Visas & Working

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How to apply for a student visa in Australia

If you are in Assessment Level 1, you can apply online for an electronic student visa. Some students in other Assessment Levels may also be able to apply online - check the website to see if you are eligible. Otherwise, you may be able to apply by post or in person at your local Australian embassy or immigration office. See www.border.gov.au to find your nearest office.

Application fees

You will normally be required to pay an application fee for your student visa, unless you are sponsored by the Commonwealth of Australia or participating in a formal secondary exchange programme. The charge for student visa applications is currently AUS$550. This is subject to change. To check the most recent charges, see Form 990i Charges on the department's website.

Dependants

Your family (spouse or children) may be able to join you in Australia on a student visa as part of your 'family unit'. In order to do this, they must be declared on your own visa application and make an individual application. This only applies if you are at Assessment Level 1 or 2 and your course is for a duration of twelve months or more. Otherwise, your family members cannot be granted a student visa.

For full details of the student visa options and the application process, please see the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Working

The majority of students with student visas are permitted to work and undertake work placements/voluntary work, under certain conditions. However, you may not start working in Australia until your course has started.

How many hours per week can I work?

Most students are permitted to work up to twenty hours per week during term time and an unlimited amount during vacations/holiday periods. Voluntary work does not count as part of the twenty-hour limit, in certain circumstances. To find out more, visit the Study in Australia website.

Can I support myself with my earnings?

Whilst part-time work can help with living costs, you should be able to pay your tuition fees and living costs during your study in Australia without working. It is inadvisable to rely on earnings from employment to support yourself during your studies, due to the difficulty of finding and keeping work, and the limits on the amount you can work.

Can I do work placements?

You will be able to take part in work placements that are part of your course. Some unpaid work experience/internships may count towards your limit on the number of hours you can work, except in certain circumstances (please see 'How many hours...' above).

Post-study employment

A student visa does not give you any rights to permanent residency; you are obliged to return home after your study finishes. However, the Australian government's General Skilled Migration Programme (GSM) targets young people who have skills, an education and outstanding abilities that will contribute to the Australian economy.

International students with Australian qualifications account for about half of the people assessed under the skilled migrant programme. Some students will be eligible to apply for certain permanent and temporary visas whilst they are in Australia. Find out more about the available visa types here.

FURTHER READING

Applying to Study in Australia

Student Accommodation in Australia

Arriving in Australia 

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