Student visa conditions, explained

Australia welcomes about 300,000 students every year.  In the last financial year covering the period from the 1st of July 2016 until the 30th of June 2017, there were 374,294 lodged student visa applications and 343,035 of these applications were granted.  Out of the 374,294 lodged student visas during this period, 3,680 were from Filipino passport holders who were still outside Australia at the time of visa application.  These figures were gathered from the Department of Home Affairs’ Student and Temporary Graduate Bi-Annual Visa Programme Report issued on the 30th of June 2017.

Student visa grants are issued along with conditions.  The intent of this article is to explain the mandatory student visa conditions and provide examples to give guidance to our Filipino students community in Australia.  It is a must that the student visa conditions are satisfied to avoid the risk of visa cancellation.

8105 Work Limitation

  • You can only work when your course starts.
  • You can only work for 40 hours a fortnight (14 days commencing on a Monday) when your course is in session.  However, during breaks you can work unlimited hours.
  • You can work for more than 40 hours a week if any of the following applies:
    • You have started your course and you have reached the end of the term (during term breaks, meaning your course is not in session).
    • You are working on a job that is part of your course requirements (for example, clinical placements or internships).
    • Your student visa was granted for a Master’s Degree by Research or a Doctoral Degree.

For example, your student visa application for a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery was granted on the 3rd of February 2018 and your course starts on the 12th of February 2018.  You will only be allowed to work on the 12th of February and you can work for 40 hours every fortnight.  In case the course you are taking is a Master’s Degree by Research, then you can work for unlimited hours from the time your course starts.

8202 Meet Course Requirements

  • You must be enrolled in a full time CRICOS registered course.
  • You must maintain enrolment in a CRICOS registered course at the same AQF level or a higher level as the course you enrolled in when your student visa was granted. There is an exemption to this:  Doctorate students (AQF level 10) can move to a Master’s Degree (AQF level 9).
  • You should achieve satisfactory academic progress and attendance in your course of study.

The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) lays down the structure for educational qualifications levels in Australia as shown below.

AQF Level Qualifications
Level 1 Certificate I
Level 2 Certificate II
Level 3 Certificate III
Level 4 Certificate IV
Level 5 Diploma
Level 6 Advance Diploma, Associate Degree
Level 7 Bachelor’s Degree
Level 8 Bachelor Honour’s Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
Level 9 Master’s Degree
Level 10 Doctoral Degree

 

For example, you are currently taking up a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business (AQF7) and you plan to transfer to a Certificate III in Individual Support (AQF3).  This means that you will be in breach of the 8202 condition because you will be moving to a lower AQF level.  In this case, it would be best to apply for another student visa to continue satisfying the 8202 condition.

Other mandatory student visa conditions

  • 8501 – Maintain Health Insurance

You should have an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) while completing your studies and while you are on your student visa.

  • 8516 – Must Maintain Eligibility

You should continue to satisfy the criteria you satisfied when you applied for your student visa.

  • 8517 – Maintain Education for Dependents

If you have a child or children aged between 5 to 18 years old holding a student visa as your dependent/s, he/she/they should also be studying in Australia.

  • 8533 – Inform Provider of Address

Within seven days of arriving in Australia, you should inform your education provider your residential address. If you have changed address or have enrolled in a new education programme and have been issued a new COE, you should also inform your education provider within seven days.

In summary, as a student visa holder you should make an effort to understand the mandatory student conditions attached to your visa and make sure that you comply with each condition applicable to you.  Don’t work over your allowed working hours and don’t move to a cheaper course without checking if you are breaching your visa conditions.  Remember that once you have breached a visa condition, it remains in your file and it can affect your next visa application.

It is best to get a proper and legal immigration advice based on your circumstance from the Office of the Migration Agents Regulation Authority (OMARA)’s list of Registered Migration Agents or Immigration Lawyers.