence of enrollment, which is often available in one of the following forms:

    • CoE or Confirmation of Enrollment- Offered to students accepted for full-time courses registered on CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students).
    • Packaged courses & CoEs: When applying for more than one course, your visa application must consist of all the CoE codes or else your student visa will only cover the period of stay for the specified CoE. 
      • You can apply for two or more courses, where one course leads to another. The gap between the commencement of the two courses should not exceed more than two months. An exception on the gap period is given when the first course ends by the end of the academic year and the following course begins with the start of upcoming academic year.
    • Letter of Support: If accepted to a full-time study or training which is funded by the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade scholarship schemes, you can provide your letter of support as evidence of enrollment.
      • Similarly, if you are funded by the Australian Department of Defence, you can apply for the student visa with your letter of support. 
    •  Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES): Students planning an exchange degree from Australia can submit this along with the application.
    • Letter from Educator: Required by PG students who need to stay in Australia while the thesis is being marked will have to submit a letter from the educator verifying the same. 

    Be a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)

    You will be required to write a GTE statement, preferably in English. If the statement is written in another language, a translated copy will be required. GTE statement is assessed to identify students who wish to apply for the student visa for reasons other than education, such as getting or maintaining ongoing residency in Australia. Hence, having a good and genuine GTE statement is of utmost importance.

    The GTE statement must consist of the following evidence or information:

    • Previous Study: Academic transcripts, education provider name, duration of study, and certificate attained.
    • Gap in Study- Reasons addressing to any gap in the previous education. 
    • Current Employment- Current employer, firm’s address, job designation, duration of employment, and referrals contact details.
    • Ties to Home Country- Describe your intent to return to home country through significant family, financial, and social ties.
    • Economic Situation in Home Country- Income tax return or bank statements, potential employment offers, and documents representing details of business or employment for 12 months, prior to making the application. 
    • Employment in Third Country- Potential employment offers with payscale details and other incentives. 

    Have adequate Health Insurance

    The visa applicant along with their family must have and maintain OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover). You can obtain an OSHC by finding an approved insurance provider in Australia and pay for your opted policy. For any member of the family joining you after you arrive in Australia, OSHC must be represented to the immigration department. This should cover your health for the complete duration for which you wish to stay in Australia. 

    • Minimum cover for singles is 430 AUD/year
    • Minimum cover for couples is 2680 AUD/year
    • Minimum cover for a family is 4000 AUD/year

    Meet English Language Requirements

    Applicants who are required to provide evidence of English language proficiency can submit certain test scores approved by the department. Detailed below are the minimum test score requirements for various ELP exams approved by the department.

    Exam Minimum Score Minimum Score for at least 10 weeks ELICOS Minimum Score for at least 20 weeks Elicos
    IELTS 5.5 5 4.5
    TOEFL-iBT 46 35 32
    CAE 162 154 147
    PTE 42 36 30
    Occupational English Test B for each test component NA NA

    *ELICOS- English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students

    Have enough Money for your Stay

    You are required to present financial proof ensuring that you have enough money to stay in Australia. The expenses required varies depending on the stay duration, program opted, and more. You are required to have enough money to cover your cost of living, course, and overall travel expenses. The documents you can provide include:

    • Money deposits at a financial institution
    • loans or other financial support documents
    • Scholarships or similar financial support documents
    • You can alternately present proof of an overall income of 62,222 AUD in 12 months immediately prior to making visa application.
      • If you bring family members the costs to be reflected are 72,592 AUD.
    • Plan on the expenses required: These will include the cost of living and the tuition fees & related academic fee for courses
      • Bachelors program costs- 70,000 AUD to 110,000 AUD
      • Masters program costs- 18,000 AUD to 70,000 AUD
      • Cost of living- 21,000 AUD/year (singles). If accompanied by a partner additional 7362 AUD and for a child additional 3,152 AUD is required. 

    Note: The cost of the program and living mentioned are approximations. Each applicant has to ensure the exact funds required for making visa applications. 

