Change course=Change Visa?

If you are not satisfied with the course you are doing and wish to transfer to another course, before you make the decision to enrol with another institution or course, you should be aware that there are rules
about what you can or cannot do. If you are thinking to changes, this article is for you. Before doing so, you need to make sure that you continue to meet the conditions of your visa or your visa may be canceled.

1.If you do not need to change Education Provider

And if you already have a student visa (Sub 500) and want to change courses to a lower Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level course or a non-AQF level course, you will need a new student visa.

You don’t need to apply for a new visa if you are studying at the same or higher AQF level or changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF 9 course (Masters degree).

For example:

  • You will need to apply for and be granted a new visa if you are studying a Bachelor of Science (Level 7) at a university and wish to transfer to a Diploma of Accounting (Level 5)
  • You will need to apply for and be granted a new visa if you are studying a Certificate IV (AQF level 4) and want to transfer to an ELICOS course (non-AQF course)
  • 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.

If you are holding (sub 570-576), You need to apply for a new Student Visa (subclass 500) if you want to change to a course that is in a different education sector to your current course. For example, changing from an ELICOS course to a Diploma course.

If your visa was granted under streamlined visa processing (SVP), you must continue to satisfy the requirement for the grant of the visa.

We could consider canceling your visa if you seek to transfer to a different education provider who was not an eligible education provider (before 1 July 2016) if:

  • it is within the first 12 months of your visa being granted, or
  • you are not from a country that was Assessment Level 1 before 1 July 2016.

2. If you also want to change the Education Provider

  • if you completed at least 6 months of your last course?

And if you are holding Sub 500 visa, You must stay enrolled at the same or higher course level (unless you are dropping from a Doctoral degree – PhD to a Master’s degree), or you may be breaching condition 8202 of your visa. Then we may cancel your visa.

You will generally need a new student visa if you want to change your main course of study to:

  • a lower AQF level course
  • a non-AQF course

And if you are holding Sub 570-576 visa,and you want to change to a different education sector,you will need to apply for a new Student (subclass 500) visa. For example, to change from a bachelor degree to a diploma course, you would need to apply for a new student visa. Your current visa subclass would not be the right one for your new course.

  • if you have not completed at least 6 months of your last course

Australian legislation says that you can only change institutions if:

  • your original institution can no longer provide the course you enrolled in, or
  • you have a letter from your original institution saying they will release you, or
  • you have a government sponsor and that sponsor writes a letter saying they support your change of course.

In other words, you will usually need your institution’s permission if you want to transfer before you have completed six months of your principal course.

Your original institution can only provide a letter of release if:

  • you have a letter from another institution saying they have made you an enrolment offer
  • where you are under 18, you have the support of your parent or legal guardian, or the institution wishing to enrol you says they will take responsibility for your welfare.

I know all this policy looks very complicated, and also case by case could be different. So you need an expert to sure you are under safe processing for your study and your visa.

Kate LEE

Kate migrated to Australia in 2007, going on to become a qualified education counsellor in 2009. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of international students achieve their academic dreams in universities across Australia. Kate helps her clients successfully complete their school enrollments and student visa applications. For clients outside Australia, she is always available for regular contact through Skype or Facebook.

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