Student Visa in Australia: What immigration & educational consultancy agency do not tell you

The Student visa allows international students to study full-time education and training in Australia. Students can stay in Australia during the duration of the relevant course one prefers to study. The minimum requirements include a certificate of enrolment with an Australian provider, genuine intention to complete the relevant period of study in Australia, have the required English proficiency unless exempt, have overseas student health cover for the period of intended stay in Australia and have access to funds to cover return airfares, tuition fees, and cost of living in Australia.

Depending on the risk level of the country, English language proficiency results and evidence of funds may not be required. This is how the education consultants in the Philippines and many other risk level 1 and 2 countries are advertising “No IELTS and no show money” for a student visa in Australia. Many approach agencies to apply for a student visa to Australia because of the work privilege. Student visa holders depending on the level of studies can work up to 40 hours per fortnight. “No IELTS, no show money and work” – a very tempting reason to part with your hard earned money! Let us see what the reality is.

As of December 2018, there were 433,624 student visa holders in Australia.
Source: The Department of Home Affairs

A story about Mr Vocation and his aspiration for a better life

Mr. Vocation is 29 years old and is currently working in UAE as a sales representative. He completed a one-year vocational course (Automotive) in the Philippines. He admitted that he has less than a vocation level of English but has a very high desire to improve his life for his family and himself. He responded to an advertisement from immigration and educational consultancy. Immigration and Educational consultancy accepts his evidence of a 1-year vocational course in Automotive and signs him up to study cookery in Australia. They also accept his initial deposit of approximately AU$2000 non-refundable but can be transferred to another applicant. Mr. Vocation signed a contract for a total of AU$8100.

Source: Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg News

Mr. Vocation struggled to complete the 1-year diploma and was surprised that he even passed. Student visa holders must study and pass their intended course otherwise they face the consequence of getting their visa canceled. Although English language proficiency evidence is not required for student visa applications from risk level 1 and 2 countries, the course is taught in English. If students struggled in English in their home country, it will be a struggle to successfully complete their course of study in Australia.

“No show money” – why you shouldn’t be trapped with this promise

On 31 December 2018, the Department of Home Affairs recorded 1,458 applicants from the Philippines for student visa in Australia (Source: The Department of Home Affairs)

The reason the “show money” became a requirement for student visa application is for students to have the financial capacity to pay for the first 12 months of tuition fee as well as to cover their living cost of $20, 290 (single applicant) as the student visa holders reason is to study in Australia. Most immigration and educational consultancy agencies use the “no show money” and back it with “you can work in Australia for up to 40 hours” to attract more individuals to apply for a student visa in Australia. In regard to the work privilege, it remains as is — a privilege. It shouldn’t be the main purpose of student visa applicants when they arrive in Australia. Student visa applicants must realize that it will take time to find a casual or part-time job. International students must not depend on finding a job as soon as they land in Australia. They must have funds for the tuition fee for the first 12 months. They must also not take their visa conditions lightly as they risk getting their student visa canceled if the department finds out they are breaching their visa conditions (i.e. working more than 40 hours per fortnight when the course is in session, switching from their course to other lower level courses, etc.)

Some International students on a student visa have to work to be able to afford their tuition fees and the cost of living. International students in Australia can receive permission to work part-time (up to 40 hours per fortnight) while they study).

As for Mr. Vocation, what are the prospect of success for his student visa application? His course must be closely related to passed educational qualifications or work experience or must have a strong statement to support a change of career option. If he does get his student visa approved, what is likely to happen when he gets to Australia? He already spent all his hard earned money on the student visa application and agency fee. As he arrives in Australia, he will have to pay for accommodation (approximately $150-$200 per week). He will need money for food and transportation as well as the cost of a mobile phone. It may take him a month or two to find a casual job. By then, it will be time to pay his tuition installment. He now has a choice to either pay his tuition fee or send money to his family.

Note: Under the Migration regulations, prospective students visa applicants and their family members must have access to funds in order to meet the living costs requirement of $20, 290 (contact us if you wish to learn more about the cost of living for the student’s partner and child).

Let’s say Mr. Vocation completes his studies successfully and now would like to extend his stay in Australia by applying for a further visa. The next visa that student visa holder may be eligible for is a temporary graduate visa which will require a competent score in English. If he doesn’t pass the English competency assessment, he may be eligible to apply for a temporary graduate visa and will be forced to return to his home country.

A qualified migration agent with a current legal practising certificate issued by an Australian body can provide immigration advice and help you prepare your visa application.

These are realities often not mentioned in seminars to get students to study in Australia. Consider all the requirements and the reason they are required before you decide to sign a contract with no refund facility and part with your hard-earned money. It is best to consult with a registered migration agent (RMA) with the office of the MARA (Migration Agent Registration Authority). Consumers can contact the office of the MARA if they believe the RMA has provided incorrect advice. There is no one to go to if the immigration advice is from a non-registered operator.

Do you wish to study in Australia? Book for a free assessment of your personal circumstances and qualifications today from a MARA registered migration agent. You may also watch relevant videos we posted on our Facebook page in regard to student visa application and working in Australia so you may equip yourself with more information prior to lodging your application.

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