How the GTE requirement is assessed

One of the major requirements in applying for a Student visa (subclass 500) is being a genuine temporary entrant (GTE). This requirement exists to weed out those who are abusing this visa programme by applying for a student visa only as a means of obtaining permanent residency here in Australia. There are 6 factors that the DIBP uses to assess the GTE requirement:

  • lady in library
    Circumstances in home country
  • Potential circumstances in Australia
  • Value of the course to applicant’s future
  • Applicant’s immigration history
  • Where the applicant is a minor, intentions of parent, legal guardian or spouse
  • Other relevant matters

In saying this, the DIBP will take into consideration the applicant’s circumstances as a whole to make an informed decision on if the applicant is a genuine temporary entrant. If there is cause for doubt, such as inconsistencies in the application, the DIBP may request more information from the applicant.


Circumstances in their home country

The DIBP may look into if the applicant is able to take a similar course in their home country. This is assessed within reason –  a higher quality of education or wanting to study English in an English speaking country are all perfectly legitimate reasons.

Also considered are the applicant’s existing ties to their home country – does the applicant have family, community, employment or other commitments that would affect the applicant’s desire or need to return to their home country?

If the applicant has military service commitments that have not yet been fulfilled, the DIBP may question if the applicant has no intention to return to their home country.

A bad economy, political instability or geographical circumstances in the applicant’s home country may be an indicator that the applicant is applying for a student visa to escape from the state of their home country.

Finally, how are the applicant’s personal circumstances in their home country in relation to the average person in that country? If the applicant is generally better off in their home country, that may be give support to their being an genuine temporary entrant than in comparing the state of the applicant’s home country to Australia.


Potential circumstances in Australia

On the flipside to assessing the state of applicant’s circumstances in their home country, the DIBP will take into account the applicant’s potential circumstances in Australia. For example, having family and community ties here would reduce the likelihood that they intend to be genuine temporary entrants. This is course may have been the influencing factor in the applicant choosing to study in Australia, and will be judged in the context of the whole application.

Any evidence at all that would point to the applicant’s misuse of the student visa programme, such as If the applicant is already in Australia and may be trying to extend their residence here through the student visa.

The applicant’s knowledge of living in Australia, their chosen course and the education provider, any previous study/qualifications are also taken into account. If the applicant does not seem informed at a reasonable level on their own intended study and living in Australia, it does not support that they are applying for their student visa for the purposes of study.


Value of course to applicant’s future

In continuing on assessing the genuinity of the applicant’s intent to study, DIBP will take into account the value add of the applicant’s chosen course – if that course aligns with previous study or employment, or will be beneficial to their employment opportunities.

Divergence from their current study or career path may cause the DIBP to query the applicant’s intentions, but it would be unreasonable to reject applicants who genuinely intend to change their career or study pathways. The DIBP may also take into consideration the remuneration that the applicant may receive in their home country, or how their remuneration may be affected, in taking up their proposed course in Australia.


Immigration history

When the DIBP considers the applicant’s immigration history, the DIBP is looking at visa and travel history, in and outside of Australia.

This includes applications for any Australian visa, whether or not the application has been finalised, and whether or not it has been granted or refused, and if it was refused, the reasons behind the refusal. The same goes for if the applicant has applied for any visa to other countries

In taking into account travel history, it is examined the applicant has previously travelled to Australia and if they complied with the conditions on their visa, if they departed Australia before their visa ceased, and if not, if it there were extenuating circumstances. The DIBP will also look into if the applicant has a history of visa cancellations or notice of intent to cancel and why. If the applicant has spent a lot of time in Australia, in looking into what types of visas the applicant has been on, or if the applicant has taken up many inexpensive study courses and never completed a qualification may indicate that the applicant is only used the student visa to prolong their stay in Australia. Similarly if the applicant has a complicated history and/or non-compliance in other countries will hold weight in assessing if the applicant meets the GTE requirement.


Applicant is a minor

Where the applicant is a minor, the intentions of the parents, legal guardian or spouse of the applicant will be examined.


Complex situations

GTE and long term/permanent residence pathways

In situations where an applicant does have intention to apply for permanent residence or has already applied for a permanent visa is not necessarily indicative that the applicant does not genuinely want to obtain an education or will not depart Australia should their visa cease. The DIBP would be looking for evidence that the applicant is applying for a student visa for the sole purpose of prolonging their stay.


