Australia is a country in the Southern Hemisphere, comprising the mainland of the Australian continent as well as the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Australia is divided into six states and two main territories, with Canberra as its capital, though there are ten territories.

The six states are New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. (Historically, each is a successor to one of the previous Australian colonies.) Each state has its own constitution, with its own legislature (parliament), judiciary and executive. The state parliaments have plenary legislative power, except that some areas of legislative power are exclusive to the federal parliament, many others are exercised concurrently with it and, in case of conflict between federal and state legislation, the federal legislation prevails. A decision of a state judiciary is subject to appeal to a federal court.

There are also ten territories, whose existence and governmental structure (if any) depend on federal legislation. The territories are distinguished for federal administrative purposes between internal territories, i.e. those within the Australian mainland, and external

territories, although the differences among all the territories relate to population rather than location.

Two of the three internal territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which was established to be a neutral site of the federal capital, and the Northern Territory—function almost as states. Each has self-government, through its legislative assembly, but the assembly’s legislation can be federally overridden. Each has its own judiciary, with appeal to a federal court. The third internal territory, the Jervis Bay Territory, is the product of Australia’s complex relationship with its capital city; rather than having the same level of autonomy as the other internal territories, it has services provided by the ACT.

There are also seven external territories, not part of the Australian mainland or of any state. Three of them have a small permanent population, two have tiny and transient populations, and two are uninhabited. All are directly administered by the federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (or the Department of the Environment and Energy in the case of the Australian Antarctic Territory). Norfolk Island, which is permanently populated, was partially self-governing until 2015. Government in the Commonwealth of Australia is exercised on three levels: federal, states and territories, and local government.

The official language of Australia is English, and the currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). Australia is a unique and diverse country in every way – in culture, population, climate, geography, and history.


Australian culture is as broad and varied as the country’s landscape. Australia is multicultural and multiracial and this is reflected in the country’s food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience. Australia has an important heritage from its indigenous people, which plays a defining role in the cultural landscape. This diversity of influences creates a cultural environment in Australia that is lively, energized, innovative and outward looking.


As of December 2019, Australia’s population is 25,342,945. The most populous states are New South Wales and Victoria, with their respective capitals, Sydney and Melbourne, the largest cities in Australia. Australia’s population is concentrated along the coastal region of Australia from Adelaide to Cairns, with a small concentration around Perth, Western Australia. The centre of Australia is sparsely populated.


The majority of Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year. The northern states of Australia are typically warm all the time, with the southern states experiencing cool winters but rarely sub-zero temperatures. Snow falls on the higher mountains during the winter months, enabling skiing in southern New South Wales and Victorian ski resorts, as well as the smaller resorts in Australia’s island state, Tasmania.


Australia is an island continent and the world’s sixth largest country (7,682,300 sq km). Lying between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the country is approximately 4,000 km from east to west and 3,200 km from north to south, with a coastline 36,735 km long. Canberra is Australia’s capital city. With a population of approximately 380,000 people and situated in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra is roughly half way between the two largest cities Melbourne and Sydney. Australia has 19 listed World Heritage properties. Australia is also famous for its landmark buildings including the Sydney Harbour Bridge; its ancient geology, as well as for its high country.


Australia’s first inhabitants, the Aboriginal people, are believed to have migrated from some unknown point in Asia to Australia between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. While Captain James Cook is credited with Australia’s European discovery in 1770, a Portuguese possibly first sighted the country, while the Dutch are known to have explored the coastal regions in the 1640s. The first European settlement of Australia was in January 1788, when the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. Originally established as a penal colony, by the 1830s the number of free settlers was increasing. Transportation of convicts to the eastern colonies was abolished in 1852 and to the western colonies in 1868.

Legal system

Australia follows a Westminster system of government and law inherited from the British who originally colonized the country. There are two main political parties and a number of minor parties, which make up the Commonwealth Parliament. Each state and territory also has its own government.

Australia is known globally as being one of the world’s most diverse and welcoming countries, and it is something for which we take great pride. In fact, of Australia’s 24 million population, almost half (47%) of all Australians were either born overseas or have one parent born overseas. We also know a thing or two about languages, with more than 260 languages spoken in Australian homes: in addition to English, the most common are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese and Greek.

Australia’s diversity and friendly attitude is matched by its economic stability. To date, Australia has experienced more than 20 years of continued economic growth, weathering the 2008 global financial crisis better than most advanced economies. And Australia is as competitive on the global economic stage as it is in the world’s sporting arenas! Not surprising, with more than 120 certified sports organizations around the country, covering popular activities such as AFL, cricket, football (soccer), rugby league, golf, tennis, netball and hockey to name just a few.

You may not know but Australia is the biggest island in the world, the sixth-biggest country in the world in land area, and the only nation to govern an entire continent. Within this expansive country, there are more than 500 national parks and more than 2,700 conservation areas, ranging from wildlife sanctuaries to Aboriginal reserves. There are also seventeen UNESCO World Heritage sites – more than any other country – including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park, Lord Howe Island Group, Tasmanian Wilderness, Fraser Island and the Sydney Opera House.

But many people around the world know Australia for being a beautiful country. It also has world-class infrastructure, with five of the top 40 cities with the best infrastructure in the world. It also has a reputation for building ‘big’ things – over 150 in fact from the Big Banana in New South Wales, to the Big Koala in Victoria, the Big Mango in Queensland, and the Big Ram in Western Australia. It’s worth a trip to see them all!

With all these wonderful attributes around Australia, It has good reason to be happy. So much so, it was recently ranked as one of the happiest country in the world.

World Class Education

Australia is recognized as a great place to live – but did you know Australia also offers a world class education? The Australian education system has produced scientists, designers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists and humanitarians who have changed the world, winning awards from Oscars to Nobel prizes. Their global achievements include the “black box” now on every airplane, the Earth hour initiative, and the invention of Wi-Fi. Australia is proud of the individuals who have studied and worked in Australia (whether they were born here or another country) and gone on to achieve great things and contribute to making the world a better place.

Global Recognition

By studying in Australia, you will receive a qualification that’s recognized and sought after around the world. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) allows students to easily move through the education system here and provides an easy way for countries around the world to recognize your qualification, and issue the comparable qualifications for local use. Visit the AQF website ( for more information.

Quality Assurance

For over 20 years Australia has led the world in putting in place systems and processes to ensure that international students receive the high quality education they expect. These measures include:

  • The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (, which sets out the legal framework governing delivery of education to overseas students studying in Australia on a student visa.
  • The Tuition Protection Service (, which helps you find an alternative course or refund your unspent tuition fees in the rare case that your institution (education provider) can’t continue to offer your course.
  • The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) ( is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector. ASQA regulates courses and training providers to ensure nationally approved quality standards are met.
  • The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) ( regulates and assures the quality of Australia’s higher education sector. It undertakes both compliance assessments and quality assessments.
  • Ombudsman organizations that can investigate complaints about problems that international students have with their institutions. You can find out more about these organizations on the Support Services page in the Australian Education section of this website.

International students rate Australia highly

In 2012, the Australian Government, in collaboration with peak education bodies and state/territory government education departments, conducted a survey of current international students to obtain information about their living and learning experience in Australia. The key findings of the survey included:

  • 87% of international student respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their overall experience in Australia.
  • 86% of international student respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their study experience in Australia.
  • 88% of international student respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with living in Australia.

