What if I decide to pursue a different field of study? Am I allowed to do that? Do I need to get a new student visa? These are only a few of the questions an international student like yourself would ask once you’ve made a decision to shift to a new course, level or education provider.
Lucky for you, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) allows changes in the mentioned aspects. However, you have to be careful with your steps to achieve smooth transition to your new field of study and not risk breaching visa conditions. We have listed 4 key points that will help make an informed decision and avoid unnecessary stress.
Simplified student visa framework
The Australian government launched the Simplified student visa framework (SSVF) on 1st July 2016. It is aimed to make the process of applying for a student visa simpler to navigate for genuine students. With the Simplified student visa framework (SSVF), international students will need only to apply a single Student visa (subclass 500) regardless of their chosen course of study and a single immigration risk framework will apply to all international students.
What are the 4 key points to consider when changing course, level or provider under Simplified student visa framework?
1. Same rules apply
As an international student holding a valid student visa, you are expected to continue to meet the conditions of your current student visa.
In terms of changing your education provider, your first point of reference should be the transfer policy of your provider. These should give you sufficient information about your transfer plan. And in most cases, students need to seek permission from the existing provider to transfer to another. Additionally, the ESOS National Code is able to explain the conditions wherein change of education provider, for those who are barely six months studying the main course of study, are possible.
2. No downgrading
Under SSVP, all student visa holders must maintain their enrolment at the same level or a higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level for which they were granted a visa. Transferring to a lower AQF level will result in visa breach and may risk cancellation of your visa. You are required to apply for and be grated a new student visa.
If you are studying a Bachelor of Business (Level 7) and wish to shift to an Advance Diploma of Accounting (Level 6). The rule applies even if the change is with the same provider.
If you are studying doctoral degree (AQF10) and wishes transfer to a master’s degree (AQF9). This is permitted and will not require a new student visa.
3. Non-AQF Award courses
As described by AQF, non-AQF qualifications are those that are not government quality assured and not accredited by the Australian higher education or vocational education and training accreditation authorities. If you are holding to a student visa and you wish to transfer to a non-AQF level course, you would need to apply for and be granted a new student visa. Please note that such transfer is a breach of the student visa condition and might result in visa cancellation.
If you are studying a Certificate IV (AQF level 4) and want to transfer to English courses also known as English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.
If you are studying a non-AQF course and want to transfer to an AQF course, you would not need to apply for a new student visa.
4. Discuss your plans
While researching can definitely help in future decisions, we would encourage you to seek help from the professionals. Expert education consultants can provide you options and perspectives which you have not considered. Not to mention providing assistance every step of the process ensuring that all requirements are met according to the timeline resulting to hassle free experience.
AECC Global Education consultants can help you fulfil your dream education. Explore your university and course options. Discuss your career and PR pathways. And remember to ask for available scholarships!