Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573)

Sunday 5 November 2023

Visa Information: Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573)

The Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573) is no longer available for new applications. The visa closed on 1 July 2016. If you need to extend your stay in Australia, you must now apply for a Student Visa (subclass 500).

For Current Visa Holders

If you have already been granted a Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573) or have applied for the visa on or before 30 June 2016 and are awaiting a decision, this information is for you. It outlines your rights and obligations as a visa holder.

To check your visa details and conditions, you can use the free Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service.

Visa Duration

If you currently hold a Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573), it will remain valid until the expiry date given when your visa was granted.

What You Can Do with This Visa

The Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573) allows you to:

  • Study in Australia
  • Bring eligible dependant family members with you to Australia
  • Work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks, while complying with State and Territory workplace laws
  • Allow your family members to work up to 40 hours per fortnight if you have commenced your course of study in Australia. If you are doing a postgraduate course, such as a Masters degree, your family members can work unlimited hours once you commence this course
  • Enable family members who are 18 or older to study in Australia for up to three months. If they wish to study for more than three months, they must apply for their own student visa, which can be done within Australia

Obligations for Students

As a student, it is crucial to comply with the visa conditions while studying and living in Australia to avoid the risk of visa cancellation. This includes adhering to Australian laws.

If you wish to change to a course in a different education sector than your current course, such as transitioning from high school to a Diploma course, you will need to apply for a new Student Visa (subclass 500). The subclass of your current visa will not be appropriate for the new course or package of courses.

If you were granted your visa under streamlined visa processing (SVP), it is essential to continue meeting the requirements for visa grant. Failure to do so may result in visa cancellation if you seek to transfer to a different education provider who was not an eligible education provider before 1 July 2016. This applies if it is within the first 12 months of visa grant or if you are not from a country that was Assessment Level 1 before 1 July 2016.

For specific conditions that apply to your visa, you can check the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) or refer to your visa grant letter.

Changing Your Education Provider

In addition to complying with your visa conditions, there are requirements under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) National Code if you wish to change your education provider.

If you have not completed six months of your principal course and want to switch education providers, the ESOS National Code outlines the circumstances in which this is possible. Generally, you will need permission from your existing education provider to transfer to another provider, unless special circumstances apply.

Your education provider must assess or consider your request to transfer, and they should have documented procedures on their transfer policy. Before enrolling with a new education provider, it is essential to understand their transfer policy and the obligations outlined in your written agreement.

If your education provider does not grant permission for the transfer and you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can go through the internal appeal process with your education provider. If you remain unsatisfied, you have the option to appeal the decision at an external complaints handling body, such as the State or Territory Ombudsman or the Overseas Student Ombudsman.

Students Under 18 Years of Age

For students under 18 years of age, it is necessary to maintain adequate accommodation, support, and general welfare arrangements for the duration of the visa or until turning 18.

If your welfare arrangements are approved by your education provider, you cannot travel to Australia until the nominated welfare start date specified on the Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation/Welfare Arrangements (CAAW) letter.

If a student guardian needs to leave Australia without you, it is essential to make alternative approved welfare arrangements. Failure to do so may result in visa cancellation.

'No Further Stay' Condition

Some visas include a 'no further stay' condition, which means you cannot apply to extend your stay in Australia beyond the specified date on your visa, except in certain circumstances.

Reporting Changes in Your Circumstances

You must notify us if your circumstances change. This includes changes in residential address, passport details, pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship, or death in your family.

Changes in circumstances can be reported through ImmiAccount. If you are unable to use ImmiAccount, you can utilize the appropriate forms:

  • Form 929 - Change of address and/or passport details
  • Form 1022 - Notification of changes in circumstances

Obligations for Family Members

Dependent family members must also comply with their visa conditions. Failure to do so may result in visa cancellation and the need to leave Australia.

Family members must:

  • Remain a member of your family for the duration of their stay in Australia
  • Have adequate financial support
  • Maintain adequate health cover
  • Work no more than 40 hours per fortnight, except for family members of students studying a Master Degree course, who can work unlimited hours once the student starts their main course
  • Attend school if of school age

Important: It is your responsibility to ensure that your family members meet the above conditions.

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