    Meet Character Requirements

    If you are 16 years old or more, you need to fulfill character requirements for an Australian student visa. To fulfill the requirements, while making applications you must:

    • Provide a complete declaration of criminal conduct you have been engaged in.
    • Provide true answers to the questions asked
    • Provide the complete information requested Ministry of Home Affairs. 

    The Home Affairs may ask you for additional documents after you have applied. These are:

    • Police certificate
    • Form 80 personal particulars for character assessment
    • Character statutory declaration
    • Letter of conduct from an employer
    • Military certificate.

    Meet Health Requirements

    To meet the health requirements you must be free from any disease that can threaten public health, cost major healthcare and community service, or can place a demand on community services or healthcare services that are in short supply.

    Sign the Australian Values Statement

    The statement confirms that the student visa applicant will abide by and respect Australian laws. You are also required to have read Life in Australia booklet. 

    These are the details of the documents required when applying for an Australian student visa. Let us brief these in the following section:

    • Passport/ Birth Certificate
    • CoE (Confirmation of Enrolment)/ Offer Letter
    • OSHC (Overseas Health Cover)/ Insurance
    • Evidence of Financial Capacity for 12 months stay and return airfare (Minimum $20,000 excluding Tuition costs)
    • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) Proof
    • English Language Test Scores: Some exemptions are available for students completing 5 years of study in the following countries:
      • UK
      • USA
      • Canada
      • New Zealand
      • South Africa
      • Republic of Ireland
    • Other exemptions: Students from New Zealand studying at Australian Universities do not require a student visa. Study cost is equivalent to that of domestic students for New Zealanders. Foreign students coming from Belgium or Norway are not obliged to buy the Overseas Student Health Cover.
    How to Apply

    How to Apply for Australian Student Visa

    International applicants must apply for their Australian student visa at least 6 months before the course begins. Let us now brief the overall process involved in getting your student visa to study with Australian universities

    STEP 1: Before You Apply

    • Organize you health exams
    • Get help with your visa application
    • Get a valid passport

    STEP 2: Get Documents Required

    • Proof of Identity
    • CoE, letter of acceptance and support
    • Evidence of having enough money to stay
    • Provide evidence of having genuine access to the money
    • Evidence that you are exempted from paying visa application charge, if applicable
    • Evidence of OSHC
    • GTE documents
    • Language documents- Scores of exams required to study in Australia
    • Partner documents, if valid.
    • Documents for dependents and children, if applicable.
    • Find out specific documents required with this Document Checklist Tool
    Where to Apply

    STEP 3: Where to Apply for Visa

    • Apply online for the Australian Student visa by:
      • Create a login for ImmiAccount
      • Attach required documents
      • Pay Visa application fees
      • Australian student visa fee can be paid via: MasterCard (including Debit MasterCard), VISA (including VISA Debit Card), American Express, Diners Club, JCB, China Union Pay, Prepaid credit cards, PayPal, and BPAY. 

    STEP 4: After You Apply

    After Completing your applications you must complete the following through ImmiAccount:

    • Provide Biometrics
    • Get health examinations and medical referral letters
    • Provide additional information required
    • Abide by the law

    STEP 5: Visa Outcome

    The decision on your Australian student visa application will be sent to you in writing. If you are accepted, the letter will consist of your visa grant number, the date on which visa expires, and conditions on your student visa.   

    After obtaining the Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from an Australian University, arrange for finances and other documents. Apply for Australian Student Visa by following the below-given steps:

    • Submit documents and pay $413, basic Student Visa Fee
    • Create ImmiAccount on homeaffairs.gov.au or download in pdf format for offline application.
    • Attach the above-mentioned documents; maximum 60 files/ person of up to 5 MB
    • Fill and Submit final application
    Visa Processiong Time

    Australian Student Visa Processing Time

    Usually the student visa Australia is processed within a month, however, the maximum time it could take is 3 months. However, Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF) streamlines the visa processing time. Processing Time for Student Visa is:

    Stream 75% processing 90% processing
    Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector 20 days 26 days
    Postgraduate Research Sector 39 days 77 days
    Independent ELICOS Sector 23 days 38 days
    Vocational Education and Training Sector 36 days 52 days
    Higher Education Sector 17 days 32 days

    NOTE- To apply for Student Visa Extension in Australia use ImmiAccount and choose the visa extension option from any of the available options.

