Are you in Australia on a Tourist visa and considering applying for a Student visa onshore? It is important to be aware that progressing from a tourist visa to student visa Australia whilst you remain onshore can be a complex pathway to pursue and may pose a higher risk of refusal, depending on your personal circumstances. It may also be the case that an onshore student visa application is not an available option, due to whats known as the ‘No Further Stay Condition’ imposed on your visitor visa. If you are subject to this visa condition on your tourist visa, you would be unable to progress from a tourist visa to student visa Australia whilst you remain onshore; in this situation, you would need to depart Australia and apply for a student visa from offshore, unless you successfully apply to the Department to have this condition waived.
In this article, we take a closer look at why it can be a risky strategy to apply onshore for a student visa whilst you hold a tourist visa, that is, to progress from a visitor visa to student visa whilst you remain onshore. We also discuss visa condition 8503 in more detail and how you can apply to the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) to have it waived (this would allow you to progress from a visitor visa to student visa; provided you meet all valid visa application and visa grant requirements for a student visa).
Also be aware that if you are seeking advice on how to convert tourist visa to student visa in Australia, you are actually looking at how to apply for a student visa whilst you hold a tourist or visitor visa (the terms tourist and visitor visa are interchangeable; a Subclass 600 Visitor visa includes a tourist stream). You cannot convert one visa to another. You can only apply for a visa. Keep this in mind as you read below.
Why Can It Be Risky To Apply For A Student Visa In Australia If You Hold A Tourist Visa?
One key criterion for grant of a student visa is the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement. To satisfy this, you must demonstrate to Immigration that you intend to genuinely stay in Australia temporarily and comply with the conditions imposed on your student visa, should it be granted. To make this assessment, the Department will consider the following:
Your Circumstances In Your Home Country
- Reasons for not undertaking studies in your home country or region;
- Whether your economic situation, personal ties and military service commitments (where applicable) in your home country would support a temporary stay in Australia;
- Whether there is any civil or military unrest in your home country that would not support a temporary stay in Australia.
Your Potential Circumstances In Australia
- Incentives you may have to remain in Australia;
- Your knowledge of living in Australia.
Your Immigration History
- Whether there is anything in your immigration history that would not support an intention of a temporary stay in Australia. Further scrutiny will be applied if you have maintained ongoing residence in Australia on a range of short-term temporary visas
As a tourist visa holder, this aspect is likely to pose the highest risk for your student visa application. The Department will seek to confirm that you are not using the visa program to maintain ongoing residence in Australia and that you are a genuine student visa applicant.
The Value Of The Course To Your Future
- Whether the course is relevant and appropriate to your current employment and education background;
- Your future employment/career prospects.
Your Record Of Compliance With Previous Visa Conditions
- Your record of compliance with conditions of your current tourist visa, or other visas previously held;
- Your stated intention to comply with conditions for which the student visa is granted.
Any Other Relevant Matter
- The Department can take into account any matter it considers relevant in assessing whether you meet the GTE requirement which has not already been covered above. If there is some objective evidence or reason to doubt your genuineness as a student, the Department can conduct further enquiries, as required, in making its assessment
As part of your student visa application, you should prepare and submit a signed written statement to demonstrate that you satisfy the GTE requirement and address the matters listed above. This should be accompanied by supporting documentary evidence.
When Are You Not Permitted To Apply For A Student Visa In Australia?
In assessing your eligibility to apply for a student visa in Australia, you should carefully check your tourist visa grant notification letter to confirm whether visa condition 8503 has been imposed. The effect of this visa condition is as follows:
‘a visa holder will not, after entering Australia, be entitled to be granted a substantive visa, other than a protection visa, whilst the holder remains in Australia.’
Visa condition 8503 must be imposed if your visitor visa has been sponsored by a family member/relative. The Department also has the discretion to impose this condition for non-family sponsored tourist visas.
