STUDENT VISAS – A door to your bright future
Australian economy is booming rapidly and one of the vigorous facets is none other than,” the Australian higher education sector”. Besides having many other industries, it can simply be stipulated by seeing the enormous growth of international students who are electing Australian higher education as their first preference and making a significant contribution to the Australian economy. The substantial proportion of international students in the Australian system set it apart from almost every other system in the world, and this internationalisation of higher education also brings Australia closer to the rest of the world – particularly Asia. Yet I would like to call the Australian dependence on international students in the higher education system as a ‘perfect storm’.
The most quotidian and prevalent visa to Australia is a “Student Visa”. You will be surprised if I provide you with the revenue in AUD Australian government generates every year by granting hundreds of thousands of visas every year. Yes, international education generates a record $20.3 billion for Australia every year.
Last year 350,000 international students were enrolled in universities — an increase of 100,000 in the preceding three years. According to the 2018 i-graduate International Student Satisfaction Survey, the opportunity to work in Australia following study was more important to students than the opportunity for part-time work during study.
- This survey, partly funded by the Department of Education and Training, found the following factors were most important to students coming to Australia:
- reputation of the qualification,
- reputation of the institution, and the
- reputation of the education.
Teacher reputation, opportunities for further study and social life were factors ranked immediately above the opportunity to work in Australia following studies.
Australia is trending in providing a simplified student visa framework (SSVF) on July 1st, 2016. Applying student visa became so simple and advanced that agents and international students can process the application by creating an online account. All the other subclasses of student visas converted into one visa subclass, which is “student visa (Subclass 500)”.
Student Visa (Subclass 500)
The following types of study are included on this visa:
- independent ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
- schools (primary and secondary)
- secondary school exchange program
- vocational education and training (VET)
- higher education
- postgraduate research
- non-award courses
- international students sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Defence.
Other student visa options
For shorter periods of study, you can apply for a Visitor or Working Holiday Visa. There is also a visa option specifically for student guardians.
Student Guardian (Subclass 590)
- Provides for certain persons to reside with a student in Australia, where the student requires a guardian, i.e.: the student is under 18 years of age.
- Study up to 3 months or study ELICOS for 20 hours per week for duration of visa.
- Meet Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement.
- Sufficient funds for airfares and living costs.
- Meet health and character requirements.
- Acceptable health insurance.
Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485)
- This visa allows eligible international students who have completed an Australian education to stay in Australia to gain work experience.
- You can work in Australia for a period of 18 months and up to 4 years, depending on your qualification.
- This visa does not restrict the type of work you may do or the number of hours you may work.
- Applications for this visa must be made in Australia and you must hold an eligible student visa in the last 6 months.
- You must meet Australian study, English proficiency, health insurance, health and character requirements.
- You must meet the specific requirements of the stream in which you are applying for this visa.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications have been developed with the specific goal of preparing students with skills for work. VET is designed to help people to join or re-join the workforce, move into a new career or gain additional skills in their existing career. VET qualifications have a very practical focus. As well as specific skills for your chosen occupation, a VET course will often include generic work-based topics such as workplace health and safety.
Universities and VET providers both offer qualifications that are nationally (and often internationally) recognised. Although there is some overlap between the qualification levels, in general, VET qualifications have an aim to provide a practical, work-oriented skills base. There are also differences in the grading and assessment process, with VET qualifications using competency-based assessment and Higher Education qualification generally using a grading approach to assessment.
Registered Training Organizations (RTOs) can offer the following qualifications: Certificates I, II, III and IV, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas, Vocational Graduate Certificates and Vocational Graduate Diplomas. Upskilled offers other qualifications (for example, Bachelor Degrees) in partnership with other Higher Education (HE) providers.
Australian Student Visa: How are Assessment Levels determined?
There are mainly three prominent sectors when is come to Assessment Level (AL), these are vocational education, higher education and post-graduate research sector. Now the question arises, what exactly the Assessment Level? and who imposes it on what? I will brief you on it – Let’s have a dialogue about the student visa program, which is consist of five different assessment levels. All levels bring into line all students visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country knocking doors in a particular education division.
In a layman terms, Assessment Level 1 (AL 1)- signifies the lowest level risk and Assessment Level (AL5) the maximum. The greater the Assessment level. The more the evidence an applicant has to exhibit to support their claims for the grant of a student visa.
In nutshell, each country is assigned an assessment level which is based on the calculated immigration risk posed by students from that country studying in that education sector. And the best part is that INDIA falls in an AL 2 country which means no financials, no English requirement at the time of visa application. It was determined as AL3 country previously. It simply indicates that Universities and institutes have also changed their requirements for Indians students who are keen to study in Australia. If the University wants, they can request IELS (case to case basis) but the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) do not require IELTS at lodgement. Some Universities may accept students without IELTS and financials
List of AL 2 Universities
Last but not the least, here is the list of Australian institutions which fall under AL2:
Australian Catholic University
Central Queensland University
Charles Darwin University
Charles Sturt University
Edith Cowan University
James Cook University
La Trobe University
Southern Cross University
Swinburne University of Technology
University of Newcastle
University of South Australia (Unisa)
University of Southern Queensland
University of the Sunshine Coast
University of Wollongong
Western Sydney University
Few tips to be considered whilst applying for a student visa to Australia:
It has been well said that,” There are many rivers to cross to our successful destinations. Never fear the crocodiles. They may look frightful, but they will not harm you. You will get there! With the right attitude, you ignore the ugly face of the shore and you can paddle your boat to the right destination!”. This above “saying” well matched with the obstacle students can face whilst applying for their dream education student visas to Australia, however they can simplify the process by acting wisely and keeping the following facts in their bucket:
- First and most common fact is to research the course framework
- Evaluate yourself and understand the academic/ course requirements accordingly
- Elect your dream merchant(institution) wisely
- Evaluate the English language competency for the chosen course
- Evaluate the application process
- Make sure you qualify for the financial stability and requirements related to your Tuition Fee, Airfares and living cost
- A strong General Temporary Entrant (GTE) statement is required
- Get your health examination done
- Don’t forget an adequate Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
- Always wait for your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) before applying for the associated student visa
- Align all your documents ready and apply
- Revise, Revise, Revise – once you fill the application, check again and again for any kind of errors as you don’t want your visa to be rejected because of an easily fixable mistake
At last, requirements and options for all types of visas are subject to diverge and it is in best interest to get updates on the website of “Department of Home Affairs”, where one can find the comprehensive nature of visas and different levels of study in Australia. Alternatively, another option can be of contacting education counsellors, who can assist you choosing the right career pathway along with helping you through your visa application.
- Hemant Dua