Higher Education Visa

Australia has a great quality higher education system offering a wide range of highly regarded and internationally recognised graduate and post-graduate courses. This makes Australia a popular destination for international students seeking quality education.

Australia does not have a universal student visa, but issues specific sub class visas for each level of education. The relevant sub class visas for higher education are Sub Class 573 (Higher Education) and 574 (Postgraduate Research) Visas.

Student Visa Assessment Levels

From 24 March 2012, The Department of Immigration introduced 5 Assessment Levels for all Student Visa Applications, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest Assessment Level.

The Assessment levels are determined on calculated immigration risk posed by previous students from a certain country studying in a certain education sector and their obedience by the visa conditions. If, for a certain period of time, a group is determined to be following the visa conditions, they are placed into a lower Assessment Level, and less supporting documents might be required with their Visa Application, and vice versa.

You can find out what Assessment Level you are in based on your Passport & the Visa Subclass you are applying for here.

Higher Education Visa Sub Class 573

The higher education student visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia and applies to a bachelor degree, associate degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, higher education diploma, higher education advanced diploma or masters by coursework.

With this visa:

  • you can study in Australia
  • dependent family members can accompany you to Australia.
  • you can work up to 20 hours per week after you start your course of study, while your studies are in session or unlimited hours while your studies are not in session
  • your family members can work up to 20 hours per week as well after you start your course.
  • your partner can also study in Australia for up to three months.

To be eligible to apply for a Higher Education Visa Sub Class 573 you must meet the following specific requirements and rules:

Full Time Studies Acceptance

You must be accepted for full-time studies in a registered course or part of a registered course. You must provide proof of acceptance of the position with either your letter of offer or Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE) from the university you’ve been accepted to, prior to your Visa Application.

Genuine Temporary Entry

Your personal circumstances must demonstrate that you intend to stay in Australia temporarily. The factors that are considered are personal circumstances in your own country and in Australia, immigration history, relevance of the course for your future and other matters relevant to your intentions to stay in Australia temporarily.

Financial and Health Requirements

You must have enough money to cover travel cost, tuition and living expenses for yourself, your partner and any dependent children for the duration of your stay in Australia, starting from $18,610 per annum if you are living alone, and over $40.000 for a family with two children aged between 5 and 18. You can find the full details about the financial requirements here.

You must also undergo a health examination and maintain health insurance for you and your family members while in Australia, and the health insurance must be paid for a year in advance before lodging the Visa Application.

English language skills

You must provide evidence of your English language skills (based on your Assessment level), and the country you are currently holding passport for.

Streamlined Visa Processing

Streamlined Visa processing allows for faster and easier access to visas for international students applying for most universities and partner programs.

Since 24 March 2012 applications of students with Confirmation of Enrolment from a participating university in Australia at Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree levels will have reduced evidential requirements when applying for a student visa regardless of their country of origin. They will be assessed as though they were lower migration risk (similar to the current Assessment level 1). Under the streamlined processing arrangements, universities can be confident that the majority of their students will have their visa applications processed quickly.

Eligible courses

The following higher education sector courses are eligible for streamlined visa processing:

  • Bachelor degrees
  • Master degrees by coursework.

The following postgraduate research sector courses are eligible for streamlined visa processing:

  • Masters degrees by research
  • Doctoral degrees.

The following higher education sector courses are not eligible for streamlined visa processing:

  • Higher Education Diploma
  • Higher Education Advanced Diploma
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Associate Degree.

You can find the full list of universities participating in Streamlined Visa Processing here.