Under the migration provisions, a person who is onshore and who, since last entering Australia, holds or has held a visa with no further stay condition 8503, is unable to make a valid visa application for any class of substantive visa (except for a protection visa or a specifically prescribed class of substantive temporary visa), even if the visa on which the condition was imposed has ceased to be in effect. In this case, you would be unable to progress from a visitor visa to student visa whilst you remain onshore; you would need to depart Australia and apply for a student visa (or any other visa, provided you are eligible from outside Australia).
This is unless the Minister or a delegate has waived the condition.
Therefore, If your tourist visa is subject to condition 8503, you can apply to the Department in writing to have it waived. To have this condition waived, you must satisfy Immigration that circumstances have developed since your tourist visa was granted that have resulted in a major change in your circumstances. This change in your circumstances must have been beyond your control and be compelling and compassionate in nature.
You must also request that condition 8503 be waived in writing (it is also open to a delegate of the Department to find that circumstances for a wavier exist and to waive the condition.
It is important to point out that if condition 8503 is waived, this does not necessarily mean that you are eligible to apply for any visa (including progressing from a tourist visa to student visa Australia whilst you remain onshore). You must still satisfy all valid visa application and visa grant requirements to be eligible for the visa.
What Are Compelling And Compassionate Circumstances?
For a waiver of condition 8503 to be granted, the circumstances that have developed since the visa was granted must be both compelling and compassionate.
According to immigration policy, compelling and compassionate circumstances would exist where they:
‘are sufficiently forceful and convincing for the condition to be waived; are not unreasonable; and give rise to feelings of sympathy for the suffering or misfortune of others.’
Compelling and compassionate circumstances may involve one factor only, or a number of factors. The Department will assess each waiver request on its merits.
Before We Go …
Let us now revisit our central question posed at the beginning of this article, that is, how to convert visitor visa to student visa in Australia (that is, how to apply for a student visa whilst you remain onshore as the holder of a visitor visa). As you can see, the answer is not so simple. It can be a risky strategy to pursue, and may not even be an option if you are subject to visa condition 8503 on your visitor visa. It is therefore very important that you are fully informed about the relevant migration provisions, how they apply to you and the risks involved in seeking to progress from a tourist visa to student visa Australia. Given the complex nature of the migration laws and regulations, especially in a situation such as how to convert visitor visa to student visa in Australia, we would recommend that you speak to a migration expert who will be able to advise you on whether you can indeed seek to progress from a visitor visa to student visa whilst you remain onshore, based on your own personal situation, as well as the potential risks involved. Registered migration experts are trained professionals in this field, and are there to guide you in the complex landscape that is migration law. Contact PAX Migration Australia for expert advice on all things migration, including how to convert tourist visa to student visa in Australia, and whether that is an option that is available to you whilst you remain onshore.
Get More Information
You can learn more about applying for a Student visa by referring to the below articles:
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Contact us to book a no-obligation consultation to obtain advice on how to progress from a tourist visa to student visa Australia whilst you remain onshore. Our trained migration professionals will be able to advise you on how to convert visitor visa to student visa in Australia; whether this is an option that is available to you and the potential risks involved in pursuing this strategy.
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In conclusion, we note that the above discussion provides an overview of the issues to consider when progressing from a visitor visa to student visa whilst you remain in Australia, including the reasons why it can be a risky strategy to apply onshore for a student visa whilst you hold a tourist visa. We also discuss the no further stay visa condition 8503 and explain how you can apply to the Department to have it waived so that you can progress from a tourist visa to student visa Australia whilst you remain onshore. We also provide links to further information so that you can learn more about applying for a student visa.
Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. There are also several terms which are defined in the migration provisions (and whose meanings may differ from their ordinary usage). We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in progressing from a visitor visa to student visa whilst you remain in Australia, as being fully informed about the process and requirements that apply will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application, and thus lessen the chance that it will be refused. A migration professional can help you to do this.
For up to date advice on how to convert tourist visa to student visa in Australia, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.