    Work-Study

    Work as an International Student in Australia

    Most of the Australian Student Visas allow international students to work while they are learning. With subclass 500 visa students are allowed to work for 20 hours a week once their classes have started. You can work part-time on-campus or off-campus depending on your college/university regulations.  

    Australia is a great place to work-while study. Here is why:

    • Workplace protection offered to international students is the same as that offered to any Australian.
    • Irrespective of your job you will be offered a minimum wage pay rate on an hourly basis as per the guidelines of the Australian Government. 
    • Strong support is offered to international student workers by both education institutes, as well as government and private organizations. 

    In case planning for holiday work, you can work for unlimited hours with an Australian student visa subclass 500.

    Australian Student Visa Acceptance Rate

    Student Visa Australia Acceptance Rate for various sectors of education in Australia is:

    • Higher Education: 23%
    • Vocational and Educational Training: 33.9%
    • ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students): 48.10%

    The chances of your visa application being accepted a highly dependent on a few factors- visa rejection history, the trueness of the information provided, financial ability, language proficiency, and complete documentation. Lack of any of these can result in denial of an Australian Student Visa. 

    Rejection Reasons

    Australian Student Visa Reasons for Rejection

    Australia welcomes international students to its universities with open arms, however, there are higher chances of student visa rejections. Some of the reasons for Australian Student Visa Rejection are:

    • Incorrect/ Incomplete Documents
    • Choosing a course unrelated to previous academic studies
    • Inability to support tuition, living and other costs in Australia
    • Incompetency in English Language Proficiency
    • Health issues
    • Inability to explain yourself as GTE (Genuine Temporary Entrant)
    • Criminal records (if any)
    • Failure to meet academic requirements
    • Intentions of not leaving the country

    To conclude, it can be said that for obtaining a study visa for Australia you need to make sure that you tick off each and every minute detail for eligibility and requirements. Consider your student visa application as one of the most important aspects of your ticket to studying in Australia. Fulfillment of all parameters and focusing on the correctness of the documents will enhance your chances of receiving the awaited documents.

    FAQs

    Ques. What are the requirements for Australian student visa?

    Ans. The requirements you need to fulfill when planning to apply for Australian student visa are a GTE (statement of intent), financial requirements, language proficiency (IELTS- 5.5), health insuarance, character requirements, letter of acceptance, and an identity proof (passport). 

    Ques. For how long can I study in Australia with a student visa?

    Ans. You can stay-back for up to 5 years in Australia with a student visa. However, you are allowed to stay for untill your course completes. 

    Ques. How much does an Australian student visa cost?

    Ans. You will be paying a cost of 620 AUD (~35,200 INR) as the application fees for Australian student visa. Apart from the application fees you will have to arrange and OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) and proof of finances to fund at least the first year of your education and stay in Australia.

    Ques. Is Australian student visa easy to get?

    Ans. Compared to other popular student destinations like USA, UK, an Australian student visa is slightly easy to get. Once enrolled for a full-time course with Australian universities (lasting for more than 6 months) you can easily apply for Australian student visa subclass 500. 

    Ques. Can I study in Australia for free?

    Ans. To study in Australia for free, you will have to get a scholarship that covers the complete cost of living, staying and studying in Australia. Some such scholarships offering complete funding to international students are Australian Awards, Austraia Goverment Research Training programs funding, etc  

    Ques. Why are Australian visas rejected?

    Ans. Some of the potential reasons for rejection of Australian student visas are insufficient funds, poor written GTE, incompetency language proficiency, health issues, criminal records, choosing courses that do not align to your previous education and future goals.   

    Ques. Can I re-apply for my Australian student visa after rejection?

    Ans. If you plan on re-applying for your student visa make sure that you work on the points explained by immigrations officer that lead to rejection of your student visa.