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Important Update: Student Visa Fund Changes for 2018

Important Update: Student Visa Fund Changes for 2018

Posted in News by Fabio Mejia.

The Department of Home Affairs has made some changes to the student visa fund which would be in effect from February 2018.

As per the rules and regulations, students are supposed to show funds to support their study, travel, stay in Australia and other miscellaneous expenses throughout their duration of studies

Student visa financial capacity requirements

You need to have enough money that is genuinely available to you to pay for your course fees, travel and living costs for you and your accompanying family members while you are in Australia.

You may need to provide specified documentary evidence of your financial capacity with your visa application. You can find out if you are likely to need to provide this evidence by using the Document Checklist Tool.

Documentary evidence of financial capacity

Documentary evidence of financial capacity

Where you need to provide evidence of financial capacity, you will be able to demonstrate this by providing one of the following:

  • 12 months’ of funds option
    • Provide evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and (for school aged dependants) schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members
    • If you are coming to Australia for a short course, you will only need to show evidence of funds for the intended period of stay.
  • Annual income option
    • Provide evidence that you meet the annual income requirement.
  • Secondary exchange students
    • Provide an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES) form (secondary exchange students only).
  • Foreign Affairs or Defence students
    • Provide a letter of support from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence.

If you are using the 12 months’ fund option to demonstrate financial capacity, an accurate calculation of funds is required. Below is an outline of the funds to calculate. The type of evidence includes money deposit or loan with an approved financial institution, government loan, scholarship or sponsorship.

The annual income option requires students to provide evidence of personal annual income of at least AUD60,000. For students accompanied by family members the amount is AUD70,000. The income demonstrated must be the personal income of your spouse (who is not travelling with you) or parents. In circumstances where both of your parents are working, their combined income can be considered for this requirement. In all cases, the evidence of annual income must be provided in the form of official government documentation, such as a tax assessment.

Where our online application system indicates that documentary evidence of financial capacity is required, it is important that you attach these documents to your visa application prior to lodgement. Failure to do so may result in visa refusal.

Genuine access to funds

You and your accompanying family members must demonstrate that you will have access to the funds while you are in Australia.

Some examples of how to evidence genuine access include:

  • When another person or business is providing funds, show evidence of the relationship and any history of financial support provided to the student or any other students. It is also good practice to provide identity documents for the person providing the funds or evidence that the business is currently operating.
  • If relying on a money deposit, any recent large deposits must be explained. You may also consider explaining ongoing deposits – like wages.
  • If you have an education loan to cover tuition fees or living expenses (such as accommodation) disbursement should occur according to the agreement between the bank, provider and yourself. Evidence of any disbursement which occurs before the visa application has been finalised, should be provided. Evidence of the terms of the loan and the full amount of the loan that will be disbursed should be attached.
    • Providers should be aware of the conditions placed on the education loan. Some loans offer deferred repayment against future earnings of the student and are conditional on the student studying only the stipulated course as that provider.
  • If you are relying on another type of loan, you may consider showing evidence of collateral used to get the loan, the terms of the agreement and capacity to cover ongoing costs. The best evidence of genuine access for a loan is full disbursement.

12 month’s of funds option – calculation of funds

Living cost amounts

From 1 July 2016, the 12 month living cost is:

  • student or guardian – AUD19,830
  • partner or spouse – AUD6,940
  • child – AUD2,970.

From 1 February 2018, the 12 month living cost is:

  • student/guardian AUD20,290
  • partner/spouse AUD7,100
  • child AUD3,040.

Course fees

Calculate the first 12 months of your course fees or include the total cost of your course if it is for a duration of 12 months or less. Deduct any prepaid costs and provide evidence of these payments (this should be on your Confirmation of Enrolment or provide receipts).

If you are in Australia and your course has already commenced, calculate the course fee payable for the 12 month period commencing from the date on which you lodge your application.

Example 1: if your course fee is AUD50,000 for three years, determine the fee for one year (12 months) by dividing the total amount by the number of years. The amount will be AUD16,666. Deduct any pre-paid amounts.

Example 2: If your course fee is AUD15,000 for ten months, and you have already paid AUD5,000, deduct this prepaid amount from the total amount. The amount will be AUD10,000.

Example 3: if your course fee is AUD20,000 for 18 months, determine the fee for one year (12 months) by dividing the total amount by the number of months, then times by 12 (20,000 / 18 x 12). The amount will be AUD13,333. Deduct any pre-paid amounts.

Schooling costs

Where school aged children are included in your student visa application, schooling costs of AUD 8,000 per year for each child will need to be added to the amount of funds that is required. This amount is the minimum required for a visa application only and you are responsible for researching schooling costs, which may vary widely between states, territories and schools in Australia.

You do not have to provide evidence of schooling costs if you are:

    • a PhD student and can show you have enrolled your child in an Australian government school where the fees have been waived
    • received an Australian Commonwealth Government scholarship, including Foreign Affairs and Defence sponsored students, and you can show you have enrolled your child in a government school where the fees have been waived.

Travel costs

If applying outside Australia, include AUD2,000 (except if applying from East or Southern Africa, include AUD2,500; West Africa include AUD3,000).

If applying in Australia, include AUD1,000 (except if returning to Africa, include AUD1,500).

Family members of students

Family members of existing student visa holders will need to apply for a subclass 500 visa if they do not currently hold a student visa and wish to join you in Australia.

Generally, the same level of evidentiary requirements of financial capacity applied to primary applicants (students) would apply to your family members, including subsequent dependants.

In all circumstances, our officers have discretion to ask for further evidence of funds, if required.

Reference:  https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/stud/more/student-visa-living-costs-and-evidence-of-funds