Everything you should know about Australia’s Student Visa (subclass 500)

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Australia is one of the top study destinations in the world. The country attracts thousands of applications from international students due to the high standard of education and better career prospects the country offers. If you are an international student aspiring to study in Australia, here is everything you need to know about Australia’s student visa. 

Until July 1, 2016, Australia had multiple student visas (subclass 570,571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576 and 580) each of which was specific to a particular type of course. But, Schedule 4 of the Migration Legislation Amendment which commenced on July 1, 2016, simplified the process by repealing all the subclasses and introducing Student Visa (subclass 500) and Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590) which are now the common student visas for all the courses. Irrespective of the course a student secures admission for in Australia, Student Visa (subclass 500) is the student visa to be applied for. 

Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590) is issued for the guardian who comes along with a minor student (below 18 years of age) as a supporting custodian during the course period. The validity of the visa depends on the course duration of the student, who is the primary visa holder. Under exceptional circumstances in which even if the student is a major, guardian visa is issued to their companion if the student requires an adult’s support. The guardian must be at least 21 years old.  

Student Visa (subclass 500) 

International students must hold a valid student visa for the entire duration of their studies in Australia. Along with the visa, Overseas Students Healthcare (OSHC) is also mandatory during the stay. With the Student Visa (subclass 500), an international student can study in any of the following seven sectors in Australia.

  1. English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)  - an English course that an international student can take before commencing their studies in Australia.
  2. Primary, junior secondary, senior secondary school or an approved secondary school education program
  3.  Vocational education and training program 
  4. Higher education (Bachelor degree, associate degree, higher education diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and Masters by coursework)
  5. Postgraduate Research (Master’s degree by Research or Doctoral degree)
  6. Non-award foundation studies and other full-time courses not leading to an Australian award.
  7. Full-time course of any type if the student is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Defence. 

With this visa, an international student can stay in Australia for up to 5 years and can bring family members to stay with them. They can also work up to 40 hours a fortnight. 


  • Be enrolled in a course of study in Australia
  • Hold an Overseas Student Health Cover or fall in an exemption category
  • Above 6 years of age
  • Hold a proof that you have welfare support if you are under 18

While you hold this visa, you can travel in and out of Australia. You can also bring your partner and your children or your partner’s children (children under 18). The type of course and its length determines the validity of your student visa.

Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is necessary to apply for this visa and a student needs to meet the financial requirements and English language proficiency requirements the course demands. These requirements vary between course to course. Generally, a student is expected to provide evidence to the availability of funds to cover the expenses of themselves and their family members for the intended course stay duration in Australia. The English proficiency requirements should be met by obtaining the required scores in one of the accepted English tests (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, Cambridge English test, Occupational English Test) and submitting the results of the same.

You can apply for this visa from outside Australia and the processing fee starts from AUD 620. 
When your student visa expires, you should leave the country. If your visa expires before your graduation, you could apply for a Visitor Visa (subclass 600) to continue your stay until the date of graduation confirmed by your education provider.

As mentioned earlier, you are expected to leave Australia after graduation but acquiring specific diplomas or undergraduate and postgraduate degrees might make you eligible to apply for Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) which could extend your stay for another 2 to 4 years on a successful acquisition. If you graduate with an engineering degree from a recognized institution, you can also apply for a Skilled Recognition Graduate Visa (subclass 476), if you are looking to continue your stay in Australia. 

*The purpose of the blog is to give readers only a brief overview of the Student  Visa (subclass 500).  For the latest and the most accurate information on the same, seek help from a certified migration consultant or visit the website of the Home Affairs Department, Australia. 

AECC Global is an award-winning educational and career consultancy. If you are an international student looking to have a career in Australia, seek our certified consultants help today to find your smartest path to achieve your career aspirations.

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