Your learning environment

By choosing to study in Australia, you will join hundreds of thousands of students from Australian and all over the world – including many from your home country – who are discovering new friends and opportunities in this beautiful country. You will work closely with classmates, researchers, instructors, and other faculty – collaboration is a key part of our students’ successes. And in many cases you can gain practical and hands-on training in the industry in which you are studying. This combination of teamwork, shared learning, and industry focus will provide you with a leading edge for your further studies and career.

Australia – a research intensive country

Australia has a long and proud tradition of world class research and development that has benefited millions around the world. From the discovery of penicillin in 1945 and the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance in 1960, through to observations which led to the discovery of the accelerating Universe in 2011. Australia has a proud record of contributing to the benefits of the world:

  • Through the Backing Australia’s Ability initiative, A$2.9 billion will be invested over the next five years to fund research that will stimulate economic and scientific innovation.
  • Australia is investing over A$140 million will be spent over the next five years to establish Federation Fellowships. The fellowships aim to recruit world-class researchers to Australia, with up to five of the fellowships each year awarded to high-profile non-Australian researchers from overseas.
  • There are 35 special Research Centers and Key Centers of Teaching and Research based at Australian universities undertaking high-level research, and providing a diverse range of undergraduate, postgraduate and specialized professional education courses in a variety of fields.
  • Australia has established an additional 63 Cooperative Research Centers which foster joint research between universities and private industry.

With about 50,000 people in higher education organizations involved in R&D, Australia has a strong research and development (R&D) capabilities. The world famous Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the biggest government R&D agency in Australia, is one of the world’s largest and most diverse research institutions. It’s is involved in more than 740 research activities with scientific organizations and agencies in more than 80 countries and undertakes research in fields such as health, agribusiness, information technology, manufacturing, sustainable energy, mining and minerals, space, the environment and natural resources.

The Australian education system provides primary, secondary and tertiary education.

School education (Primary and Secondary)

School education is similar across all of Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years and divided into:

  • Primary school– Runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Preparatory through to Year 6 or 7.
  • Secondary school– Runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.
  • Senior secondary school– Runs for two years, Years 11 and 12.
Tertiary education

Tertiary education includes both higher education (including universities) and vocational education and training (VET).

Language of instruction

English is the official language of Australia and the main language of instruction in the education system. Many schools offer bilingual programs or programs in other languages.

Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).  The AQF was established in 1995 and is a national policy that covers qualifications from the tertiary education sector (higher education and vocational education and training) in addition to the school-leaving certificate; the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This allows you to move easily from one level of study to the next, and from one institution to another, as long as you satisfy student visa requirements. It allows for choice and flexibility in career planning. All qualifications in the AQF help prepare you for both further study and your working life.

If you are studying an AQF qualification, you can be sure that your institution is Government-authorised and nationally accredited, and that your degree or other AQF qualification will be genuine.

Australian institutions are linked across the country and across the world, which makes it easy to move throughout the education system between courses or institutions and formal agreement and recognition frameworks mean every step of the path will contribute to your future no matter what your study or career goals.

Australian Qualification Framework

School Education

Tertiary Education

Vocational Education & Training-TAFE/ Private RTO Education Provider

Higher Education-College/University



Certificate I

(Level 1)

Diploma (Level 4)

Primary education (1 Year–Year 6/7)

Certificate II

(Level 2)

Advanced Diploma/Associate Degree (Level 5)

Secondary Education (Year 7/8-10)

Certificate III

(Level 3)

Bachelor’s Degree (Level 7)

Senior Secondary (year 11 &12)

Certificate IV

(Level 4)

Bachelor’s Honors, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate (Level 8)


Diploma(Level 4)

Master’s Degree –Coursework, Research & Extended (Level 9)


Advanced Diploma/Associate Degree (Level 5)

Doctoral Degree (Level 10)

*Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas are also awarded by registered training organizations (RTOs) as VET qualifications

Education pathways

If you don’t meet the entry requirements to get into the course you want in Australia, there are many pathways that can help you reach your goal. This might include studying in an Australian school, taking English language preparation or studying a vocational education and training course. Another pathway may be Foundation Studies – one-year intensive preparatory courses available through the majority of institutions. These will give you the skills you need to enter an undergraduate (Bachelor Degree) course.

Foundation Studies

If you don’t meet academic requirements, there are a few options to prepare you for further study. Depending on your previous studies and the final qualification you want to study, you can enrol in secondary school or Foundation Studies.

Foundation Studies is usually a one-year intensive preparatory course that will give you the skills you need to enter an undergraduate course at a university or higher education institution. These studies are usually divided into streams such as business studies and science studies, and offer both compulsory and elective subjects. English language support is usually available.

Many schools, vocational education and training institutions, and universities offer Foundation Studies courses. The common feature of Foundation Studies is that a university allocates a provisional place in an undergraduate program assuming you achieve the prescribed grades.

Vocational education

Whether you’re looking to move straight into the workforce, or to take an initial step in your tertiary education, an Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification can take you where you want to go.

Australia’s VET sector is based on a partnership between governments and industry. VET qualifications are provided by government institutions, called Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, as well as private institutions. Australian governments (federal and state) provide funding, develop policies, and contribute to regulation and quality assurance of the sector. Industry and employer groups contribute to training policies and priorities, and in developing qualifications that deliver skills to the workforce.

Study with the experts…

Nothing is more exciting than learning from someone who shares the same passions as you do – and who’s already been there and done it at the highest level. In Australia, VET teaching staff are not just industry-aware, but have actual experience in their fields of expertise – maintaining the currency of their knowledge, and modifying their courses to reflect changing industry focus and needs. And that means you learn not only the theory, but also the reality of the subjects you’re studying.

…And learn on the job.

Many of Australian VET courses incorporate a period of on-site learning, which means you don’t just learn in a classroom, but get priceless industry experience in a genuine work environment. It’s real-world industry experience that ensures your qualifications fully prepare you for employment in your chosen industry.

Our quality assurance

In Australia, the quality of your education is guaranteed. In fact, the wellbeing of all international students, the quality of their educational experience, and the provision of up-to-date and accurate information is protected by law – under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000. On top of this, a national VET Regulator – Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)  – ensures the quality of our education to more than 1.2 million students – including some 230,000 international students involved in vocational education and training.

Universities and Higher Education

Higher education courses can be taken to earn an advanced degree and continue your studies in Australia. There are three main types of higher education which lead to Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees.

In Australia it is quite common for students to enrol in a double or combined Bachelor Degree program which leads to the award of two Bachelor Degrees. This is most common in the fields of arts, commerce, law and science.

Australian institutions offer a wide range of courses – from science to management and commerce, humanities to engineering, and law to health sciences. Australian institutions rank among the world’s best by discipline, particularly in engineering and technology, medicine, environmental science, and accounting and finance.

There are 43 universities in Australia (40 Australian universities, two international universities, and one private specialty university). Along with our universities, many other institutions offer higher education courses. You can search for institutions and courses using the Institution and Course Search on this website.

Quality Assurance

Australia has a national regulatory and quality agency for higher education – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). It was established by the Australian Government to monitor quality, and regulate university and non-university higher education providers against a set of standards developed by the independent Higher Education Standards Panel.

In addition, the following student rights are protected by law under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS):

  • The well-being of all international students.
  • The quality of students’ education experience.
  • The provision of up-to-date and accurate information.
Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching

The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website makes it possible to compare higher education institutions and study areas, based on the results of thousands of surveys completed by domestic and international current and former students. Users will be able to compare the overall satisfaction of current students and recent graduates, as well as the percentage of graduates moving into full-time employment and their median salary.
You can visit the website at:

Academic year dates in Australia

The academic year in Australia varies depending on the type of study you are undertaking.

