Australian Embassy Consulate Migration Student Visas Applications

Background to the Australian Student Visas Program

International students must have a valid visa for the duration of their studies in Australia.

There are eight types of Australian student visas

1. English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) (subclass 570) visa. This visa is for international students undertaking a stand-alone English language course that leads to a certificate level award or non formal award.

2. Schools (subclass 571) visa. This visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia in a primary, junior secondary or senior secondary school course or an approved secondary school exchange program.

3. Vocational Education and Training (subclass 572) visa. This visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia and whose main course of study is a certificate, vocational education and training diploma, vocational education and training advanced diploma, vocational graduate certificate or vocational graduate diploma.

4. Higher Education (subclass 573) visa. This visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia and whose main course of study is a bachelor degree, associate degree, higher education diploma, higher education advanced diploma, graduate certificate, graduate diploma or Masters by coursework.

5. Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa. This visa is designed for international students who want to study a Masters degree by research or a Doctoral degree in Australia.

6. Non Award (subclass 575) visa. This visa is designed for international students who want to study non award foundation studies or other full time courses not leading to an Australian award.

7. AusAID or Defence (subclass 576) visa. This visa is designed for international students who are sponsored by AusAID or Defence to study a full-time course of any type in Australia.

8. Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa. This visa is designed for a parent or close relative to accompany an underage student to Australia.

To be eligible for a student visa, applicants must be accepted for full time study in a course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Applicants must also meet financial, health insurance, English language proficiency and health and character requirements.

There is no limit on the number of student visas issued each year. If applicants meet requirements, they will be granteda student visa. Student visas are issued for the entire period of study in Australia, as evidenced by the COE Confirmation of Enrolment documentation provided by the applicant’s education provider. Visas are issued in alignment with the period for which the applicant has Overseas Student Health Cover.

Family members

Students can apply to have partners and dependent children under the age of eighteen accompany them to Australia.
These family members are known as secondary visa holders and are counted in student visa numbers. A parent or guardian seeking to accompany an international student to Australia may be eligible for a student guardian (subclass 580) visa.

Ability to work

Student visas include a visa condition that, once the course has commenced, allows students to work for up to 20 hours per week while their course is in session and for unlimited hours during course breaks. Secondary visa holders are subject to a visa condition that limits them to 20 hours work per week at any time, unless they are the dependents of students studying a postgraduate research course, in which case there is no limitation on their work rights.

Assessment Levels

There are five Assessment Levels in the student visa program. They serve to align student visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country studying in a particular education sector. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and Assessment Level 5 the highest. The higher the Assessment Level,
the greater the evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their claims for the grant of a student visa.

Financial requirements

Students and their families need to be aware of the costs involved in studying and living in Australia. In order to meet the financial requirements for the grant of a student visa, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have access to sufficient funds to cover course fees, travel costs, educational costs for any accompanying school age children and
living costs for the full study period.

Australian Student Visas refusals and rejections

A decision to refuse a student visa application is made when the delegate of the Minister is not satisfied that the applicant meets the legal criteria for grant of a visa. When refusing a visa application, the department provides an applicant, or their agent, with a written decision record that sets out the reason for the decision.

Reasons for refusal of Australian student visa applications may include:

– failure to meet financial requirements;

– failure to meet English language requirements;

– fraudulent documentation present in the application; and/or

– failure to satisfy the Department that the applicant is a genuine student.

Processing Standards
The department DIAC gives priority to offshore applications to ensure that prospective students receive their visas in time to travel to Australia to commence their courses. Onshore students are granted bridging visas pending finalisation of their
new student visa applications and can still commence their courses.

Depending on the relevant assessment level the service standards are that 75% of offshore applications are finalised within 14 to 90 days and 75% of onshore applications are finalised within 14 to 30 days.

It should be noted that approximately 80% of onshore applications are incomplete when lodged, and this adds to processing times as officers request and then wait for applicants to provide required information.

To assist with your Australian Student Visa Application being done correctly in a “decision ready” format, simply email

1 Comment

  1. Hafiz   |  Sunday, 17 August 2014 at 8:41 pm

    My wife is doing study in Australia Master in professional Accounting (MPA) he got 5.5 band in IELTS so thats y firstly she is doing ELICOS…
    I wanna know can i apply dependant visa during her ELICOS or i need to wait for her main course for applying the visa…

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