Q. What are Assessment Levels?

Assessment levels refer to the type of evidence required and the assessments made, by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (“DIAC”) to a student visa applicant. These assessment levels will depend upon your passport and the education sector in which you make your Student Visa Application. The current assessment levels came into effect on 24 March 2012 and apply to Student Visa
Applications made after that date.

Where packaged courses are being undertaken you will be assessed under the visa sub-class applicable to the main course of study and at the highest
assessment level of the courses nominated in the package.

See here for a summary of student visa processing assessment levels.

Q. How long will my application take to decide?

DIAC issue “processing time service standards”. In relation to study in Australia see the table below.

Q. What English language requirements do Student Visa’s have?

Acceptable scores differ according to the assessment level and the education sector in which you hope to study. Evidence must come from one of the following:

1. An international English language testing system (IELTS) report taken less than two years before the date of your application; or

2. Evidence of an alternative English language proficiency test acceptable to DIAC ,including TOEFL, Pearson Test of Academic English (PTE), a Cambridge English Advanced Test (CAE), or an Occupational English Test; or evidence that you studied English for at least 5 years in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom or the United States; or evidence that you have, within 2 years prior to your application, successfully completed in Australia:

(a) A Foundation Course; or
(b) A Senior Secondary Certificate of Education; or
(c) At least 50% of a Certificate IV; or
(d) Higher level qualification from the Australian Qualifications Framework

DIAC publish a test score equivalency table in relation to all of these different testing systems.

Q. What are the financial requirements that I must prove?

All international students are either required to demonstrate or declare (depending on the relevant assessment level) that they have genuine access to sufficient funds to be granted a student visa. You may have to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover these expenses for the first one year or two years in Australia, depending on your assessment level. Students will normally have to demonstrate or declare expenses in relation to travel, tuition and living. Student guardians will be required to demonstrate sufficient expenses in relation to travel and living.

DIAC will consider a range of factors in determining whether you demonstrate sufficient access to funds. Factors considered by DIAC include:

(a) Your previous financial and immigration history;
(b) Your employment history or the history of the person providing you with academic support;
(c) The source of the income to be used.

Q. What are Australia’s health requirements?

Almost all visa applicants (and in some circumstances their dependents) are required to meet the health requirement. To do this they must be free from a disease or condition that is:

(a) Considered to be a threat to the public health, or a danger to the Australian community;

(b) Likely to result in significant health care and community service costs to the Australian community;

(c) Likely to require health care and community services that would prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to those services in short supply.

Depending on the type of visa that you apply for, you may be required to undertake both a general medical examination and an x-ray. This requirement may also include any dependents you may have. Chest x-rays are not normally required in relation to persons below the age of 11 years.

DIAC will not accept medical examinations and chest x-rays taken by your own doctor. These must be conducted by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, or by a practitioner on a list of specified doctors offshore.

Q. What health insurance do I need?

You must have health insurance while you are in Australia. The level of insurance you need as a student is called “Overseas Student Health Cover”. This provides medical and hospital insurance.

The only exceptions to the requirement for OSHC are certain Norwegian, Swedish and Belgium students.

OSHC is available for a period of up to 5 years, but can be extended. If your course is for 10 months or more in length and you finish the course in November or December, you must provide OSHC until March 15 of the following year. If your study finishes at any other time, you need to ensure that OSHC expires at least two months after the date of your confirmation of enrolment. If you study for less than 10 months, OSHC must be at least one month after the end of your confirmation of enrolment. If you are undertaking a Ph.D. you must have OSHC that expires 8 months after the end date of your confirmation of enrolment.

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