Australia has a highly competitive education system that magnets foreign students from different countries. Records from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship show that in the June 2013 quarter, lodgements for student visas rose to 74,899, 20.9% higher than in the same quarter last year. With a 92.8% grant rate in the June 2013 quarter for this visa type, the Australian government allows foreign students to obtain quality education that contributes to future success. Although these are compelling numbers, students wanting to study in Australia need to be aware first of the cost and essential information that come with an Australian student visa application.
What is an Australian student visa?
This visa is the most appropriate type for international students who want to obtain a degree or continue their studies. Although visitor visas and working holiday visas permit approximately three and four months of study respectively, student visas provide this permission for the duration of the course.
This visa has seven subclasses, which indicate the type of institution where applicants want to study. The types of student visas are:
- Subclass 570 – English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
- Subclass 571 – Schools
- Subclass 572 – Vocation Education and Training
- Subclass 573 – Higher Education
- Subclass 574 – Postgraduate Research
- Subclass 575 – Non Award
- Subclass 576 – AusAID or Defence Sponsored
Student visa holders are allowed to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session; however, there is no limit to the number of work hours during course breaks. This visa condition ensures that visa holders devote most of their time to study and not to work. An exception is given to Subclass 574 holders undertaking higher degree by research studies, who may work unlimited hours once their Masters or PhD course has commenced.
What are the general requirements?
For initial eligibility, foreign students must be accepted for full-time study in a course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Other requirements include health insurance (Overseas Student Health Cover), financial support, English language proficiency, and health and character.
What is an Assessment Level?
Student visa applicants are assessed in their immigration risk. The factors considered in this assessment are the passport nationality and the student visa type of applicants. Out of the five assessment levels, Assessment Level 1 indicates low immigration risk, while Assessment Level 5 high risk. The higher the risk, the more documents are necessary to prove eligibility for a visa grant. This may also involve a costlier application process due to the number of necessary documents.
How much does the application cost?
Application charges vary depending on several factors. DIAC supports hiring expert migration agents in order to avoid difficulties in the application. National Visas has trained Registered Migration Agents who can help lodge complete student visa applications or provide assistance on other visa-related matters.
A student applying for a visa needs to pay a government charge of AU$535. If additional applicant is aged 18 above are included in the application, an additional charge of AU$405 is payable, while additional applicants under 18 have to pay AU$135. A subsequent temporary application charge is a possible government charge that must be paid per person for onshore applications. It must be noted that these charges may be different depending on the currency used.
Aside from government fees, non-government fees also need to be factored in. Applicants have to pay for medical examination, character clearance (if required), and certification/translation of documents. All of these come with variable costs and are payable to the authorities providing the documents.
How can National Visas alleviate the process?
National Visas agents can prepare and lodge visa applications for applicants who want to ensure a hassle-free process. The company offers Premier Visa Service for all Assessment Levels, with consolidated costs ranging from AU$999 to AU$3,999. Alternatively, costing AU$99, there is also the Visa Information Pack Service that is applicable to applicants who want to lodge their own visa application with help from one of the company’s Registered Migration Agents. Choosing any of these service options guarantees accurate visa information and professional assistance.
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