Show money is not just for show

In most cases, international students are required to show financial capacity in their first year of study here in Australia. Some people call this “show money” and many people take its literal meaning that you just have to show you have money in your or your sponsor’s bank; and you don’t necessarily have to own that money when you come to Australia.

This article discusses the financial capacity requirements for student visa applications and explains why it is important to have enough money while studying in Australia; and the possible risks that students may encounter if they don’t have financial capacity.
Financial capacity requirement for Student Visa (subclass 500)
Students who are required to provide financial capacity evidence should have sufficient funds to cover the following costs and expenses:
• Tuition fee for 12 months (minus the amount already paid on enrolment)
• Living costs, set at $20,290 for 12 months for the primary applicant.
• Travel expenses, approximately $2,000 for offshore students

• Costs for the primary applicant’s immediate family members (if a combined student visa application is made)
o Living costs, set at $7,100 for 12 months for the primary applicant’s de facto partner or spouse
o Living costs, set at $3,040 for 12 months for the primary applicant’s child
o School tuition fee for each school-aged child (is not exempt), set at $8,000 for 12 months
The tuition fee and living costs can be pro-rated if the student is taking a course that’s less than 12 months.
For example, a person (located outside Australia) who plans to study a two-year packaged course of Certificate III and IV in Commercial Cookery with Diploma of Hospitality, who paid $8,000 for enrolment and the first year of tuition fee costs $10,000, should have a total of $24,290. See the breakdown below:
Description Amount
Tuition fee of $10,000 for 12months minus the $8,000 that the student has paid on enrolment. $2,000
Living costs for 12 months $20,290
Travel expenses $2,000
TOTAL: $24,290

Acceptable financial capacity evidences include bank statement from the applicant or the applicant’s sponsor showing the required amount or personal income proof of the applicant’s parent, de-facto partner or spouse who is earning at least $60,000 a year ($70,000 if the applicant will apply for a student visa with a secondary applicant).

Importance of having the financial capacity requirement while studying in Australia
Having enough money as you start your life as a student in Australia will afford you a place to live, maintain regular payments on your rent, pay for your food and transportation, and any other expenses that you may incur. Not all international students have relatives or friends here in Australia who are willing to provide free accommodation and food. If you have this, then you are very blessed and lucky. Be very grateful with what you have.
It also lessens the stress of moving into a new environment and getting a job right away. There are heaps to take in when you come to a new country especially when you are on your own. Getting a job here is also not so easy. Most jobs available for international students are roles in the hospitality industry (kitchen hand, cooks, food and beverage roles) and cleaning.

Risks of not having enough money while studying in Australia
Some of my clients were ill-advised and were told that they can get a job in Australia easily, therefore, they don’t have to bring in the money they used for their student visa’s financial capacity requirement. It is unfortunate that some providers even lend bank statements for students to show for their student visa application, charge loan interest to the student, and yet the student never receives the money that was supposed to be loaned to the student for their living costs in Australia. How can someone stomach charging interest on a supposed to be loan that never left their bank account?
I have met many starving students who fall victims to this practice and who run the risk of getting abused by their employers (for example, getting paid below the average hourly rate) or succumb to accepting jobs that they won’t normally do.
This practice also affects the genuineness of the visa application. If it is found out that the show money was just for show, then the visa application can be refused. It also negatively taints the student’s record with the Department and can have adverse effects on the applicant’s next visa application.
In summary, the financial capacity requirement is there for a reason, it is not just for show in order to get one’s student visa granted. It is meant to cover the living costs of international students while in Australia especially when they are unemployed.