The student visa is designed for international students to enjoy studying and working in Australia. At any one time there are as many as 400,000 international students from all parts of the world studying in Australia. In fact Australia has one of the highest proportion of international students of any country with universities being made up 1 international student for every 4 Australian students.
The big source countries are China and India, which together account for 40% of all international students in Australia. But there are many students from all continents which makes the student experience in Australia a unique one. Not only do students get to experience a great range and quality of education, but they also get to know people from all parts of the world. And it is this truly international experience which makes Australia a great place to study.
Unlike most other places that students may choose to study English, a vocational course or a university degree or masters, Australia permits international students to also work while they study. Being able to work 20 hours per week and enjoying the highest minimum wage in the world ($622 per week for full time work) makes Australia the stand-out choice for those students who want to pay their own way.
The student visa is for the duration of the course in which a student is enrolled plus a month or two for holidays. So, the longer the course the longer the visa. To be able to apply for a student visa the course and institution must have a CRICOS code which means that the course has been approved for international students on a student visa.
On completion of the course it is possible to move to another course and to apply for a new student visa. However, DIAC (the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship) must be satisfied that the student is a genuine student. In most cases (in fact over 95%) the visa is granted. Visas are only refused if DIAC believes that the applicant is not genuine or if they cannot provide any requested documents to support the application.
Students who want to stay and work after they complete their studies have two main options: either they must find a company that is willing to sponsor them or they need to have completed a university degree in Australia and they may then be able to apply for a post-study work visa. For more information refer to the DIAC website: http://www.immi.gov.au/