Australian Student Visa Guide for International Students

What are the requirements to get a study visa for Australia?
by Constantine Paxinos, PAX Migration Australia

map of australia

Obtaining a student visa for Australia is a great opportunity to gain a qualification from one of Australia’s internationally competitive and highly esteemed education institutions, giving you an excellent start in your career upon completion of your studies. If you are a mature age student, you can further develop your knowledge and skills, or re-train in a new area. A student visa also provides a potential pathway to further education and employment opportunities in Australia, with the option to apply for a Graduate visa at the conclusion of your course.

A student visa enables you to combine your study with travel around Australia during semester breaks, providing you with the opportunity to explore its unique sights and sounds. You can also work part-time to earn some extra money to help fund your stay.

To qualify for a student visa, you must enrol in a registered course and meet minimum financial capacity, English language and Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirements. You must also have adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia and satisfy health and character requirements. Eligible family members can also be included as visa dependents.

Read on for details about the requirements to get a study visa for Australia.

Course enrolment
You must enrol in a full-time registered course and submit a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) as part of your student visa application. You can select from a wide range of course providers, qualification levels and study areas and you can package two or more courses where there is a progression from one course to another. Options available to student visa holders include vocational education, higher education and postgraduate research. The student visa programme is also open to school-age children.

To enrol, you must meet the entry requirements for the course, which vary across each course and education provider and can include the completion of pre-requisite subjects or a qualification, work experience and an English language test.

Financial capacity
You must demonstrate that you have genuine access to sufficient funds to cover your living costs for the first 12 months of your stay in Australia, your first annual course fee and your travel costs. If family members are included, higher minimum thresholds apply.

The current minimum financial thresholds can be found on the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website.

English language
You must complete one of the following English language tests and achieve a prescribed minimum test score (unless you are exempt):

An exemption applies if you are a citizen and passport holder from the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland. If you have completed at least five years’ study in one of these countries, in addition to Australia and South Africa, you will also be exempt (other exemptions are also prescribed).

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)
One of the most important aspects of a student visa application is the GTE requirement. You must demonstrate that your intention as a student visa holder is to reside temporarily in Australia and to comply with your Student Visa conditions, having regard to:

  • the circumstances in your home country;
  • your potential circumstances in Australia;
  • the value of the course to your future;
  • your immigration history; and
  • other relevant matters.

You must provide a personal statement addressing the GTE requirement and accompanying supporting evidence.

Health insurance
You must arrange for adequate health insurance to cover you and all accompanying family members for the duration of your stay in Australia. Overseas Student Health Insurance (OSHC) is accepted for this purpose, unless an exemption applies.

Health and Character
Health examinations for you and all your visa dependants are required. Police clearances must also be provided for all applicants aged 16 years and over.

Constantine Paxinos is a director of PAX Migration Australia, a leading immigration agency based in Adelaide, South Australia. He has worked closely with international students for the last five years and has assisted hundreds of students with graduate and permanent visa pathways.

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