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Australian Student Visa Conditions

A quick look into the conditions that students need to meet for securing an Australian Student Visa.

Antony Chacko

Student visas generally carry a ‘no further stay’ clause to prevent students from staying beyond the stipulated period. Students with a sound financial background can get an exemption on this rule.

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If students are issued a visa, few clauses will be attached to the grant of the visa like: 

  • The student should satisfy attendance and/or course progress requirements and maintain a valid enrolment for their chosen course of study. 
  • The student and members of their family unit should not work unless they have been granted permission to work as part of their initial visa grant and they have commenced their course of study in Australia.  
  • They should maintain their approved Overseas Student Health Cover while in Australia. 
  • If students hold the Assessment Level 3, 4 or 5, and their overall intended period of study is 10 months or less, they will be subject to a ‘no further stay’ condition which means that after entering Australia, they may not be granted any other visa while they remain in Australia, other than a further visa with approval to work, or a Graduate or a skilled visa.
 
Students may be exempted from the mandatory imposition of the ‘no further stay’ condition if they are an Assessment Level 3 student and can show funds to cover specified tuition, living and educational expenses for a 12 month period in addition to the period of their intended study in Australia.
 
A ‘no further stay’ condition may also be imposed on a student’s visa, regardless of their assessment level or period of study if the relevant authoriser considers this appropriate. If students are sponsored by the Commonwealth of Australia or the government of their home country, they may be subject to a ‘no further stay’ condition. This means that after entering Australia, they will not be entitled to be granted any other visa while they remain in Australia apart from a further Student visa with Permission to Work, or a further visa with the consent obtained from their sponsor they must inform their education provider within seven days of their arrival to Australia of their current residential address and must advise them any changes of address within seven days.
 
Student visa holders under 18 years of age, who are neither being escorted nor staying with a relative who is at least 21 years of age, must not change their accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements without the written approval of their education provider. If they want to change their accommodation and welfare arrangements to live with a parent, a custodian or a relative who is already the holder of a student guardian visa, they must lodge form 157N Nomination of a student guardian at the nearest office of the department.
 
Students must satisfy the primary or secondary criteria, as the case needs, for the grant of the visa. Any violation of a visa condition may result in the cancellation of their visa.
 

Permission to work 

When applying for a visa students are required to provide evidence of financial capacity to support their period of stay in Australia and permission to work is intended to provide them with an enriched cultural and social experience in Australia. Students should not rely on work to fund their studies. From April 2008, all student Subclass 570–576 visas include permission to work as part of the initial student visa grant and if the students and their family members are granted student visas, students will be allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight once their course has started. Neither the students nor the family members may commence work until the principal visa holder has started their course. 
 
When the course is in session students cannot work for more than 40 hours per fortnight and work limits don’t apply during recognised periods of vacation offered by the students’ education provider. Students’ family members will be allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight throughout the year. 
 
Students pursuing a postgraduate research degree with a subclass 574 visa have unrestricted permission to work. Their family members will also have unrestricted permission to work. The working hour limit is strictly enforced by the department and if students have any concerns about their pay and conditions, or other issues at work, they should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman (all state and territories except Western Australia).  
 

Changing courses

If students are planning to change to a new course at the same level of qualification, they do not need to apply for a new student visa unless their current visa is about to expire.
 

Changing level of qualification

If students want to change their level of qualification, they will have to apply for a new student visa because visa subclasses change as per qualification.
 

Changing education provider

If a student wants to change his or her education provider, the student should contact his or her current education provider for information on moving from one institution to another. In most conditions the new education provider will be constrained from enrolling the student, if the student has not completed six months of the main course of study for which his or her visa was originally granted.
 
If a student wants to change his or her provider prior to completing the first six months of the student’s main course of study, he or she must contact the current education provider for permission. The student will need a letter of offer from the new provider in order to apply for a letter of release from the original education provider and the student should notify the department that he or she has changed the education provider.
 
If the student changes the education provider at any time, he or she should contact the department and provide a Confirmation of Enrolment certificate from the student’s new education provider.
 
Students need to be aware that changing the course of study and/or education provider when eligible for streamlined visa processing before a decision has been made on his or her visa application, the eligibility for streamlined visa processing may be affected.
 

Course packaging and eligibility for Streamlined visa processing

When students wish to apply for a package of courses containing an enabling course like a prerequisite English language course, foundation course or a bridging course followed by the main course, they should produce evidence of their enlistment in their course. They should also submit letters of acceptance from the institution, the students are planning to study. Students will be gauged under the visa subclass applicable to the principal course, and at the premier assessment level of the courses in their nominated package. Students will be granted a visa to cover the entire duration of their studies only if they provide confirmation of enrolment for all courses.   
 
Students planning to combine their main course of study with a preliminary course are usually eligible for streamlined visa processing if:
  • Students hold a confirmation of enrolment (COE) for every course within the package
  • The main course of study is a Bachelors degree or Masters degree by coursework (subclass 573) or a Masters degree by research or Doctoral degree (subclass 574)   
  • The main course of study is offered by a participating university
  • The preliminary courses are provided by an educational business partner scheduled by the student’s university offering the main course

Source: www.immi.gov.au/

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