Guidelines for Indian Students wishing to study in Australia Guidelines for Indian Students wishing to study in Australia

Australia has, in recent years, become one of the preferred destinations of Indian students for pursuing higher studies, and even more so for gaining vocational skills.

  • India continues to be the second-largest source country for international student enrolments in Australia, with a total number of 86,782 Indian students studying in Australia in January-July 2022 period.

Working in Australia while studying

To address workforce shortages, Government of Australia has temporarily relaxed student visa work hours restrictions. This will end on 30 June 2023.

Until 30 June 2023, all ongoing students as well as new student arrivals and secondary applicants are able to work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy and work before their? course of study commences.

?After the 30 June 2023, the number of hours a Student visa holder will be allowed to work will again be capped. The number of hours a Student visa holder works, is decided keeping in mind that Students focus on obtaining a quality Australian education and qualification.

Students must make sure they are aware of any changes to visa conditions, including work rights.

For more information see media release: Post-study work rights for international students to boost skills.?

The adult national minimum wage in Australia, as of July 2022 is A$ 21.38 per hour, this changes annually;unscrupulous employers are known to pay much less, especially to students. In case you have any work related complaint against your employer, please approach Fair Work Ombudsman with relevant details. For more information regarding your work place rights, visit :www.fairwork.gov.au

It is essential that students wishing to come to Australia do as much research as possible to try and ensure a wise choice of institution as also to try and understand as clearly as possible the kind of life that awaits them here, so that they enjoy a positive experience of studying and living in Australia, as indeed most Indian students do.

Students (and their families) are advised to carefully go through the guidelines given below, which are intended to make them aware of what they need to know before coming to study in Australia.

Before arriving in Australia

  • Students wishing to study in Australia are advised to be fully informed of all the actual costs involved in studying in Australia, as also of the relevant rules and regulations governing work, housing and other aspects of living in Australia.

  • Before committing yourself to studying in Australia, do your research.

  • Find the course which is right for you (see the "Resources" section).

  • Make sure that the institution offering the course has a good reputation, especially if it is a privately-run institution. You can do this by:-

  • Checking that the institution and the course that you plan to take, is properly registered with the Australian government, which you can do at http://cricos.education.gov.au/ ,www.studyinaustralia.gov.au .

  • Carefully reading the website of the institution, which should provide all the information you need to make an informed decision, such as a description of the course offered, the environment, the teaching methods, facilities, minimum English language proficiency, etc.

Tips for choosing the right education agent

  • Once you have selected the institution of your choice, see if you can enrol with it directly. In case you want to use an agent, please check with the institution for a list of its authorised education agents.

  • Check with the Education Officer in the Australian High Commission in New Delhi or the Consulates in Mumbai and Chennai

  • Check with friends or others whom you may know who are studying or have studied in Australia.

  • Check to see if the agent has completed the Education Agents Training Course:www.pieronline.org . Qualified agents will have a good knowledge of the Australian education system, visa requirements and life in Australia.

Agreement with the Education Provider / Agent

  • When you have decided your course of study, you must sign a written agreement with the education provider before you pay any course money.

  • The written agreement is a very important contract between you and the education provider which sets out the course you will be enrolled in; enrolment conditions; the fees you need to pay, and the refund payable if you don’t complete your course with that provider.

  • Read the written agreement carefully before you sign it.

  • Make sure that you understand all your rights, including the refund arrangements.

  • Do obtain a copy of the written agreement and any other papers you sign.

You will need a copy of the written agreement so that you are aware of your rights. You will also need the written agreement in case you need to make a claim against the provider

Donts

  • If you are not happy with any of the terms of the agreement, do not sign the written agreement or pay the agent any money

  • Do not sign the agreement just because the agent tells you to sign it.

  • Do not use an education agent who asks you to sign the agreement without reading it.

  • Do not make any payments to the agent until you have read and signed the written agreement.

  • All applications for student visas and permanent residency are assessed by the Australian Government. The agents cannot guarantee that you will obtain a visa or permanent residency. .Do not use agents who guarantee that you will obtain a student visa, or permanent residence

  • Getting a job depends on the availability of work and your skills. Do not use agents who guarantee that you will be able to get work in Australia readily with a high salary.

  • Do not use education agents for migration advice, unless they are also Registered Migration Agents.

Migration advice

In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Registered Migration Agents are bound by a Code of Conduct and are required to have an in-depth knowledge of Australian migration law and procedure and meet high professional and ethical standards. For an updated list of agents registered with MARA, visit its websitewww.mara.gov.au .

  • Make sure you cross-check what an agent tells you with the website of the concerned institution and with the various sources of information listed in the "Resources" section.

  • Please also write down all the promises made by the agent and get him to sign the list; this would be required in case of any dispute, and also is a confirmation that the agent is not taking you for a ride but is willing to stand by what he is offering.

  • Make sure that you have adequate finances to cover the cost of living as well as your education costs. Australian regulations require one to have a minimum of A$ 18000 per year to cover basic living costs on accommodation, transport and food. Remember that no matter what the agent or anyone else tells you, it is very difficult to earn enough through part-time work to meet all your expenses including tuition fees.

