Student visa

International students now benefit from the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF), which was implemented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection from July 2016 onwards in an effort to simplify and streamline the visa process for students.

Did you know?

The Sub-Class 500 (Student) Visa

All international students at every level (i.e. school, diploma, degree) must apply for and maintain the SC 500 student visa over the duration of their studies. Different immigration rules apply to each individual, depending on the ‘risk score’ attributed to their course provider and their country.

Common Criteria

All students must have a confirmation of enrolment (COE), and students are required to be ‘genuine temporary entrants’. Students in Australia can still rely on a ‘letter of offer’ from a course provider as an alternative.

As a minimum standard, students must have a genuine intention and commitment to completing their course of study. Department officers usually adopt a holistic approach and assess all factors relevant to an assessment of whether a student is a ‘genuine student’.

Course hopping (particularly shifting to lower-level courses in order to circumvent the system and financial requirements) is closely scrutinized and can compromise your continuing eligibility for a student visa.

Students must comply with immigration rules and conditions including Condition 8202; which requires students to maintain their enrollment and restricts students from switching their enrollment to a course of study that is at a lower level to their original course of study (as per the COE against which their visa was granted). For example, a student studying at the AQF 7 level (Bachelor’s Degree) cannot switch their course to a Diploma (AQF 6).

Other conditions that apply include the requirement to maintain OSHC (overseas student health cover) and satisfy the ‘character’ requirements. Breaching these conditions can put students at risk of visa cancellations and could compromise future visa applications across all visa classes.

Financial & English Requirements

If your course provider is categorized as a ‘level 1’ provider on the immigration risk scale, you may not be required to provide evidence of finances and requisite (minimum) English language ability. However, such course providers often have risk management measures in place to ensure that their (selected) students can demonstrate satisfaction of such criteria.

This generally applies to all courses offered by such course providers at all levels (diploma, bachelors, masters etc.).

As Sri Lankan passport holders are categorized as ‘Level 3’ on the immigration risk scale, they are generally required to provide evidence of financial capacity and satisfy minimum English Language thresholds (to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) if their course provider has a score of 2 or 3 on the immigration risk scale.

English Language (thresholds) 

The required threshold can be reduced if the student ‘packages’ the relevant English language test with an ELICOS course.

TestScore10 Weeks ELICOS20 Weeks ELICOS
IELTS5.5 Average5 Average4.5 Average
TOEFL (Paper) *527500450
TOEFL iBT463532
OETB PassB PassB Pas

* The paper-based TOEFL is only accepted if taken in certain countries.

Financial Capacity

If a student is required to show evidence of financial capacity, they must provide evidence to the Department of Immigration (when applying for their student visa) that they either have access to or directly hold sufficient funds to cover;

Travel expenses (return ticket)

Living costs for the first 12 months of your stay in Australia (at least $ 20,290 for the student visa applicant)

Course fees for the first 12 months of study (amount depends on the relevant course of study)

If you are accompanied by dependents, the minimum financial threshold for living costs will rise accordingly;

$ 7100 (in addition to the $ 20,290 for the main applicant) – partner or spouse

$ 3040 (for each dependent child)

$ 8000 (schooling costs for dependent children at school-going age)

Sufficient forms of evidence (of funds) include deposits with a bank or financial institution, loans from a financial institution or Government or scholarship awards. There is no restriction on who can provide financial support (if can either be your parents, relatives etc.).

However, certain rules, general principles and understandings may apply to limit exactly who can provide such financial support.

Alternatively, if a student’s spouse or their parents can provide proof of sufficient income levels ($ 60,000 AUD equivalent per annum for single applicants and $ 70,000 for applicants with dependents); this can also be considered as sufficient evidence of financial capacity.


As an international student, you are required to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This ensures you meet your obligations under the student visa and will assist you in reducing medical costs.

As your student agent, we can arrange your OSHC health cover with a range of accepted providers and ensure that you receive the right cover for your particular circumstances.

Immigration Support

The simplified student visa framework allows prospective students the advantage of clearer guidance on the applicable rules and the steps that should be taken to mitigate the risk of visa refusal.

Our team is on hand to provide advice on Australian student visa requirements and specialised support services. These include checklists, guidance and assistance which are carefully designed and structured by our qualified, in-house Australian migration agent in order to ensure that our clients benefit from a streamlined, hassle-free student visa application process, and that they receive accredited, accurate advice on the documents and information that they are required to supply in support of their student visa applications.