Many international students completing studies in Australia will wish to extend their stay here. There are a number of visa options which can facilitate this:
Student Visa Extension
You may wish to continue studying in Australia – in this case, you would apply
- for a further student subclass 500 visas whilst in Australia.
Temporary Subclass 485 Visas
Students may be eligible for graduate work visas on completion of their courses. This gives them full work rights in Australia for 18 months or more and makes it easier to accumulate more points when applying for skilled migration or opportunities to find an employer sponsor.
General Skilled Migration
International students have a number of advantages in applying for skilled migration. Points are available for studies in Australia, particularly where completing higher qualifications or studying in a regional area. In addition, having an Australian qualification makes it easier to pass skills assessment in a skilled occupation.
- you have a job offer with an Australian company, it may be possible for them to sponsor you for either temporary or permanent residence.
- If you have an Australian spouse, partner or fiance, it is possible for them to sponsor you for permanent residence. Your partner would need to be an Australian permanent resident, citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Student Subclass 500 Visas
Student Visas allow international students to travel to and from Australia and live in Australia while they undertake a full-time course of study. There are many different courses an international student may enroll in, and it is possible to apply for permission to work part-time while studying.
Enrolment in Registered Course
You must first enroll in a CRICOS-registered course, or in a primary or high school program.
Genuine Temporary Entrant
You will need to show that you are a genuine student who will complete their studies in Australia, comply with visa conditions and in general return home after your studies.
This would generally involve demonstrating how the studies are relevant to your background, and how they will improve your employment prospects in your home country.
Country and Provider Risk Model
Risk ratings apply to different education providers and to different passport countries.
Depending on the combination of your passport country and the education provider, you will either need to meet:
- Regular Evidentiary Requirements: in this case, you would need to provide evidence of English language ability and finances
- Streamlined Evidentiary Requirements: evidence of English language ability or finances not generally required
English Language Ability
If you are subject to “Regular Evidentiary Requirements”, you will need to provide evidence of your English language ability.
This would generally require you to undertake English language testing – minimum scores would generally be as follows:
- IELTS: 5.5 Average
- TOEFL (Paper): 527
- TOEFL iBT: 46
- CAE (Cambridge): 162
- PTE (Pearson): 42
- OET (Occupational English Test): B Pass
If you are completing ELICOS (English language) studies as part of a packaged course, the English scores are somewhat lower.
You may be exempt from English language testing if:
- You hold a passport from certain countries
- You have previously studied in English medium or in Australia
- You are enrolled in certain types of courses
If required, you would need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to undertake studies in Australia. This could be either of the following:
- Evidence of funds to cover your studies for the first 12 months of your stay in Australia; or
- Evidence of taxable income of your parents or spouse for the last 12 months
How do I apply?
You can either be in Australia or overseas when you apply for a student visa. If in Australia, you would generally need to hold a substantive visa which is not subject to a “no further stay” condition.
The application is generally lodged online, though paper applications are possible in some circumstances.
Your visa is generally approved for the duration of your studies plus 2 months or so. Ph.D. and Masters by Research students will generally receive an additional 6 months to handle marking of their theses.
You are permitted to work in Australia on a student visa once you have commenced your studies. In general, you can work for up to 40 hours a fortnight whilst your course is in session.
You must maintain enrolment in an approved course whilst in Australia – you are not allowed to swap to a lower course, but can swap to a higher level course whilst you are in Australia.
To obtain a student visa, you must provide evidence of adequate health insurance arrangements, and this is also an ongoing condition of your visa.
Student visas can be a good way to improve your skills and employability. Australian qualifications can also give you more options in applying for longer-stay visas such as Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visas and General Skilled Migration.
Many students may be eligible for migration options before they commence studies. If you would like to look at a student visa as part of your overall migration strategy, please book a consultation with one of our advisors.