Many institutions also offer a mid-year, or second semester start. Start dates and the number of semesters vary by course and institution, so please check directly on your institution’s website for details.

Below is a general guide on the academic year for the different levels of study in Australia:

  • Length– 13 years in total (Kindergarten/Preparatory to Year 12)
  • Semesters– 4 (usually called terms’)
  • Starts– Late January/early February
  • Length– From 5 weeks to 1 year
  • Semesters– The year is split into weeks
  • Starts– Throughout the year
  • Length– 1 year
  • Semesters– The semester breaks will depend on your course
  • Starts– February but can vary by course and institutions
Vocational Education and Training
  • Length– 1 to 4 years
  • Semesters– Two
  • Starts– February, but can vary by course and institutions
  • Length– Typically 3 years (4 years for honours degree)
  • Semesters– Two, although some institutions offer three semesters (trimesters)
  • Starts– Typically March, but can vary by course and institution
  • Length– 1 to 2 years
  • Semesters– Two, although some institutions offer three semesters (trimesters)
  • Starts– Typically March, but can vary by course and institution
  • Length– 3 years
  • Semesters– As most doctoral candidates do not attend class, there are usually no formal semester
  • Starts– Your start date will be negotiated with your supervisor
Course credits and exemptions

In Australia, you can use course credits you have already earned to build on your studies.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), or credit transfer, refers to the recognition of previous informal and formal training, work experience, professional development, professional licensing and examinations, and other work-based education and training. Credit transfer is available in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs, at the discretion of the institution. Credit can also be given for previous vocational education and training (VET) studies.

Australia has a system to recognise qualifications from other countries. The Australian Government organisation National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR)(opens in a new window) helps Australian institutions to recognise qualifications from overseas, allowing for recognition of your previous studies.

Below is a brief explanation of the difference between credits and exemptions.

  • You need an overall number of units or subjects during a course to earn your qualification.
  • If you bring work or study experience from somewhere else, your new provider may allow credit that contributes to your total, so you don’t have to repeat classes.
  • An exemption also means you’re excused from attending a unit or subject.
  • If you get an exemption rather than a credit, you might have to take another unit or subject to earn credits and contribute to your overall qualification.
How do you get a course credit or exemption?

The requirements and process vary by institution and course, but generally details of your work experience can be anything that proves your experience – from a workplace reference to a published work. Study experience will usually be an academic transcript or qualification documents from your last education institution, as well as a description of the curriculum you covered.

Once you have decided on a preferred course and institution, contact one of their course specialists and tell them about your study plan. They will be able to give advice about the best education pathway that allows for credits or exemptions and suits your goals.

Teaching styles and assessment methods

A variety of teaching methods are used, including: teacher-directed learning, student research, group projects and presentations, visual presentations, e-learning and interactive classrooms. A variety of assessment methods are used to assess student outcomes. These may include individual research projects, group assignments, oral and visual presentations, the use of technology including PowerPoint, podcast or vodcast presentations, as well as the more traditional class tests and assignments. National and state testing programs ensure standards are met and maintained.

Grading System

It is quite obvious that the grading system varies from one country to the other. It can be quite challenging for overseas students to understand the grading system in Australia, especially when they are new here.  We have seen overseas students getting upset about the “D” grade in the Universities and Tafe’s, so we created this nifty guide about Australian grading system at various education levels. Please note that each and every state, university or institute may have different percentages and grade names. You may need to check with your university or institute about the grading system they use.


First, let’s have a look at the university grading system. Although most universities will have similar grading scales which includes grades given below, some universities may have different percentage scales. The grading scale given below is for the undergraduate (Bachelor Degree Programs) and postgraduate programs (Master Degrees Programs).






High Distinction

80% and above



70% – 79%



60% – 69%



50% – 59%



49% and below

If you are planning to study a Degree with Honours, your grades will look different than the usual undergraduate and postgraduate grades. Honours Degree is usually an additional year of study after completing an undergraduate degree. It usually requires a student to complete independent but supervised research in their field of study after completing the third year of Bachelor’s degree.






First Class Honours

80% and above


Second Class Honours (Division A)

75% to 79%


Second Class Honours (Division B)

70% to 74%


Third Class Honours

65% to 69%



50% to 64%



49% and below

Vocational Education and Training

The vocational education system in Australia does not have university style grades but rather based on the concept that you can either complete the task or not. So those students who are planning to undertake qualifications like Certificates (I to IV), Diploma and Advanced Diploma, they may get different grades in their certificates than at the university levels. If the institute decides to use the grading system, it might use the same scales as university undergraduate scales (given above). But since vocational education is based on competency levels rather than grades, most of the vocational education provider will use grades like these:






Competent (Pass)



Not Yet Competent (Fail)


Primary, Secondary and Senior Secondary

In Australia, every state and territory has their own grading scales, so it is extremely important to understand that grades may look different than the one given below in the table.  As an overseas student, you can study in Australia after the age of 6. Usually, the result reports of the students are given to the parents at least 2 times a year using the grading scale between A to F. Overseas students who are planning to study at Primary and Secondary level education in Australia, your grades may look something like:







85% and above



70% – 84%



51% – 69%



31% – 50%


Very Low

26% – 30%



25% and below


Australian Qualification Framework qualifications are accredited by:

In higher education, the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) is the national accrediting body which:

  • registers higher education providers and universities,
  • accredits qualifications developed by non self-accrediting providers, and
  • authorises universities and designated higher education providers to self-accredit their qualifications.

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) maintains the National Register of higher education providers which lists all providers, including authorized self-accrediting higher education providers and the qualifications they are authorized to issue. Self-accrediting higher education providers, such as universities, are authorized by TEQSA to accredit their own AQF qualifications.

If you wish to know more about a self-accrediting provider, click on the National Register of higher education providers. This will take you to the websites of universities and self-accrediting higher education providers where you also can search for the qualifications these providers issue.

In the vocational education and training sector there are three bodies authorized to accredit qualifications.

  • The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)accredits qualifications and registers national providers and/or providers for international students.
  • The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) accredits qualifications and registers providers operating solely in Victoria issuing qualifications only to Australian students.
  • The Western Australian Training Accreditation Council accredits qualifications and registers Western Australian providers operating solely in Western Australia issuing qualifications only to Australian students.

Information on accredited qualifications in the vocational education and training sector can be found on the National Register on VET in Australia which is located on the website,

All applicants for a Student visa must show they are coming to Australia temporarily to gain a quality education. The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement is not intended to exclude students who, after studying in Australia, develop skills Australia needs and who then go on to apply for permanent residence.

Write a personal statement addressing the GTE requirement

As an applicant provide a personal statement in English addressing the GTE requirement. If you are not comfortable writing it in English, you can write your statement in your own language and submit a translated copy with your application. 

You can provide further details of the written statement in the application form or attach a separate document with supporting documents.

It is recommended you provide evidence for the information you provide in your written statement. . Generic statements unsupported by evidence will not be weighed heavily in the GTE assessment.

Your personal circumstances are considered while make a decision. When it is assessed whether you are a genuine temporary entrant, your situation as a whole is considered.

