International Students

Studying in Australia

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that international students have an excellent education experience in Australia.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has released a factsheet for international students containing important information on:

    • the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) framework
    • choosing and enrolling in a course of study
    • support services available in Australia
    • your rights and responsibilities as an international student in Australia
    • working in Australia
    • making complaints and getting help.

For more information visit Study Australia or the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework.

Enrolment, deferment, suspension, cancellation

International students must study full-time unless they are directed to reduce their study load or permitted to take fewer units due to compassionate and compelling circumstances.

After a student is enrolled, they will only be permitted to defer their course commencement where there are compassionate or compelling circumstances, or where there is a delay in granting their visa.

Students may also be permitted to suspend their studies temporarily in compassionate or compelling circumstances. More information is in the Student Handbook.

A student is expected to complete their course within the course duration specified on their Confirmation of Enrolment. AAHE may exclude a student for unsatisfactory progress, as set out in the Academic Progress Procedure (see https://docs.aahe.edu.au/policies/).

AAHE may suspend a student’s enrolment for breaches of the Student Academic Integrity Policy or the Student Code of Conduct (see https://docs.aahe.edu.au/policies/).

AAHE may cancel a student’s enrolment for any of the following:

  • academic misconduct, as set out in the Student Academic Misconduct Procedure (see https://docs.aahe.edu.au/policies/)
  • general misconduct, as set out in the Student General Misconduct Procedure (see https://docs.aahe.edu.au/policies/)
  • non-payment of fees, as set out in the Fees and Charges Procedure (see https://docs.aahe.edu.au/policies/)
  • they cannot be contacted within two calendar days after the compulsory orientation program commences
  • failure to comply with their visa conditions or to remain enrolled full time
  • failure to return to AAHE without seeking approval after deferring or temporarily suspending their studies.

A deferment, suspension or cancellation may affect a student’s visa. Students will be reminded of the potential impact on their visa and the relevant government department will be notified of the decision.

The Australian Qualifications Framework

All AAHE qualifications are recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF is the policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. It was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications encompassing higher education, vocational education and training (VET), and schools.

The purpose of AQF recognition is to provide a nationally consistent approach to course recognition and consistency as well as a common understanding across Australia of what defines every accredited qualification.

The AQF is constructed in the form of levels from Level 1 for Certificates to Level 10 for Doctorates. AAHE offers courses at AQF levels 7 (Bachelor) to 9 (Masters).

For further information, visit the AQF website.

Applying for a student visa

All international students in Australia require the same visa called the Student Visa (Subclass 500), which you must apply for online. Before you apply, you’ll need a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) from us, which is a Letter of Offer confirming that you have been accepted into an AAHE course. The COE will be in the form of an online code that you will need to enter into the appropriate section in the online visa application. You will also need to pay a deposit towards your tuition fees.

When completing your online visa application, you need to provide evidence of the following according to the Australian student visa requirements:

  • Financial requirements: Evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs. At present, the amount you need to prove you have for living costs (separate from tuition and travel) is set at a minimum of AU$20,290 (~US$13,750) for a year. If you have dependants (such as a spouse and children), you will also need to show evidence of being able to cover living costs for them, including school fees. Alternatively, you can show evidence that your spouse or parents are willing to support you and that they earn at least AU$60,000 (~US$40,660) a year.
  • English proficiency requirement: If you’re not from an English-speaking country and you haven’t completed at least five years’ study in an English-speaking country, you’ll need to prove you can speak English to the level required by AAHE (see AAHE Courses below).
  • Health requirements: Some students may be asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show that they’re in good health. If told to do so, you must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian Immigration Department. All international students are obliged to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). See below.
  • Character requirements: Australian student visa requirements stipulate that you must be of good character to enter Australia. This includes a criminal record check, to make sure you don’t have a substantial criminal record. You may also need to acquire a penal clearance certificate (or police certificate) or get a police statement, and may be asked to complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form.

The Department of Home Affairs website has a document checklist feature that provides you with a list of documents required for your specific circumstances. Typically, students must submit the following:

    • Completed Australian student visa application form (157A)
    • Paid visa application fee – currently AU$620 (~US$420) in most cases
    • Copy of passport biodata page (some students may be asked to physically provide their passport)
    • Confirmation of Enrolment or Letter of Offer from AAHE
    • Evidence of sufficient funds
    • Evidence of health insurance cover
    • English proficiency test results
    • Criminal record check results
    • Four recent passport-sized photographs

After you have assembled and scanned your supporting documents, you’ll need to create an account and apply with the online ImmiAccount application system.

