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Australian Students visa holders – changing courses can lead to visa cancellation


The DIBP has embarked on a campaign to inform students of the risks of changing from a streamlined course to a lower course. 

“Changing course advice for streamlined visa holders

If you want to change to a new course and you were granted a visa under the streamlined visa processing arrangements you must maintain enrolment in a streamlined visa processing eligible course (or package of courses) with an education provider participating in the arrangements.  ... ...

Important: If your new course is not with an education provider participating in the streamlined visa processing arrangements, read the information below about changing education providers.

If you enrol in a course (or package of courses) that is not eligible for streamlined visa processing, you no longer meet the criteria for which your visa was granted and may be considered for visa cancellation.”

From the DIBP Migration Blog:

“Moving from a university to a vocational education course

·         You must complete six months of the highest qualification course in which your visa was granted before changing courses with a different education sector.

·         You must obtain a new visa to study in a different educational sector.

Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.

Mandeep was enrolled with the Eucalyptus University to study a Bachelor of Accounting. She was granted a  Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa.

After commencing her bachelor degree, she was informed by a friend she could study her course faster and cheaper at a different institution. Mandeep thought this sounded like a good option as she wanted to get her degree as fast as possible. She thought she may have a problem with her visa if she changed her course.

Mandeep phoned the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to see if she could move to this cheaper institution. After confirming all the details of Mandeep’s case, the immigration officer told Mandeep her visa was granted under streamlined visa processing arrangements with the Eucalyptus University—if she changed to a non-streamlined education provider while holding a streamlined student visa, she may be in breach of a condition of her visa (condition 8516).

The immigration officer informed Mandeep that if she wanted to change education provider she would have to choose one of the following options:

·         transfer to another streamlined institution

·         remain in her current course and apply for a new student visa (after completing six months of her principal course) with a letter of offer or confirmation of enrolment from the new provider

·         depart Australia, request the voluntary cancellation of her student visa and then apply for a new student visa with a letter of offer or confirmation of enrolment from the new education provider.

Mandeep decided to move to the cheaper institution, regardless of the information she had found out about her visa. Shortly after, the department contacted her and issued a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation for her student visa.

Mandeep responded to the notice and provided reasons why her visa should not be cancelled. The department considered her response and proceeded to cancel her student visa for breach of condition 8516.

Mandeep was upset and regretted not abiding by the conditions of her visa. Mandeep no longer held a visa to remain lawfully in Australia and made arrangements to return to her home country.”


Warning: This information is accurate on the 02 February 2014. 

DIBP will change visa requirements in an ongoing manner and all current requirements must be established prior to lodging an application. 


Comment by Chris Johnston, Migration Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent

The problem for many students is that this information campaign will be too late and they have already made the change and face student visa cancellation.

Options in this case may include applying for the correct visa prior to any cancellation occuring. 

Do You Need Help in Relation to Australian Visas?

If you require further information regarding Australian visa options you contact our offices on:

 (08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091  

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