Updates in the Australian student visa application process
Australian student visa
It’s safe to say that an Australian student visa is one of the most coveted visas in the world. As a major study destination for international students from all over the globe, Australia has had its student visa application process discussed widely among various groups. Along with the application to the school of their choice, the student visa application is a very important step for any student wanting to pursue studies abroad.
Application process and requirements
Applying for and securing an Australian student visa has generally been considered to be an easy and efficient process. All international students wanting to come to Australia apply for the same visa – the Student Visa (Subclass 500). Below is a list of steps, as well as an outline of the general requirements when applying.
- Students applying from outside of the country must do so at least eight weeks before their course begins. During this time, they must secure a valid passport, organise health exams, and seek help from authorised institutions such as education agencies.
- Applicants must then prepare and gather the documents required based on their education provider and the passport they hold.
- Applicants may then proceed to applying for their student visa online by creating an ImmiAccount, and then moving forward with the succeeding steps.
- After the application, applicants must stay vigilant and check their ImmiAccount regularly for any possible additional documents requested of them, which they must provide before the given deadline.
- Await results.
A personal statement in English addressing the applicant’s personal circumstances, demonstrating their genuine intent to undertake their proposed study in Australia. Among the expected evidence and information to be included here are: previous study, gaps in previous study, current employment, ties to their home country, economic situation of their home country, employment in a third country.
- Financial requirements*
From February 2018, the amount needed to prove that applicants are able to support their living costs (separate from tuition and travel) is set at AU$21,041 (~US$14,185) for a year. But as of this month, there have been changes announced, effective 1 October 2023 – more on this below.
- English proficiency requirements
For applicants who are not from English-speaking countries (and haven’t completed at least five years’ study in an English-speaking country), they must provide proof of their proficiency in the language, with eligible tests such as the IELTS, TOEFL iBT, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE).
- Health and character requirements
Applicants who are asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show that they are in good health must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian immigration department.
Changes to the application process
The Australian government has been improving on the student visa application experience by streamlining the process and adapting certain aspects to adhere to new circumstances. Recently, these changes include an adjustment in the evidence of financial capacity, as well as a quicker turnaround time for visa application results.
This month, Study Australia said that “[t]he Australian Government has announced an increase to the amount of savings international students will need to apply for a student visa. This requirement has not been updated since 2019 and needs to increase because of higher living expenses. From 1 October 2023, student visa applicants will need to show they have a minimum of AU$24,505 in savings to cover annual living costs.” This amount to meet the financial capacity requirement is the minimum amount needed for the visa; actual living costs vary throughout Australia and could exceed the visa requirement. This adjustment was placed in order to prepare students for realistic costs of living once they move to Australia.
With regards to visa processing time, the Department of Home Affairs has stated that they “aim to streamline the processing of applications without compromising program integrity.” They have shared that they now have more focused resources for the processing of student visas, mainly through the recruitment of more staff to facilitate applications. Based on data from their website, the minimum processing time for a student visa is 16 days as of this year.
Another change announced by the Australian Government is that international students will no longer be able to enrol in two courses at the same time within the first six months of their study. Australia’s Department of Education has recently removed the concurrent study functionality from the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS), which will restrict student transfers in the first six months of their primary course of study. This provision was set in order to protect both providers and students.
The Australian government is continuously evolving its processes to cater to the welfare of international students. This is good news, and we must keep ourselves aware of changes and adjustments in order to provide accurate information to our students. To stay updated with news and latest institution updates, visit our platform and get in touch with our Business Development Managers today.