Ministerial Direction 69 (52KB PDF) sets out a number of factors Immigration takes into account when determining if you meet the GTE requirement. It is not a checklist. They encourage you to read Ministerial Direction 69 before drafting your GTE statement. Examples of factors we might take into account include:

What evidence and information to include in your GTE statement

Australia Immigration encourages you to provide evidence or information about:

Previous study
  • academic transcripts showing qualifications achieved
  • name of the education provider(s)
  • length of study
  • certificates of attainment
Gap in previous study
  • reasons why there is a gap in your studies including where you did not maintain enrolment
Current employment
  • your current employer
  • company address
  • period of employment
  • details of your position
  • the name and contact details of someone who can confirm the circumstances of your employment
Ties to home country or country of residence
  • evidence of financial, family or social ties. You need to show you have significant incentives to return home
Economic situation in home country or country of residence
  • documents showing employment or business activities for 12 months before lodging an application
  • potential employment offers including salary and other benefits,  after course completion
  • income tax return or bank statements
Employment in a third country

Potential employment offers, including salary and other benefits, after course completion

Include as much information and evidence as possible in your GTE statement to help give Australia Immigration a full view of your situation. This will help Australia Immigration make a decision on your student visa application. Otherwise, Immigration might need to ask you for more information, delaying Immigration decision on your visa application.

How Immigration assesses your GTE statement

The GTE requirement is used to make sure the student visa program is accessed as intended. The student visa program is not a way for international students to maintain ongoing residency in Australia.

The GTE requirement helps identify applicants who are using the student visa program for motives other than gaining a quality education.

Situations in your home country (or country of residence)

Australia Immigration considers your:

  • reason for not studying in your home country or region if a similar course is available there
  • ties to your home country that support an intention to return after study is finished
  • economic situation
  • military service commitments
  • political and civil unrest in your home country
Potential situation in Australia

Australia Immigration considers your:

  • ties to Australia that present a strong incentive to stay in Australia
  • level of knowledge of the proposed course and education provider
  • previous study and qualifications
  • planned living arrangements
  • financial stability
Value of the course to your future

Immigration considers:

  • if the course is consistent with your current level of education
  • if the course is relevant to past or proposed future employment in your home country or a third country
  • expected salary and other benefits in your home country or a third country obtained with your qualifications from the proposed course of study
Your immigration history

Australia Immigration considers:

  • previous visa applications for Australia or other countries
  • visa refusals or cancellations

If you are a minor, Australia Immigration considers the intentions of your parent, legal guardian or spouse.

Once you have confirmed where you will be studying, you can look for accommodation that suits your needs and budget. Some tips when searching for accommodation include:

  • The costs will vary depending on your chosen state, city, and type of accommodation.
  • Always confirm the total cost and any other expenses you may be required to pay, such as a bond and utility fees.
  • Consider how far it is from your campus and whether it is easily accessible by public transport, such as bus or train.
  • Find out what shopping centres, hospitals and emergency service facilities, and other amenities are nearby.
Short-term accommodation

Short-term accommodation options you might want to consider when you first arrive in Australia include:

  • Hostels and discounted rates on hotels.
  • Temporary housing which may be offered through your institution while you get settled. Talk to your institution’s international support staff or check their website for details.

You can rent or ‘lease’ a property by yourself or with friends. This can be done through a real estate agent or privately. When renting a property you will need to pay a security deposit or ‘bond’ (which is usually four weeks rent), as well as rent in advance (also usually four weeks). The bond is held to repair any damage that you, your house mates or house guests cause to the property while renting. Some, or all, of this amount may be refunded to you once your tenancy agreement has terminated.

For more information on your rights and obligations when renting in Australia you should visit the relevant government Fair Trading agency in your state/territory.

On Campus

Campus living can be a great option to minimize travel. Most universities have comfortable and furnished apartment-style living on campus or close by, sometimes with cleaning and meals included. Contact your institution directly to find out the accommodation options they have available and how the costs compare with organizing your own accommodation.


With homestay, you will live with a family in their home. Homestay can be a good option for younger students as you will have all the comforts of an established home, often with meals and cleaning included. Families offering homestay accommodation to international students are thoroughly screened to ensure they can provide a suitable living environment for students.

Legal protection

You have certain responsibilities to meet when it comes to paying accommodation expenses on time, cleaning and maintenance. You also have the right by law to feel secure in your property, maintained with working facilities. If there are any problems with your accommodation, talk to your agent or landlord (if renting), your international student support staff for on-campus living or the service where you found your homestay.

There are also organizations such as tenants unions and consumer advocates that can provide assistance. To find out more visit the relevant government Fair Trading agency in your state/territory.

Living costs in Australia

Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of your financial preparation. For your reference, here are some of the costs associated with living and studying in Australia (all costs are in Australian dollars).

The costs below are an approximate guide only. Students should be aware that these costs can vary depending on your study location in Australia.

  • Hostels and Guesthouses– $90 to $150 per week
  • Shared Rental– $85 to $215 per week
  • On campus– $90 to $280 per week
  • Homestay– $235 to $325 per week
  • Rental– $165 to $440 per week
  • Boarding schools– $11,000 to $22,000 a year
Other living expenses
  • Groceries and eating out– $80 to $280 per week
  • Gas, electricity– $35 to $140 per week
  • Phone and Internet– $20 to $55 per week
  • Public transport– $15 to $55 per week
  • Car (after purchase)– $150 to $260 per week
  • Entertainment– $80 to $150 per week
Minimum cost of living

The Department of Home Affairs ( has financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia. From 1st February 2018 the 12 month living cost is:

  • You– $21,041
  • Partner or spouse– $7,362
  • Child– $3,152

All costs are per year in Australian dollars. To convert to your own currency, visit

The Australian Government provides information and guidance on managing your finances. You can read more at

The ‘Insider Guides Cost of Living Calculator’ is also a useful tool to help estimate your cost of living in Australia

If you experience financial trouble while in Australia, talk to your institution’s international student support staff for assistance.

Australia has a special system of health cover for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). It will help you pay for medical or hospital care you may need while you’re studying in Australia; it will also contribute towards the cost of most prescription medicines and an ambulance in an emergency. When studying in Australia, you will need OSHC for yourself, and any family travelling with you, before you arrive. It is a requirement of your student visa that you maintain OSHC for the duration of your time on a student visa in Australia.

  • All student visa holders must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance in Australia.
  • You must not arrive in Australia before your health insurance starts. If you are in Australia and do not have adequate health insurance, you are in breach of visa condition 8501.
  • Your education provider might organize your OSHC coverage for you, or you can select an approved OSHC provider yourself and pay the policy.
  • You will need OSHC coverage for the duration of your visa.
  • If your education provider arranges your OSHC coverage, you will need to know the name of your health insurance provider, the date that your policy starts and finishes and should be aware of the terms and conditions of your policy.
  • If you arrange OSHC coverage yourself you will also need to know the policy number to include in the visa application.
  • Exceptions:You do not need OSHC if you are:
  • a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
  • a Swedish student covered by Kammarkollegiet
  • a Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
  • If you are studying at more than one educational provider and both are arranging OSHC, you will have to ensure that there is no gap between policies. This means that as one policy expires the next commences immediately.
  • If you have a child born after your arrival in Australia, and you only have a single OSHC policy you must change that to a family policy.
  • If family members join you after your arrival in Australia they will have to demonstrate that they have an OSHC policy for the duration of their visas.
Frequently Asked Question About Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
What is OSHC?

OSHC is insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. OSHC will also pay limited benefits for pharmaceuticals and ambulance services.

