Student visas: Financial capacity increase on 24 October 2019

Starting tomorrow, the evidence of financial capacity for Subclass 500 – Student visas and Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visas if required will nudge a little higher and in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

While the legislative instrument was dated 4 October 2019, it will only come into effect the day after the instrument is registered, which is today.

While tuition and travel costs are determined by the course of study and passport of the visa applicant, the annual living costs, annual school costs (for school-aged children) and minimum personal annual income requirements of the primary applicant’s parent, spouse or de facto partner are subject to increase from time to time. The changes (all in Australian dollars) are:

  • Living costs for primary applicants: $21,041 up from $20,290;

  • Living costs for a spouse or de facto partner of the primary applicant: $7,362 up from $7,100;

  • Living costs for a dependent child: $3,152 up from $3,040;

  • Annual school costs: $8,296 up from $8,000;

  • Personal annual income if there is no secondary applicant: $62,222 up from $60,000;

  • Personal annual income where there is a secondary applicant: $72,592 up from $70,000.

These costs for annual living and school costs are reduced should the period of study be less than 12 months, adjusted on a daily pro-rata basis.

The obvious concern is for those visa applications already lodged by not yet approved that do not meet this higher threshold. Once again, however, evidence of financial capacity and English language is only required should visa applicants, because of the country of passport of the student and education provider, fall into the non-streamlined category based on their collective assessment level. This can be determined using the Document Checklist Tool. While a case officer may request evidence outside this protocol, policy suggests this would be an exception.

On evidentiary requirements, much has changed this year. From May 2019, Nepalese student visa applicants studying in the vocational education sector were all required to provide financial capacity and English proficiency regardless of where they were studying. And as recently as the beginning of this month, Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese students were apparently downgraded in their assessment level and were reportedly having their Certificate of Enrolment (CoE) cancelled after being issued.

Those not required to demonstrate financial capacity must make a declaration that they have genuine access to sufficient funds to cover costs and expenses for themselves and any accompanying family applicants for the duration of the intended stay in Australia.