The New Landscape for Australian Student Visas from 1 July 2016

Student visas

The Australian Government has announced that a new framework will be introduced in relation to Australian Student visas for international students. Introduction of the new system is supposed to simplify the application process for students to obtain Australian visas in order to study in Australia.

The New Student Visa Subclasses

From 1 July 2016, the only categories of Australian Student visas will consist of the following:

  1. The subclass 500 (Student ) visa; and
  2. The subclass 590 (Student Guardian) visa.

The new subclass 500 visa will replace the current Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa, Postgraduate Research Sector (subclass 574) visa, Non Award Sector (subclass 575) visa, Independent ELICOS Sector (subclass 570) visa, School Sector (subclass 571) visa and the  Vocational Education and Training Sector visa (subclass 572) visa. The new subclass 590 visa will replace the current Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa.

Streamlining Australian Student Visas

The range of requirements in relation to the Subclass 500 visa is intended to be streamlined for international students. Requirements will address issues of:

  • Valid enrolment: In applying for a Student visa, the applicant must have certification of enrolment ie confirmation by the registered education provider that the student is enrolled in a registered course;
  • Financial situation: A student must have ‘genuine access to funds’ ie they must be able to cover the costs of their stay in Australia and tuition fees;
  • English proficiency: An applicant applying for a Student visa must show evidence of a level of English language proficiency required for their course; and
  • Genuineness of the application: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will take into consideration the student’s circumstances in their home country and their immigration history.

The New Student Guardian Visa

The new subclass 590 (Student Guardian) visa will enable a relative of an international student to accompany the visa holder to Australia.

General requirements for the Student Guardian include that:

  • The visa applicant must have a genuine intention to provide appropriate support, accommodation and welfare for the international student;
  • The visa applicant must have access to adequate funds during the period of stay in Australia; and
  • The visa applicant must have a genuine intention to act as the student’s guardian in Australia.

Student Guardian visas will generally be available to the visa applicant where the student in question is under the age of 18. However, a Student Guardian visa may be approved where the student is over the age of 18 but exceptional circumstances apply.

Application for the New Student Visas

The subclass 500 (Student) visa and the subclass 590 (Student Guardian) visa can be applied for onshore in Australia or offshore.

Applications under the new Student visa regime will begin from 1 July 2016.

For advice regarding Australian Student visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at for Australian immigration assistance.


The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.