What does OSHC cover?
  • OSHC policies assist to cover the cost of hospital and medical treatment.
  • Benefits are also paid for ambulance services but only limited benefits for pharmaceuticals apply, limited to $50 per pharmaceutical item to a maximum of $300 a year for single membership ($600 for a family membership).
  • Travelers entering Australia may bring in medicines and medical devices for immediate use and to import small quantities for personal use. For more information see the Therapeutic Goods Administration website – Entering Australia and Personal Importation Scheme.
  • OSHC does not pay for general treatment (ancillary, or extras cover) such as dental, optical or physiotherapy. If you require cover for these treatments, you may take Extras OSHC provided by an OSHC provider or general treatment cover with any Australian private health insurer. You can also choose to supplement OSHC with other insurance such as international travel insurance.
Who has to take out OSHC?

Overseas students must maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of their student visa. This includes the student and their family members such as, spouses and children under 18 years old.OSHC is considered adequate health insurance. Students from Sweden, Norway, and Belgium may have special arrangements under their own national schemes. To find out if special arrangements apply please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

For the purposes of OSHC, ‘overseas student’ means:

  • a person who is the holder of a student visa; or
  • a person who:
    • is an applicant for a student visa; and
    • is the holder of a bridging visa; and
    • was immediately before being granted the bridging visa, the holder of a student visa.
Which insurers offer OSHC?

Any Australian Health fund can offer OSHC policies for overseas students provided it has signed a legal agreement with the Commonwealth in order to provide these services. This agreement is called a Deed. Currently, five Australian health funds have signed the Deed and provide OSHC policies for overseas students;

  • Australian Health Management
  • Peoplecare Health Limited (Allianz Global Assistance offers OSHC products and policies under an arrangement with Peoplecare)
  • BUPA Australia
  • Medibank Private 
  • nib Health Funds Limited

Details and costs of policies, including what an OSHC policy will and won’t cover, and any waiting periods that may apply to certain treatment types, can be obtained by contacting each insurer directly. .

Can I take out OSHC insurance with an overseas insurer?

No. Only Australian registered private health insurers can offer OSHC. This is so the Australian Government can monitor and regulate insurers covering people living temporarily in Australia. The Government is not able to protect the interests of people insured by overseas insurance companies in the same way.

What if I have a problem with my OSHC insurer, my policy or my bill for treatment?
  • If you have a problem with your OSHC insurer, you should contact your insurer in the first instance. 
  • If you are unable to resolve your enquiry, you can contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO). The PHIO provides a free independent service to help consumers with health insurance problems and enquiries.

  • The PHIO can deal with complaints from health fund members, health funds, private hospitals or medical practitioners. Complaints must be about a health insurance arrangement.

    Phone: 1300 362 072 (within Australia) 

    Email: [email protected]



Working while you study in Australia can help complement your study and living experience. There are a number of reasons you might want to undertake part time work while studying in Australia, including assisting with living expenses and gaining work experience in your study area.

Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks while your course is in session, and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break, but before you undertake any paid work you need to make sure your visa allows you to work. Find out more at the Department of Home Affairs (https:// ) website.

Paid Work

Australia has a wide range of industries and many have part time employment opportunities, including:

  • Retail– supermarkets, department and clothing stores.
  • Hospitality– cafes, bars and restaurants.
  • Tourism– hotels and motels.
  • Agricultural– farming and fruit-picking.
  • Sales and telemarketing.
  • Administration or Clerical roles.
  • Tutoring.

If you have existing qualifications and/or professional work experience, you may be able to secure casual or part time work in your field.


Paid or unpaid internships can be a great way to get exposure to the professional, financial and creative industries. Learn more about getting an internship on the Internships page in the Education System section of this website.


There are many charities and non-government organizations (NGOs) in Australia and they always need volunteers to help out. It can be a great way to meet friends, get some hands on work experience and give back to the community. To find out more about volunteering, start your search at:

Your Rights

Everyone working in Australia, including international students or those on working holiday visas, have basic rights at work. These rights protect entitlement to:

  • A minimum wage and superannuation.
  • Challenge of unfair dismissal from the job
  • Leave, breaks and rest periods.
  • A healthy and safe work environment.

To find out more about your work rights visit the Australian Government’s Fair Work Ombudsman’s website or call them on 13 13 94. You can also some common myths about being paid and working in Australia as an international student.

If you’re a temporary resident working in Australia your employer has to pay super for you if you are eligible.

When you leave Australia, you can claim your super as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) if you meet all the requirements. To find out more about super for temporary residents visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

In Australia, employers (your boss) must also do all they can to make sure your job does not hurt you or make you sick. This law is called work health and safety (WHS) or occupational health and safety (OHS).

The law also says your boss must have insurance for you in case you are hurt at work. This is called workers’ compensation. If you are hurt or get sick at work, the insurance may pay for your medical treatment and for your wages until you can work again.

This covers all workers in Australia, even if you are on a temporary visa. Visit Safe Work Australia for more information to download the latest checklist.

You will also need to get a tax file number to work in Australia. Visit the Australian Taxation Office  website to find out more information on getting a tax file number, as well as information about paying taxes in Australia.

Finding Work

There are plenty of ways to find work that suits you, including:

  • Newspapers and online job sites.
  • Some institutions provide job notice-boards on campus and online. Contact your institution’s international student support staff to find out what options your institution offers.
  • Register your details at a recruitment firm; many of them help place people in casual or short-term work.
Work Conditions for Student Visa Holders

If you are a student visa holder, you and your dependant family members have permission to work included with your visa. You and your family members must not breach the work conditions that apply to your student visa. You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session, and unlimited hours when your course is out of session. However, work that is formally registered as part of your course is not included in the 40 hours per fortnight limitation.

Student visa holders and their dependants who are subject to visa condition 8104 or 8105, may take part in volunteer work outside of the 40 hours per fortnight work limitation if:

  • their main purpose is to study in Australia and voluntary work remains secondary to this, and
  • the work involved would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident, and
  • the work is genuinely voluntary for a non-profit organization and no remuneration, in cash or kind, is received in return for the activity.

Unpaid work that does not fit within the above description of volunteer work is counted towards the 40 hours per fortnight limitation. If you are a postgraduate research student:

  • you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake
  • if you have commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.
Family Members Granted Permission to Work

Family Members:

  • must not start work until the primary visa holder has commenced their course in Australia
  • can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times unless the primary visa holder has commenced a course towards a masters or doctoral degree and holds a Student visa (subclass 500). In this case there is no limit on the number of hours a family member might work.

A fortnight is a period of 14 days commencing on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.

An example of how 40 hours a fortnight is calculated: After their course has commenced, a student visa holder works the following numbers of hours over a four week period:

  • week one – 15 hours work
  • week two – 25 hours work
  • week three – 25 hours work
  • week four – 10 hours work.

In the above example, the total hours worked in week two and week three is more than 40 hours. This means the student is non-compliant with the work limitation and may be subject to visa cancellation.

Defining course in session and out of session

Immigration Australia considers your course to be in session:

  • for the duration of the advertised semesters, including exam periods
  • when you are undertaking another course, during a break from your main course and points from that course will be credited to your main course.

Immigration Australia considers your course to be out of session:

  • during scheduled course breaks
  • if your course has been deferred or suspended in line with Standard 9 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.
  • if you have completed your course as scheduled (as per the dates listed on your CoE) and still hold a valid student visa
  • if your enrolment has been cancelled due to the default of your education provider until you secure alternative enrolment and commence the course. 
Additional Information about Student Visa Work Conditions

You can view your visa online using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). VEVO is a free internet service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows you, and your employer or education provider (with your permission), to view your visa details online.

Tax File Number

You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work in Australia. This is available from the Australian Tax Office.

