All you need to know about student visas

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All you need to know about student visas

All you need to know about student visas

A record number of international students choose Australia.  The latest government figures show that the majority of these overseas students make their home in New South Wales, followed by Victoria and Queensland with Western Australia coming fourth.


At the moment there are around 660,000 international students on various educational courses Australia wide.


What should you do if your student visa is about to expire?


As your student visa ends, you’ll need to be looking at your options if you want to remain in this country.   Take time to do your research to explore what’s best for you but be mindful that visa process waiting times can be as long as four months.


Can I move onto a graduate visa?


One of the most popular options is to move on to a graduate visa. It’s available to those who have recently finished their course in Australia and is known as the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485).  It’s for international students who have completed at least two years of study. 


This visa allows former students to travel, gain work experience and improve their English skills and can potentially be a stepping stone for a permanent or provisional skilled visa. There are two types of streams.


Graduate Work stream


For the Graduate Work stream, you must nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List that is related to your recent studies.  You’ll need to receive a positive Skills Assessment for this occupation.  You don’t necessarily need to have studied a degree - a diploma will suffice, but it must meet the Skills Assessment criteria.  This visa is usually granted for 18 months


Post-Study Work stream

For the Post-Study Work stream, an assessment is not necessary, but the studies completed must be at Bachelor level or higher.   Successful applicants are granted a visa of two, three or four years’ duration, depending on the highest educational qualification achieved.


In order to qualify for these visas, you must be under 50 years old. You can include spouses, partners and dependent children and it offers you unrestricted work rights.


If I don’t qualify for a graduate visa what are my options?


457 Visa


If you don’t match the requirements, all is not lost. You can find a willing employer who may sponsor you on a 457 visa.


The 457 allows you to work in a nominated occupation for four years by an approved sponsor. You must have the necessary skills for the post, speak good English and have both good health and a good character reference. However, from March 2018, the current 457 visa program will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa which will have a short term and medium stream.

Obtain another student visa


It is possible to obtain another visa to continue your studies. You can apply for one if you have yet to complete your course.  It may be that sickness meant you didn’t finish the course.  


You can also apply for one if you’re waiting on postgraduate research to be marked or you want to study a new, different course. It’s best to apply four months before your visa expires and you may have to go on a bridging visa (BVA) while it is processed.


Consider a partner visa


 If you’re in a relationship with an Australian permanent resident, citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen, you can consider applying for a partner visa.  You need to be legally married or in a de-facto relationship and you need to prove that this is serious and long term by showing evidence of your commitment to each other.


If you’re a student and need further guidance on your options to stay in Australia once you’ve completed your course, speak to one of our team here at Visa Solutions Australia. Immigration regulations are constantly changing so its best to speak to the experts.

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