A student visa is required for non-citizens intending to study in Australia. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is in charge of deciding whether or not an applicant meets the requirements for an Australian student visa. The following criteria have to be met to be able to obtain a student visa:
• A “genuine student” requirement;
• An English proficiency requirement;
• A GTE (Genuine Temporary Entrant) requirement;
• A health requirement;
• A character requirement;
• A financial requirement.
A visa application form can be filled up online on the DIBP’s website, particularly through this link: www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Appl/Student . Application fees also need to be paid, which vary depending on the sub-class of student visa to be acquired, as well as the location of the applicant upon application (i.e., inside or outside Australia). An interview may be required based on the circumstances presented.
The criteria for someone to be considered a “genuine student” are as follows:
• Appropriate age requirement;
• English proficiency;
• Sufficient finances;
• Visa requirement compliance;
• School prerequisites.
The GTE requirement was introduced in 2011 and is there to show that the student applicant has true intentions of temporarily staying in Australia for study purposes. To meet the GTE requirement and gain a student visa, the DIBP would closely consider the following factors:
• Immigration history of the applicant;
• The value of the chosen course to the student’s future;
• The circumstances in the student’s home country;
• The possible situation the student will face in Australia;
• Other relevant matters DIPB may require information on.
There may be instances when an applicant for the student visa will be required to attend an interview to determine whether s/he is qualified for the “genuine student” and GTE requirements.
Before 16 June 2015, there were eight (8) student visa sub-classes. However, the “Future Directions for Streamlined Visa Processing” report released on that date imposed important changes in the processing of the student visa and introduced a simplified version of the international student visa framework, referred to as SSVF. This is intended to support the educational sector services of the country. With the release of the report, the number of sub-classes was cut from eight (8) to two (2). Not only will the SSVF simplify the framework for student visa application but also reduce, if not prevent, red tape; promote immigration integrity; and provide a level playing field for education providers. These changes are set to be implemented by mid-2016.