Your Workplace Rights

Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law. The Fair Work Ombudsman Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements. More information is available about Workplace rights – for all visa holders working in Australia.

Applying under the Post-Study Work Stream

The following provides information about the Australian study requirement specific to subclass 485 visa applicants under the Post-Study Work stream.

Eligible qualifications

To meet the Australian study requirement, the course/courses must have resulted in an eligible qualification. The eligible qualifications differ depending on which stream of the subclass 485 visa the applicant selects.

For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 visa under the Post-Study Work stream, only study that results in the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification will be considered. An eligible degree level qualification is a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • Bachelor (honours) degree
  • Masters by coursework degree
  • Masters (extended) degree
  • Masters by research degree
  • Doctoral degree.

Study resulting in a diploma level qualification or trade qualification will not be considered.

As an example a student may complete a one year Bachelor degree followed by a one year Masters degree and meet the Australian study requirement under the Post-Study Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.

Study must be at a Certain Level

Only certain degree level qualifications undertaken at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 7 or above (Bachelor degree level or above), which leads to the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification, may be considered towards meeting the Australian study requirement. An eligible degree level qualification is a Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters (extended) degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree.

This means that degree level courses which are packaged with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma course may be considered, provided they ultimately complete an eligible qualification.

Example: Students who complete a Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies which articulates (or leads) into a Master of Education are able to use both the study at the Graduate Diploma and at the Masters level towards meeting this requirement.

Example: Students who complete a Bachelor of Arts and then a Graduate Diploma in Asia-Pacific Studies will only have study undertaken at the Bachelor degree level considered, as the Graduate Diploma did not contribute towards the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification.

Study must be at an Eligible Education Provider

All courses used to satisfy the Australian study requirement must have been undertaken at an eligible Australian university or any other education provider accredited to offer degree level programs.


Applying under the Graduate Work stream

The following provides information about the Australian study requirement specific to subclass 485 visa applicants under the Graduate Work stream.

Eligible qualifications

To meet the Australian study requirement, the course/courses must have resulted in an eligible qualification. The eligible qualifications differ depending on which stream of the subclass 485 visa the applicant selects.

For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 under the Graduate Work stream, the course/courses must have resulted in a degree, diploma or trade qualification. For example, a student may complete two consecutive Diploma level courses and satisfy the Australian study requirement under the Graduate Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.

Qualifications must be closely related to Nominated Occupation

The qualification(s) completed must be closely related to the student’s nominated skilled occupation. This means the subject matter and the skills gained from the qualifications can be applied at the level achieved in the nominated skilled occupation.
Example: Acceptable combinations of study and nominated occupations include:

  • an applicant who nominates ‘Physiotherapist’ as their skilled occupation and completes a degree in physiotherapy in Australia
  • an applicant who nominates ‘Air-conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber’ as their skilled occupation who has completed a Certificate III in Plumbing and a Diploma of Plumbing and Services in Australia

Example: A combination of study and nominated occupation that would not be acceptable:

  • An applicant’s nominated occupation is Registered Nurse but they satisfied the Australian study requirement on the basis of having completed a Bachelor of Commerce
Graduate Work Stream Requirements

For international students with an eligible qualification who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation on the list of eligible skilled occupations. A visa in this stream is granted for 18 months from the date of grant.

Requirements for this Visa Include:
  • you nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
  • your visa application included evidence that you had applied for a skills assessment for your nominated skilled occupation by a relevant assessing authority
  • your skills have been assessed by a relevant assessing authority as suitable for your nominated skilled occupation (‘suitable skills assessment’)
  • you have met the Australian study requirement in the past six months
  • each degree, diploma or trade qualification used to meet the Australian study requirement is closely related to your nominated skilled occupation.

You must nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). You can nominate only one occupation and you cannot change that occupation after you apply

Eligible Qualifications

For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 under the Graduate Work stream, the course/courses must have resulted in a degree, diploma or trade qualification. For example, a student may complete two consecutive Diploma level courses and satisfy the Australian study requirement under the Graduate Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.

Qualifications must be Closely Related to Nominated Occupation

The qualification(s) completed must be closely related to the student’s nominated skilled occupation. For your qualification to be considered to be closely related to your nominated occupation, the skills underpinning the qualification must be directly transferable to that occupation. This applies to both the subject matter and the level of the qualification. For example, if you nominate ‘physiotherapist’ as your occupation, a degree in physiotherapy would meet this requirement, but a degree in commerce would not.

Example: Acceptable combinations of study and nominated occupations include:

  • an applicant who nominates ‘Physiotherapist’ as their skilled occupation and completes a degree in physiotherapy in Australia
  • an applicant who nominates ‘Air-conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber’ as their skilled occupation who has completed a Certificate III in Plumbing and a Diploma of Plumbing and Services in Australia

Example: A combination of study and nominated occupation that would not be acceptable:

  • An applicant’s nominated occupation is Registered Nurse but they satisfied the Australian study requirement on the basis of having completed a Bachelor of Commerce.
Skills Assessment

It is your responsibility to arrange for the skills assessment. Contact the relevant assessing authority well before you apply for this visa, because each assessing authority has its own assessment procedures, timeframes and charges.

Contact details for Assessing Authorities are listed on the department’s website.

  • You must apply to the relevant assessing authority to obtain a suitable skills assessment prior to lodging your application
  • If your nominated occupation is ‘medical practitioner’, evidence of your full medical registration is accepted as evidence of a skills assessment. Further information can be found on migration of medical practitioners under the general skilled migration program
  • If your nominated occupation is a Nurse, you must obtain a skills assessment from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC)even if currently registered to work as a nurse in an Australian state or territory

A skills assessment is only valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, or for a period of three years from the assessment’s date of issue.

Point Wise Description of Post Study Work Arrangements in
  • The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) allows graduates to work in Australia temporarily after they finish their studies.
  • It has two streams: the Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream.
  • For Graduate Work stream you must nominate an occupation on SOL list that is related to your recent studies and be able to receive a positive Skills Assessment for this occupation. It is enough to have a diploma level study, as long as you can meet the Skills Assessment criteria.
  • For Post Study Stream Skills Assessment is not necessary, but the studies completed must be at Bachelor level or higher.
  • The Graduate Work stream is for international students who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation considered in demand in the Australian labour market, as indicated in the list of eligible skilled occupations -176 skilled occupations remain eligible for this visa program.A visa in this stream is generally granted for 18 months
  • The Post-Study Work stream offers extended options for working in Australia to eligible graduates of a higher education degree. Under this stream, successful applicants are granted a visa with a visa period of two, three or four years’ duration, depending on the highest educational qualification they have obtained.
  • 2 years: Bachelor Degree or Masters by Coursework
  • 3 years: Masters by Research
  • 4 years: Doctorate (PhD)

Immigration has announced that from 16 November 2019, international students who complete their studies at regional universities will be eligible for longer 485 visas. The additional time will depend on where the studies were undertaken.

  • 1 additional year:Study completed in Regional cities and major regional centres
  • 2 additional years:Study completed in Regional centres and other regional areas
Designated Regional Areas

The regional definition is comprised of 3 categories and offers regional incentives for skilled migrants who migrate to locations classified as Category 2 ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ or Category 3 ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’:

  • Category 2 – ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ of Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart have access to the following regional incentives:
    • Access to the dedicated 25,000 regional places
    • Priority processing of regional visas
    • Access to the Regional Occupations List – more jobs compared to non-regional lists
    • International graduates with a bachelor or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution will be eligible to access additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa
  • Category 3 – ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’ will also have access to the dedicated 25,000 regional places, priority processing of regional visas, and the Regional Occupations List. Additional incentives include:
    • International graduates with a bachelor or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution will be eligible to access an additional 2 years in Australia on a post-study work visa.
    • Priority in negotiating region-specific Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)
Australian Study Requirement

All subclass 485 visa applicants must satisfy the Australian study requirement in the six months immediately prior to making their application, regardless of the stream that they are assessed under.

