Ten Frequently-Asked Questions About AU Student Visas

As though I needed more proof of my advancing age, one of my younger cousins shipped out to Australia last week to attend university there. Her parents helped her get settled in, but when the time came to leave, her father shed some not-so-subtle tears. It was, by all accounts, quite a touching scene.


Realistically speaking, though, the path towards studying abroad can be a tear-jerker if you embark on it unprepared. The admission process alone is already daunting, let alone the other steps like producing proof of financial capacity, attending an interview, and filing a student visa application. 


Still, the Australian student visa remains a popular choice for many would-be migrants. For one, it’s relatively easier to obtain than the other visa subclasses. More importantly, it can serve as the first step towards becoming a permanent citizen. 


Intrigued? Read on and find out more about this popular visa pathway. 


  1. How do I know if my course is suitable for a student visa?
  2. How do I know if my course is suitable for a student visa_  

    You need to check if your full-time course of study is registered with the Commonwealth Register of International Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Those listed on the CRICOS register are eligible for a student visa.


  3. What is a Confirmation of Enrollment?
  4. What is a Confirmation of Enrollment_  

    This is a certificate that you need to submit when you apply for a student visa. Basically, after confirming that your course is on the CRICOS register (see above), you then pay your student fees and enroll. Afterwards, the school should provide you with a Certificate of Enrollment (CoE).


  5. Can I work in Australia while holding a student visa?
  6. Can I work in Australia while holding a student visa_  

    Ah, the age-old question. The primary holder of a student visa (i.e., the one who is actually studying) can work for no more than 40 hours every two weeks while the course is ongoing. Otherwise (e.g., on semestral breaks and school holidays), you can work unlimited hours.


    There are, of course, notable exceptions. For instance, students pursuing doctorate degrees have unlimited working hours. 


  7. Do I have to take an English test?
  8. Do I have to take an English test_  

    Generally, you do, but there are other factors that may affect this requirement. One is the passport you hold. Another is whether you finished your schooling back home in English, which is standard for most Filipinos.


    English language requirements can also vary depending on your status as a primary or secondary applicant. In cases like these, you may want to consult with a migration agency for a more accurate answer. 


  9. I received a request from the Department of Home Affairs for more information. What do I do?
  10. I received a request from the Department of Home Affairs for more information. What do I do_  

    This scenario may occur for a variety of reasons, but how you react can make or break your application. 


    Typically, a request for more information belies a suspicion that you may not be a genuine student and/or visitor. Thus, this could necessitate providing additional documents like your study history or, in some cases, proof of any incentive to return home.


    As with the previous item, it’s best to consult with professionals if you receive a request like this. 


  11. What do I do if my visa expires before I graduate?
  12. What do I do if my visa expires before I graduate_  

    You should renew it right away. Better yet, keep tabs on your visa’s expiry date so that you have your documentary requirements ready at once. 


    Being an “unlawful” immigrant in Australia can have wide-ranging and terrible consequences, particularly for future visa applications. And sometimes, a one-day delay can make all the difference in securing your status as an international student. Don’t risk it.


  13. How much does a student visa cost?
  14. How much does a student visa cost_  

    According to the VFS Global site that processes visa applications, visa subclass 500 or the student visa costs AU$620 (about PHP9,173), on average.


    You can get a more accurate estimate here


  15. Where do I lodge my application?
  16. Where do I lodge my application_  

    The Embassy strongly encourages all applicants to lodge their applications online. Not only does this allow you to file an application 24/7, but it also enables you to check its status anytime. 


  17. Can I include my spouse and children in my application?
  18. Can I include my spouse and children in my application_  

    Yes, you can. Consult with a licensed migration agency for further details.


  19. How long does it take to process a student visa?
  20. How long does it take to process a student visa_  

    Except for the post-graduate research sector, it generally takes an average of 30-60 days to process student visa applications. Some applicants may even receive word of a decision in as early as 9 days.


    The Embassy usually receives a high volume of applications from May to July and from December to February, as these coincide with the start of the semester in Australia. Thus, applicants should take care to submit their complete requirements long before to prevent any inconvenient delays.


Lastly, studying in Australia can open a lot of doors for you. After graduating, you could go on to apply for a skilled permanent visa, a skilled temporary visa, and so on. 


The trick, however, is to decide on a pathway some months before you finish schooling. Australian visas can take time, and leaving things up to the last minute can significantly limit your options. 

Serena Estrella

Serena joined Remit back in 2016, and has tormented its Marketing Head constantly ever since. To get through the rigors of writing about grave concerns like exchange rates, citizenship requirements, and PH-AU news, she likes to blast Mozart, Vivaldi, ONE OK ROCK, and Shigeru Umebayashi in the background. She does a mean Merida voice in her spare time too.


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