  • The minimum wage as of July 2022 is A$ 21.38 per hour; this changes annually; however, unscrupulous employers are known to pay much less, especially to students.

  • You are legally permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours in a fortnight while the course is in session (excluding any work undertaken as a registered component of your course of study or training); however, the work hour restrictions have been put off till 30th June 2023 given the accute labour shortage. Hence, till 30 June 2023, students are legally permitted to work more than 40 hours in a fortnight. (For more details on living in Australia, see "Resources" section).

  • Also make sure that you have a written agreement from the college/ institution before paying any fees; this will be essential if there is any dispute.

  • The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 alongwith its associated legislative instruments, available at the following link, www.internationaleducation.gov.au , provides the Australian regulatory framework that governs the delivery of education and training services to foreign students in Australia.

  • The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (The National Code) National Code of Practice  provides standards for education providers as well as state and territory regulatory authorities in Australia.

  • During 2010, DIAC has announced major changes in rules relating to General Skilled Migration leading to Permanent Residency in Australia. The details are available atwww.immi.gov.au

  • Changes in Student Visa Regulations: The website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) at www.immi.gov.au  has comprehensive information on the rules and regulations relating to visas, including student visas. For the latest changes announced by Australian government regarding student visa visit:www.immi.gov.au

  • The tough immigration measures, increased competition from other countries and rising cost of Australian Dollar have resulted in falling numbers of applications in the international education sector, adversely affecting the industry. To address these concerns the Australian Government announced, on 16 December, 2010 changes to allow lower entry requirements for overseas students and astrategic review of student visa programme headed by former NSW Minister for Sydney Olympics, Mr. Michael Knight to look into the framework underpinning the student visa programme; risks and recommend ways to improve partnerships between education providers and visa processing arrangements.

  • On 22 September 2011, the federal Government released the report submitted by Mr. Michel Knight on‘Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011’. It accepted all 41 recommendations made by Knight Review with the majority proposed to be implemented through 2012-13. Major recommendations include streamlined visa processing for students applying to study at universities at bachelor level or higher; reduced financial requirements when applying for student visa; all graduates from Australian bachelor degree to have access to 2 years post-study work visa; no minimum English level for visa applicants who want to study English courses; legislative changes be made to require the name of any agent involved to be entered into the student’s data; repeal automatic cancellation and mandatory cancellation provisions for student visas; the Government to support high quality Australian vocational education providers in expanding their offshore training services etc.

  • The Australian Government plans to implement the package in two major stages. Under Stage 1 of the implementation process, from 5 Nov., 2011 the Australian Government has reduced the financial requirements for higher risk Assessment Level 3 and Assessment Level 4 student visa applicants (applicable respectively for University level and VET sector in case of Indian students). This reduces the financial requirements by up to approximately A$36 000 for an Assessment Level 4 applicant and up to approximately A$ 18 000 for an Assessment Level 3 applicant. Applicants for the non-university sector in particular will benefit from this change. Also, the government has introduced a new genuine temporary entrant requirement for all student visa applicants with a view to reduce migration risk.

  • In December 2011, the Government announced plans to extend eligibility of the post-study work visa. In addition to university graduates, the new post-study work arrangements are to be extended to Bachelor, Masters by coursework, Masters by research and PhD degree graduates from other education providers accredited to offer degree level programs in Australia.

  • For more details on the Knight Review visit www.immi.gov.au

Students are advised to visit the above websites to familiarise themselves with:-

  • your legal rights as a student and all the relevant rules and regulations that apply to you;

  • the standards prescribed for registered providers (university/college etc.) and education agents, so that you can check with the university/college as well as the education agents about the compliance of these standards and requirements, including student support services, including critical incident policy and complaints and appeals processes; and

  • the relevant immigration rules and regulations that will govern your life as a student in Australia, including work rights and those rules that will apply to you if you choose to stay on in this country after finishing your studies to seek permanent residency.

Health Insurance:

As an international student, it is a condition of your student visa that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for entire duration of your study in Australia. For details visitwww.oshcworldcare.com.au  (see "Resources" section for more information on OSHC - Overseas Student Health Cover).You should ensure that your health insurance covers the entire period of your

Stay in Australia.

  • You may also consider insuring any valuables or expensive electronic items that you may possess.

Import of goods in baggage: Please remember that all luggage is x-rayed or screened on arrival. You must declare all food, plant material and animal products for quarantine inspection. If you fail to declare or dispose of any quarantine items or make false declarations you will be caught. You could be fined A$ 220 on-the-spot; or you could be prosecuted and fined more than A$ 60,000 and risk 10 years in jail. You will not be penalised if goods are declared. For more details about the list of goods that need to be declared and which ones are prohibited from entry into Australia, visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/travelling 

After you arrive in Australia - Settling Down

  • On arrival, you should convey by means of an e-mail or a letter, to the High Commission/Consulate, your contact details, including name and address, the name of the university/ educational institution you are studying in, details of the course you are joining, and the duration of your intended stay in Australia.

