If you wish to Study in Australia, you would need to apply for and get a Student Visa. The visa guidelines for Australian Student visa have changed and a Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF) has been initiated from July 1, 2016, onwards. As per the new visa guidelines implemented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australian Government, all students planning to study in Australia need to apply for Visa under Subclass 500 with effect from July 1, 2016. Applications prior to July 1, 2016, were accepted under different subclasses. Recent changes have combined the erstwhile subclasses 571 – 576 under this subclass 500. So, students that are planning to apply to any of the sectors need to apply for Student Visa under Subclass 500 w.e.f. July 1, 2016.

Main Features of the new Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF) for Australian Student Visa

Earlier the visas were categorized under Immigration Risk wherein students applying from certain countries were categorized under Assessment Level Framework. The new guidelines have a new combined country and immigration risk framework instead of the old Assessment Level Framework and paper applications have been permanently discontinued.

The New SSVF categorizes the students’ basis both
1. Nationality

Note, a student’s nationality is determined by the passport. Irrespective of where the students are applying for the visa, the nationality on the passport would be considered. For instance, an Indian Student staying in the USA and applying for a visa from the USA would be considered under the risk levels as specified for India by DIBP.

2. Education Provider’s risk of default

Some of the Universities in Australia have been marked as riskier than others.

Check out the Top 5 Universities in Canberra.

The table below indicates the classification of students under the new SSVF rule

Country Immigration Risk
One Two Three
Education Provider’s Risk Category One Streamlined Streamlined Streamlined
Two Streamlined Streamlined Regular
Three Streamlined Regular Regular

DIBP has a tool basis which a student would be identified under the Streamlined/ Regular process. The tool would accordingly populate the list of documents students would be required to furnish. Students are advised to have all the documents ready as DIBP reserves the right to ask for either or all of the documents at the time of the application.

Cost of Visa

The cost of all the subclass visas for students is AUD$ 575. The Australian Government does not require you to have a visa label in your passport to travel to, enter or remain in Australia.

All online applications and services are charged in Australian dollars.
Acceptable credit cards are MasterCard, VISA, American Express. When paying by credit card in Australian dollars you may incur banking and currency conversion fees and you will need to accept the risk associated with any currency fluctuations.

Various Programs/ Sectors Eligible for Student Visa under SubClass 500
Following is a list of the various sectors/ categories which have been combined to fall under the Subclass 500. Students applying for and admitted to either of the following are eligible to apply for a student visa to Australia.

Independent ELICOS Sector

Students can travel to Australia for a short-term English language course. Referred to as ELICOS or the English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students, the courses lead to a certificate I, II, III or IV. The courses usually vary in length.

Vocational Education and Training Sector

Vocational Education and Training Sector Students enrolled in a registered Vocational Education and Training Course (VET) by a TAFE institute or a private institute can apply for this subclass of visa. That essentially covers student enrolled in either of the following courses:

Certificate I, II, III and IV (except ELICOS)
VET Diploma
VET Advanced Diploma
Vocational Graduate Certificate
Vocational Graduate Diploma
Higher Education Sector

Higher Education Sector refers to Students that are enrolled in a registered full-time higher education course at a University/ college or institutes. The following courses are covered under this category of visa:

Courses at undergraduate level at a University (Bachelor/Associate Degree)
Courses for postgraduate level at a university (master’s degree by coursework like MBA, MS, etc.)
Post Graduate courses that offer a higher education diploma or advanced diploma like PGDBM, etc.
Essentially, these are courses that extend beyond a year. However, they can also be of a shorter duration.

Post Graduate Research Sector

This sector refers to students enrolled for

Master’s degree by research
Doctoral degree
Student sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Trade or the Department of Defense also falls under one unified category.

Also, read about student visas for study abroad and student visa for prominent international study destinations:

Student Visa for Sweden
Student Visa for Netherlands
Student Visa for Germany