OSHC Students – So, you’ve finally got your visa grant notice! It’s real, you’re coming to Australia to study an academic program.
However, once you start reading your visa conditions you feel as if you are being hit by a tsunami of weird terms and concepts, so you get confused and stop reading!
The first thing you have to do is understand your duties and responsibilities of your student visa in order to keep it and make your stay in Australia unforgettable. We’ve prepared a list of basic things you have to know when you have a student visa in Australia and you are over 18 years old. Read on to find them out and spread the word!
1. Your student visa is a commitment with the Australian Government and with Academic Institutions to be a genuine student.
This means you told the government you had the intention of becoming a professional in a certain field or that you wanted to master the English language. If you’ve got an approved visa, it means the government and your school will expect you to perform satisfactorily, attend your classes and comply with the rules of your school. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that institutions are made of their students and their performance, in turn, if a school has demotivated students, the quality of their programs will hardly be as high as expected.
2. You cannot overstay in Australia once your VISA has expired.
Generally speaking, the Australian Department of Home Affairs will grant you a grace period, usually 28 days, after your course has finished for you to arrange your departure back to your country. Some students think this period is “holiday time” and they embark on adventures that sometimes take longer than anticipated so they “innocently” spend extra days in Australia after their visa has expired. You MUST not stay in Australia longer than permitted as this could permanently affect your international visitor status and you could have trouble getting another international visa (of any kind) in the future. Make sure you have your expiry date always in mind and, in case you need to extend your stay, always talk to specialists on this matter or contact the Department of Home Affairs.
3. As an international student in Australia, you are allowed to work part-time.
Australia is a country full of opportunities for international students. If you are granted a student visa, you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and your job MUST NOT be prioritised over your studies. Many students rely on the idea of getting a job to cover all their expenses without having sufficient financial funds to enjoy their experience as students, which is also a visa condition itself.
If you get a student visa, you must understand that your priority will always be completing your course satisfactorily instead of working. This is especially important when it comes to organising your day given that some schools don’t offer their courses in the timetable students desire to increase their chances to get a job. However, students must know that they have to arrange their work opportunities around their school schedule, not the other way around. In this sense, it is important to remember that you are not supposed to start working before your course has commenced. On the other hand, when your course is not in session and you are on scheduled break, you can work more than 40 hours per fortnight. This will give you the freedom and chance to earn and save up more money.
4. Students MUST maintain satisfactory course progress and attendance.
Everybody gets sick, everybody has emergencies and for that reason, you are allowed to miss up to 20% of your classes when you are on a student visa. Let’s put it this way, if you are enrolled in a course for 100 days, you are allowed to miss 20 days – which is basically 4 weeks (for Elicos programs) That is A LOT of missing knowledge! Remember, if you are sick you can get a medical certificate to justify your absence, though, it won’t be removed from your attendance record. Similarly, if you are working and decide not to attend a class, you won’t be justified and will be marked absent regardless. Not only is attending your classes critical to your visa conditions but so is being on time. Many students get to their classes late and miss valuable minutes or hours which also has a negative impact on their attendance record. So, if you are an international student you have to be on time and attend your classes regularly!
5. You can generally apply for a leave of absence, but you’ve got to let your school know.
Some schools allow students to take holidays in between courses or consider some weeks of break in their enrolments. Under any circumstance, you HAVE to discuss your holidays request with your school in order to set the dates so you’re not considered absent. If you make it all the way to Australia, of course, you are expected to have some days off to discover this beautiful country! Just make sure you always have a confirmation of your holiday period in writing.
6. Your student visa is linked to your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).
When you apply for a student visa, it means that you were already given a CoE from the institution you are aiming to join. In other words, your visa will be granted according to the length of your course. Once you’ve started your course, if you decide to shorten it, your institution will cancel your CoE and your visa expiry date might be affected too.
7. You need to have a valid health insurance during your whole stay in Australia.
Most international students are required to arrange health insurance before they arrive in Australia. Specifically, you are required to have an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) from day 1 until your last day in Australia. If you extend your Student visa, you need to renew your policy and extend it to the very last day you’ll stay in Australia. This is really important and often overlooked. When some international students suffer an accident or get sick, not having proper health insurance is a breach of their visa conditions. Besides, it incurs huge medical expenses too.
8. Address, phone number and email have to be confirmed as soon as possible.
One of the first things you have to do when you arrive in Australia is contacting your educational agent or academic institution and let them know your contact details. This can be done during orientation day which is generally your first day of classes or directly at Student Services in your college. Although this might not seem as important, you must comply to share your address or phone number whenever you change them, within the first 7 days of the change.
There are more visa conditions that apply differently to some students, if you want to read more, we suggest you visit the Department of Home Affairs. Remember that you can always ask questions regarding this topic to minimise the risk of breaking your visa conditions due to a lack of understanding.
We hope this information was helpful and we appreciate if you share it!
Emma (OSHCstudents) – According to discoverenglish.com.au