Most visa applications take four weeks to process. If you study in Australia for an AAHE course that is longer than 10 months (the Bachelor and Master programs), your visa will usually be valid until 15 March the year following graduation. Under some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course (consult the Department of Home Affairs website for more details).

Using your student visa

You can enter Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts. Within seven days of arrival, you must inform AAHE of your residential address, and also inform us within seven days if you change address.

While on a student visa, you may work up to 40 hours per fortnight during term time, and full-time in the holidays. The visa is automatically issued with permission to work, although you’re not allowed to begin working until your course has started, and you should not rely on work in order to support yourself or your family while in Australia.

While in possession of a student visa, you have certain obligations to fulfil: you must remain enrolled in an approved course, attend classes regularly, make satisfactory course progress and maintain OSHC health insurance. AAHE is required to intervene where a student’s progress is unsatisfactory. If the student’s progress does not improve, we must notify the Department of Education and Training.

Further Information: see the Department of Home Affairs Website

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

International students are required by the Government to join a private health insurance scheme. You will need to pay the OSHC premium at the same time as your AAHE tuition fees. Overseas student health cover (OSHC) is insurance that defrays the costs of medical and hospital care which you may need while in Australia. The OSHC entitles you to free hospital cover and 85% of standard doctors’ fees. OSHC will also pay for most prescription drugs and some vaccinations as well as emergency ambulance transport. You must purchase an approved OSHC policy from a registered health benefits organisation, commonly referred to as a health fund before applying for your visa. You will also need to maintain OSHC throughout your stay in Australia. We can assist you in obtaining OSHC or you can purchase your own through another insurance company.

Further information: go to the government’s Overseas Student Health Cover website.

Transport

Melbourne modern public transport system includes trains, trams, buses and ferries. International students can purchase an iUSEpass that provides a 50% discount on the annual price of Myki (a reloadable smart card used on all public transport in place of cash). Metered taxicabs, Uber and Didi cabs also operate throughout the city.

Money and banks

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, money from other countries can be changed at the exchange facilities located at international airports, banks, major hotels and currency exchange kiosks in major shopping centres. Travellers cheques are easier to use if already in Australian dollars; however, banks will cash travellers cheques in virtually any currency. Major hotels and some shops will also cash travellers cheques.

It is a good idea to set up an Australian bank account. You will need to provide your visa and evidence of residency. All major banks have a branch in cities and regional centres. Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for withdrawals and, in many instances, deposits 24 hours a day.

Normal bank trading hours:

9.30 am – 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday

9.30 am – 5.00 pm Friday

Some banks are open Saturday mornings.

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely accepted around Australia. The most commonly accepted credit cards are Visa and Mastercard. Be aware that not all shops will accept American Express or Diners Club International cards. Some businesses will charge a surcharge for using credit cards to make payments.

Tipping

Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants. In better-class restaurants, it is usual to tip food and drink waiters up to 10% of the bill for good service, but tipping is always a matter of individual choice.

Student discounts

The AAHE student card can be used to qualify you for student discounts at a number of events and businesses such as cinemas. This is often a significant discount so remember to take your student card when going to events.

Working in Melbourne

Australia allows students to work up to 40 hours every two weeks (up to 48 hours from 1 July 2023) and unlimited hours during holiday breaks. The law requires that you be treated as an Australian citizen meaning that international students are entitled to the prevailing minimum wage rate. If you have any concerns about your conditions of employment, you have free access to Victoria’s Fair Work Ombudsman as well as free legal advice from Study Melbourne. International students work in a wide range of jobs, including as university and school tutors, call centre staff, retail sales assistants. waiters or bartenders, food delivery riders, and taxi or Uber or Didi drivers.

The AAHE Student Handbook has more information on websites to help you to find part time work.

If you would like to work in Melbourne, you will need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). Although it sounds daunting, getting a TFN is actually very easy and can be done online.

More information

For more information go to Living in Melbourne under Life at AAHE and you can download the Life in Australia booklet, which talks about our culture and values. (Translated copies are available).