The Australian study requirement has two equally important and related components. To meet this requirement, students must relevantly have:

  1. attained either a single qualification requiring at least two academic years study or multiple qualifications resulting in a total period of at least two academic years study; and
  2. undertaken this study in no less than 16 calendar months.
Acceptable Courses

To meet this requirement, the course/courses must also:

  • be registered through the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Course for Overseas Students (CRICOS)
  • have been successfully completed
  • have resulted in an eligible qualification 
  • have had all instruction in English
  • have been completed while physically in Australia
  • have been completed while holding a visa allowing study in Australia
  • be counted only once towards the Australian study requirement.

English language proficiency courses or enabling programs cannot be used to meet the Australian study requirement.

Two Academic Years Study
  • Two academic years study is defined as 92 weeks of study in a course or courses registered by CRICOS. CRICOS determines a standard duration (number of weeks) for each course.
  • Only study that is successfully completed counts towards the two academic years. Failed subjects will not be considered.
  • Students may meet the two year academic study requirement when completing a course that is longer than two years. For example, if a course is CRICOS registered for 138 weeks (three years) and consists of 24 equally weighted units, two academic years will be met when 16 units of that course have been successfully completed.
Credits and Exemptions

Credits for prior learning may reduce the amount of study undertaken. Credit granted on the basis of study undertaken in Australia in a course registered with CRICOS may contribute towards meeting the Australian study requirement, but only once.

The credited units cannot be counted towards meeting the Australian study requirement if they are already being used to meet the requirement as part of another course or if they were granted on the basis of study undertaken either overseas or within Australia in a non-CRICOS registered course.

Minimum of 16 Months
  • The Australian study requirement cannot be met in less than 16 calendar months.
  • This period begins when the study commences (generally from the start of lectures and excluding orientation periods) to the date at which all academic requirements have been completed.
Overlap of Qualifications
  • Students may undertake overlapping qualifications. For example, students applying under the Graduate Work stream of the subclass 485 visa may complete a Diploma in Finance and then a Diploma in Accounting where two units in the last qualification have been granted as credit from the earlier qualification.
  • Where qualifications overlap, periods of study cannot be counted more than once.
  • If a student completes more than one qualification, but uses only the most recent qualification to meet the Australian study requirement, then any credit received in the most recent qualification from the previous qualification(s) will count towards meeting the Australian study requirement.
  • The actual period of study within the previous qualification(s) on which the credits were based may also be used to meet the 16 month requirement.
Study Outside Australia

If a student undertook some study overseas but nevertheless completed at least two academic years of study in no less than 16 months in Australia in a CRICOS registered course, they can still meet the Australian study requirement. Example: An applicant who undertook a three year, six semester Bachelor degree following the study pattern mentioned below will have completed two academic years study in Australia:

  • semester 1 outside Australia
  • semester 2 in Australia
  • semester 3 in Australia
  • semester 4 in Australia
  • semester 5 outside Australia
  • semester 6 in Australia.

The pattern of study does not matter as long as the Australian study requirement is met.

Completion Date

Subclass 485 visa applications must be lodged within six months of the date of course completion.

The date of course completion is the first date on which the educational institution publicly notifies the student that they have met the requirements for the award of their degree, diploma or trade qualification. This notification can occur by:

  • letter
  • publication in a newspaper
  • publication on the internet
  • email
  • bulletin board at the tertiary institution.

This date should not be confused with the date of conferral of award. The date of conferral is the date that the student actually receives their qualification, for example, at a graduation ceremony.

Important Information for Student Subsequent Entrant Visa Applicants

Before lodging your application, you should take advantage of My Health Declarations facility to arrange your own medicals because the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) prioritizes complete applications where the applicant has also cleared Australia’s health requirements**


** Please note that a health clearance does not guarantee that the application will be granted. A visa grant will be subject to all visa criteria being met.

Student Accompanying Dependant and Subsequent Entrant Applicants

Member of Family Unit: You can include family members when you lodge your visa application. For student visas, your family member is:

  • your spouse or de facto partner, or
  • your, or your spouse or de facto partner’s dependent child who is unmarried and has not turned 18 years of age.

You must declare your family members in your student visa application even if they do not plan to travel with you to Australia. If you do not do this, your family members will not be eligible for a student visa to join you in Australia (unless they became a family member after the grant of your student visa).

Minor Children

If you have a newborn baby please complete this tool ( to determine if your baby needs a visa.If two or more minor children are applicants for a subsequent entrant visa and are applying without their parent(s), they will need to lodge separate applications. One minor child cannot be considered a dependent applicant on another minor child.

Financial requirement: All accompanying or subsequent entrant applicants for a student visa must have sufficient funds or support to cover costs and expenses for themselves and each family member of the primary student applicant for the duration of the intended stay in Australia. The funds must be accessible and be available to financially support the applicants in Australia.

Instructions are available on the Home Affairs website to assist you to determine the evidentiary requirements applicable to you, see:

Documentation: To ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible, please ensure the documents mentioned below are included with your application.

Please provide evidence of:

  • Overseas Student Health Cover
  • All the courses completed by your nominator in Australia
  • Your nominator’s current enrolment in Australia
  • Your nominator’s current attendance record
  • Notarized copy of all the pages of the passport of the applicant
  • Evidence of a genuine and ongoing relationship between the nominator and the applicant
  • Divorce certificate if previously married and divorced

In case of minor applicants, provide evidence of:

  • Schooling arrangement and confirmation of enrolment in a school for the accompanying minor
  • Form 1229 signed by both parents along with identity documents to verify signatures

Student visas are granted in accordance with the expiry date of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and if relevant, welfare arrangements, up to the maximum periods as outlined below:

​Duration of course

​         Duration of visa

​10 months or longer and finishing at the end of the Australian academic year (November–December)

​Your visa will usually be granted to March 15 of the following year.

​10 months or longer (finishing January–October)

​Your visa will usually be granted for two months longer than the duration of your course.

​Less than 10 months

​Your visa will usually be granted for one month longer than the duration of your course.

A student visa is not usually granted for more than five years.

Postgraduate research students

Postgraduate research students are granted an additional six months past the maximum period as per the table above. This is to allow for interactive thesis marking.

For example, a postgraduate research student undertaking a course of more than 10 months duration finishing in November–December will be granted a visa that ends on 15 September (an additional 6 months from 15 March) of the year following course completion.

Primary school-aged students

A maximum period of two years will generally apply. In circumstances where a student intends to enroll in primary school before secondary school, it would be acceptable to grant the visa for five years as long as the primary school component has not exceeded two years. For example, a student seeking to study year five and six could be granted a student visa until year nine.

Transfer Institute or Course

There are a number of things to organize and check before you make the decision to change either your course of study or your institution. You should first ask your student support services on campus or other advisors for help and advice. And make sure that you first check your student visa requirements and ensure you follow the correct procedures to maintain your visa. Don’t assume that the advice you get from friends, fellow students or education agents is correct. And you should also make sure you keep a copy of your course cancellation and enrolment paperwork.