Contact Details

  • After completing enrolment formalities, familiarise yourself with the student services offered by the institution that you have joined, such as counselling services, help in finding suitable accommodation and jobs, assistance in improving your English etc.

  • Check out the various banks on campus and see what they offer before opening an account. Please do not keep large amounts of cash at home or on your person.

  • Check out different plans before buying a mobile phone. Remember to use phone cards for international calls.

  • Whatever accommodation you choose, remember it is your responsibility to maintain it and keep it clean. If you are sharing accommodation, discuss how domestic chores would be shared before committing yourself.

  • Also familiarise yourself with the educational aids available to you, especially the library and online resources, keeping in mind your course structure and the evaluation methods that apply to you.

  • You have many rights as a student in Australia. Learn about your rights as a student and the procedures that you should follow to exercise these rights. See "Resources" section.

  • For more information on accommodation, transport and the various government services that students can avail of, see "Resources" section.

  • You should obtain, from the university authorities, details about the security situation in and around your university and place of stay. You should also get to know the local policing arrangements through the concerned authorities in the university.

  • In your University/place of study, it would be useful for you to keep in touch not only with other Indian students but also with Australian and other international students.

  • Any and all complaints should be brought to the attention of appropriate authorities; at no stage, should you take or attempt to take the law into your own hands; breaking the law will invite strict legal and police action, which could include deportation. See "Resources” section.

  • Remember that you are representing India in Australia. Behave appropriately at all times.

  • There are a large number of Indian Associations in Australia. After coming to Australia, you may feel lonely and alienated. Please keep in touch with the High Commission/Consulates which can put you in contact with the local Indian Associations and the Indian community so that you feel at home. You should also get to know the local Indian Associations and keep in touch with them. See "Resources"section. The Indian Associations are there to help the Indian community in Australia, including students. They organise many cultural functions where you could participate and get to know other members of the community, including senior Indians who are willing and ready to mentor you and offer useful tips and advice.

Living safely in Australia

  • Keep important documents and money in a safe place.

  • Make sure you keep photocopies of relevant pages in your passport and other important documents in a separate place.

  • Also keep a scanned copy of important documents in your personal email.

  • Try not to travel alone late at night. If you are travelling alone, make sure that you have checked out your route carefully and try and keep to well-lit, populated areas as far as possible.

  • Make sure that someone knows where you are going and at what time you are expected to return.

  • Don't carry more cash with you than what is required.

  • When you are travelling alone or late at night, it is advised do not make it obvious that you are in possession of expensive items, such as mobile phones, iPods or laptops.

  • Always carry with you some identification as well as details of who should be contacted in an emergency.

  • If in danger, dial 000 to get police help. Check out the other hotline numbers in the "Resources" below.

  • In case you have a complaint, get in touch with the officer responsible for students welfare in the High Commission or the Consulate nearest to you, at the contact details given in "Resources" section.

  • If you have a genuine problem, do not hesitate to approach the police or other authorities; making a complaint will not affect your visa status.

Universal rules of behaviour which are important to remember

Always remember that you are an Indian and that your behaviour will determine the image of India and Indians registered by those people who interact with you. Obviously, none of you would wish to project a negative image of India and Indians. Therefore, it is important to always remember and abide by the following basic rules of behaviour which all of you already know but which are worth emphasizing :

  • An aspect of your behaviour to which you should pay special attention is not invading another person's privacy or personal space. Maintain some distance from the person you are talking to (at least an arm’s length).

  • Do not push or shove in crowds.

  • Don't ever break a queue - this is very important!

  • Do not stare openly at passers-by.

  • Don't talk so loudly that other people are disturbed.

  • Don't ask personal questions of strangers.

  • Please show respect for all, irrespective of age, gender, dress or appearance.

  • Be polite. Greet people with a smile and a hello or good-day or how are you; respond when other greet you the same way.

  • Please always use 'Please' and 'Thank you' - these words will serve you well.

  • Please respect other's time and be punctual; if you are running late or cannot make an appointment, please ensure that you inform the person you are going to meet, well in time.

  • Remember that certain aspects of Australian culture are different from your own. Do not make any judgements about people based on the fact that they speak, dress or behave differently from you.

Making the most of your Australian Experience

  • For many of you, this may perhaps be the first time that you are away from home and in a foreign country, enjoying your first taste of independence. Please do remember, however, that in Australia, if you are over 18 years of age, you will be treated as an adult and held responsible for your actions and consequences.

  • Remember that as a student studying in Australia, you have an opportunity to learn about Australia and other cultures. Spend time with other students from other countries and with Australian students. This is the best way of not feeling isolated and will considerably enrich your experience of studying in a foreign country.

Remember, when learning about Australian and other cultures that some people you meet may not know much about Indian culture. You should be ready to communicate with the persons you meet, about where are you from and your culture; also for e.g. which foods you can or cannot eat or any other cultural needs, stating quite clearly the reasons behind them.

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