Applicant has applied for a protection visa

If the applicant has lodged a protection visa application that has not been finalised or has already been refused, it is likely that the applicant will not want to return to their home country and are looking for ways to extend their stay in Australia. In such cases, the applicant’s reasons for claiming protection should no longer be relevant – the applicant should have no cause for concern in returning to their home country.


Primary school students

Students seeking to study and reside in Australia for 12 years, for example, commencing study in Australia in Year 1 through to Year 12, would generally not meet the GTE requirement. The child may struggle to reintegrate into their home country, especially if their home country’s spoken or schooling language is not English. The parents intentions for enrolling their children in school in Australia may come into question – attempt to gain residency through a minor.


Contrived relationships

If the applicant and secondary applicant appear to be in a sham relationship for the purposes of an applicant acquiring a visa, both the applicant and secondary applicant are unlikely to pass the GTE requirement. On the other side of the coin, the relationship may be genuine but the student visa is still being used for the purposes of extending stay in Australia. The applicant and secondary applicant may move from visa to visa, alternating who the secondary applicant is. The DIBP may look into the immigration history for both applicant and secondary applicant.


Studying at a lower level

If the applicant is enrolling into courses that are at a lower AFQ level than previous studies, it may seem to be that the applicant has done so in pursuit of a visa as opposed to benefiting their studies/career. It will be taken into consideration if the applicant has done so because the standard of education in the applicant’s home country differs and the applicant would benefit from studying at that level, if the applicant cannot meet the requirements for a higher level course, or the lower level course is more specialist than previous studies at a higher level


ELICOS applicants

ELICOS while often packages with courses, may be taken in isolation as some student will feel more comfortable improving their standard of English before commencing on a course. However enrolment in standalone ELICOS for over 12 months or heavily packaged courses that include more than 12 months of ELICOS before commencing study are likely to invite scrutiny.


Mature applicants near retirement age

Where an applicant is close to retirement age, it may be cause for concern to the DIBP as the applicant is less likely to reap much benefits in terms of employment from studying in Australia. Post study remuneration and the applicant’s reason to study are all consideration factors


Extended study breaks or poor educational outcomes in home country

If the applicant has a history of extended study breaks and/or poor educational outcomes in their home country it raises questions as to why the applicant would want to commence study in Australia

Again, don’t be alarmed by how extensively the DIBP may look into your meeting the GTE requirement. The above factors are a guideline as to what the DIBP takes into consideration, but the application will be considered at as a whole – an applicant may have a flag or two based on the factors above, such as a significant change in career path, or not completing a previous course, but this may genuinely be the applicant trying to decide on their career direction. Conversely, there could be information provided in the application that does not fall within the above factors for consideration that the DIBP can find provides doubt as to if the applicant is a genuine temporary entrant as well. An example would be a 16 year old student seeking to undertake studies not related to school studies.

Find: Direction No. 69 – Assessing the GTE Criterion for Student Visa and Student Guardian Visa Applications


GTE assessment by the education provider

Did you know that it isn’t only assessed by the DIBP? Your education provider may conduct a GTE assessment as well. Different education providers will have their own means of assessment which may include filling up a form or being interviewed. Often times if you are applying through an education agent, the agent will be involved in the assessment.

For example TAFE NSW includes the GTE assessment in their application form. According to TAFE’s GTE assessment, applicants who are required to provide proof of funds in their student applications or are from certain countries are required to complete the form through an agent. It seems pretty strict.

The form is thorough, questioning the applicant no only on student related GTE factors such as why they have chosen TAFE, what research they have done on TAFE and post study work plans, but also include questions on relatives in Australia, dependents, previous visa refusals and even intended accommodation in Australia.

Find: TAFE NSW International Student Application Form

A few universities publish guidelines or GTE forms for education agents to assess if the applicant fulfils the GTE requirement but do not include a GTE assessment within the application form for students who are applying directly to the university. However, some universities, such as the University of Canberra, include a declaration within the application form

Find: University of Canberra’s International Student Application Form 

Find: UNSW’s Agent GTE Declaration Form

If you are in the situation where you have to do a GTE assessment with your education provider, be sure to be consistent in your answers! Discrepancies in your course application and visa application can affect the outcome of your visa.