Remember, if you change your institution or course at any time you must contact the Department of Home Affairs( provide an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate from your new institution.

Changing your course

If you want to change to a new course at the same institution you are currently studying and at the same level of qualification, you do not need to apply for a new student visa unless your current visa is about to expire.

Changing your level of qualification

If you want to change your level of qualification, for example from a Diploma to a Bachelor Degree, you may need to apply for a new student visa because your visa subclass may change. You should visit the DIBP( website to find out more information.

Changing your institution

If you are thinking of moving to a different institution you need to speak with your current institution for information on doing this. In most circumstances the new institution will be restricted from enrolling you if you have not completed 6 months of the main course of study (at your current institution) for which your visa was granted.

If you want to change institutions before completing the first six months of your main course of study you must contact your current institution for permission. You will require a letter of offer from the new institution in order to apply for a letter of release from your current institution.


Education provider default occurs when a registered education provider in Australia:

  • closes, or
  • can’t deliver your course because they have been sanctioned

It is not education provider default if your provider does not run your course due to low enrolments.

It is a condition of your visa that you maintain course enrolment. If your education provider defaults, this will affect your visa. Because Immigration Australia recognizes education provider default is beyond your control, Immigration Australia will give you the opportunity to study with a different education provider.

Other options

You might have the right to:

  • a refund of your course fees, or
  • placement in an alternative course

Learn more from the Tuition Protection Service (TPS).

Your provider defaults while you are studying

Your education provider should:

  • offer you a place in an alternative course that is acceptable to you at no additional expense, or
  • pay you a refund of any unspent pre-paid tuition fees you have paid to them

Work with your education provider to find a suitable alternative enrolment.

If you find an acceptable alternative enrolment, obtain a letter of offer or a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) within 3 months of the date your course was deregistered or cancelled, or your provider closed.

The TPS might be able to assist if your education provider does not place you in an alternative course or give you a refund of any unspent pre-paid tuition fees.

Student visa (subclass 500) holders must enroll in a course at the same or higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level or apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500). If you are changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF level 9 course (masters degree), you will not need to apply for a new visa.

Student visa (subclass 570-575) holders must enroll in a course in the same sector or apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500).

You can travel outside Australia while waiting to be placed with a new provider as long as you return while your visa is valid.

If you have enrolled in an alternative course check your visa’s expiry date, because it was granted based on the information supplied in your original application. Your visa expiry date is listed on your visa grant notice or you can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

If your new course will finish after the expiry date of your current visa, you will need to apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500) before your current visa expires. You may be eligible for a Visa Application Charge (VAC) exemption.

Your provider defaults before you start studying

You need to enroll in an alternative course if your provider defaults before you commence your course with them. You should defer travelling to Australia until you have enrolled in an alternative course.

We won’t consider your visa for cancellation until you have had a chance to secure alternative enrolment.

Before you enroll in an alternative course, check the TPS.

Your provider defaults before we have made a decision on your visa application

We will give you a chance to enroll in an alternative course if your education provider defaults after you have applied for a student visa but before we make a decision on your application.

  • Respond as quickly as you can to any request from your visa processing officer.
  • Send us information about your new enrolment as soon as possible.
Students under 18

You must maintain welfare arrangements at all times as a condition of your student visa if you are under 18. If your education provider issued a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) to take responsibility for your welfare in Australia, seek alternative enrolment immediately and make alternative welfare arrangements.

Learn more about Standard 5: Younger Overseas Students from the Department of Education and Training’s National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.

Visa application charge (VAC) exemptions for provider default

You might be eligible for a VAC exemption if you need to apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500) because your education provider has defaulted. You must hold a student visa or your last substantive visa must have been a student visa and you must have been enrolled with the provider on the day they defaulted.

When you apply:

  • let us know you have been affected by a provider default
  • attach evidence of your enrolment with the new education provider, such as your CoE

Your family members will only be eligible for a VAC exemption if they are included in your application, not if they apply separately.

You might also be eligible for a VAC exemption if you apply for a Student Guardian visa (subclass 590) and the nominating student is affected by provider default.

Provider default day

You must apply for a further student visa no more than 12 months after the provider default day to be eligible for a VAC exemption.

If you already started studying with the provider, the provider default day is the day on which the education provider officially ceased to provide the course.

If you have not yet started studying with the provider, the provider default day is the ‘agreed starting day’ of the course, which is the commencement date stated on your CoE.

If you are applying for a student visa and you are under 18 years of age, you must have adequate welfare arrangements in place.

If you turn 18 before you arrive in Australia

You do not need to have welfare arrangements in place, if you:

If you will be under 18 in Australia

You must either:

  • nominate a student guardian. Nominate a parent, legal custodian or relative over 21 years of age as your student guardian. This person must have a visa to stay in Australia for the duration of your student visa or until you turn 18. You must attach a completed Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application (207KB PDF). If your nominated guardian is applying for a student guardian (subclass TU-590) visa, both applications should be made at the same time, or
  • arrange a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW). Unless you are a secondary exchange student or a Foreign Affairs or Defence student, organise for your education provider to approve your welfare arrangements. Your education provider will issue a CAAW and advise us of your welfare arrangements start and end date, or
  • provide your Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form if you are a secondary exchange student. Attach a signed copy of the CAAW to the student visa application, or
  • organise approval of your welfare arrangements from the relevant Minister, if you are a Foreign Affairs or Defence student 
Minimum length of welfare arrangements

You must have welfare arrangements in place until you turn 18, even if you turn 18 before your course starts. You must not enter Australia before your welfare arrangements start. This is a condition of your visa. If you breach your visa conditions, we might cancel your visa. You must not travel to Australia until your welfare arrangements start and you must not change your arrangements without the written approval of your education provider.

If your education provider approves your welfare arrangements, the minimum period on the Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter must be:

  • the same period of time as your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
  • plus 7 days at the end of your enrolment or until you turn 18

We recommend your provider takes responsibility for your welfare at least a week before your course starts.

If we grant your visa, we will consider the dates of your welfare arrangements when considering the visa period. 

Enrolling with more than one provider

If you are enrolled in 2 or more courses with more than 1 provider, you must show us you have organised continuous welfare arrangements. If the education providers are approving your welfare arrangements, there cannot be a welfare gap in the dates your providers have nominated.

Student visa applications made in Australia

If you are applying for a student visa while you are in Australia, you still need to show you have welfare arrangements in place when you lodge your student visa application. Your application must have this information to be valid.

The welfare arrangements must start:

  • the day after your current visa expires, or
  • before or on the date you lodge your new student visa application
Alternative welfare arrangements

You can’t change your welfare arrangements without our approval.

If you have a student guardian and they need to leave Australia while you stay here, you must make alternative welfare arrangements.

Your student guardian must provide evidence:

  • there is a compelling or compassionate reason for their travel
  • they have made alternative welfare arrangements for your accommodation, general welfare and support until they return
Request approval of alternative welfare arrangements

Your student guardian can nominate another student guardian. This person must be (except in limited situations) a parent or relative aged 21 years or over. Before your student guardian leaves Australia, they need to send to our nearest office:

Your education provider can issue a CAAW letter. This letter must outline the start and end dates of the alternative welfare arrangements.

If your guardian holds a Student Guardian visa, we will let you or your guardian know if we have approved the alternative arrangements.

Your guardian can’t leave Australia without you if the alternative welfare arrangements are not suitable.

If you do not maintain adequate welfare arrangements, we may cancel your visa and / or your student guardian’s visa.