Another very popular approach to migrate to Australia is to start out as a Student. This can apply to you if you are in one of these situations:
- You want to learn a new skill and gain international experience;
- You are not eligible to any other visa type;
- You want to leave your home country immediately (in less than 6 months).
Australia has a highly valued educational system which is internationally recognised and constantly undergoes a strict quality control. Also, it is usually much cheaper to study in Australia when compared to countries like the United States or England.
Once you get a student visa, you also obtain the right to work 20 hours a week. If you have a spouse or a de-facto partner, he/she will also be able to work.
So in summary, for this type of visa you just have to save enough for tuition and the first few months after arrival and get your visa approved.
4.2- Choosing the Course and School
Before applying for the visa and booking your flights, the first thing to do is to enroll in a course at one of the educational institutions authorised to receive international students.
Access the following official link to search for all schools and courses available:
You can choose to take a foreign language course, a university degree or a technical course, which can cover several areas such as aesthetics, cooking, computer science, electronics, etc ...
Once you have decided on the course, the best option is to look for references from people who have studied in Australia, before deciding on the school / university. Visit blogs on the internet and join groups on Facebook.
If you would like assistance with enrollment, consider using a study abroad agency, which can also point out several school options. But even if you do this, do not forget to search for feedback from people who went to the given schools and ask them directly about the experience.
To have an idea about some schools, below are some random examples of courses in Australia from the given website:
- http://www.ability.edu.au/ (English)
- http://www.aibt.sa.edu.au (English, Business and IT)
- http://www.acmt.nsw.edu.au (Marketing and Administration)
- http://www.endeavour.edu.au (Health)
- http://www.holmesinstitute.edu.au (Fashion)
For an advanced course search, use the following tool: http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/SIASearch/SIASearchInstResults.aspx?moduleId=13&Clear=False&Keyword=english.
After you make up your mind about the school and the course, you will need to register (usually online) and, if accepted, you will receive an electronic confirmation of enrolment (eCoE) by e-mail.
4.3- Visa Application
NOTE: We will not be dealing here with short-term courses. For these cases, you may be able to apply for a tourist visa. Contact the educational institution where you enrolled and confirm what kind of visa you need.
With the enrollment confirmation in hand, the next step is to apply for your student visa. You will need the following documentation:
- Electronic confirmation of enrolment (eCoE);
- Valid passport;
- Proof of English proficiency (if university level);
- Financial proof;
- Health-checks (if requested) and and criminal records;
- Health insurance.
You can submit your application online using the link: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Appl/Student.
Upon submission, the immigration department will review your documentation and will contact you in case they need further information.
Requests for additional information may be requested, and these will have a deadline to be met. You may still be invited for an interview if the department judges the need.
You can check the progress of your application online, but waiting time is estimated between 4 days and 4 months, but may differ depending on your circumstances. You can check estimates at https://www.border.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards/global-visa-citizenship-processing-times.
If your visa is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter, which you must present upon your entrance to Australia.
4.4- Working while studying
A student visa holder will be able to work a maximum of 40 hours every 2 weeks, during the academic period, and full-time, during the holidays.
If you have a family member (e.g. child, spouse, etc ...) as a dependent, on your visa, he / she may also work, following the same limit described above, except for those who are attending the masters level or above, In which there will be no work restrictions for the dependents.
This is a great way to get some local experience, make some extra money and make connections in case you want to later try to apply for a permanent visa.
Some people struggle to find their first job as most employers expect you already have local experience. A good way to solve this is to volunteer or also to offer to work for free for a few days in companies where you feel you can demonstrate your skills and secure a job.
This usually demonstrates self-confidence and is a great way to showcase your talent. But, of course, be careful not to waste time and energy with scammers. The best way is to make friends and ask them to introduce you to the companies they work with.
4.5- Extending your stay
After completing your studies in Australia, you will have a better chance of applying for a permanent visa. Preferably, you have convinced your employer to officially offer you a full-time position as this will make the process even easier.
You can apply for permanent residency through the SkillSelect points system and you will get extra points for having studied in Australia.
If you still do not have enough points for a permanent visa, you can enroll in a new course and request renewal of your student visa.