This important visa condition applies to all Student visa (subclass 500) holders. Condition 8202 requires students to:
- Be enrolled in a full time course
- Achieve satisfactory course progress
- Achieve satisfactory course attendance
- Maintain enrolment in a course at the same level or higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level for which they obtained the visa: change from AQF 10 to 9 is permitted but change from an AQF course to a non-AQF course is not
What you should know about the consequences of condition 8202
It is very important to not breach visa conditions as they will cause the visa holder to be liable for a visa cancellation and/or cause difficulties for that visa holder in applying for future visas.
Education providers are required to inform the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) if a student visa holder has been in breach of condition 8202, even if that visa holder has ceased to be enrolled with the education provider.
For a breach in course attendance, the absence must have occurred during the visa period of the last student visa held.
Another important note about condition 8202 is that even if the student visa holder has applied for a permanent visa and has been granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA), that BVA will not come into effect until the student visa period has concluded. This means that the student visa holder is still bound to comply with condition 8202 until the end of the visa period. If a student has applied for another visa and so stop attending school will cause them to breach condition 8202 and be liable for visa cancellation. Not attending a course because there is another visa in application shows that the student visa holder did not have genuine intentions as a student.
Condition 8202 requires that students achieve course progress that is considered by their education provider to be satisfactory. This is not a judgement made by the DOHA.
Education providers are to report to the DOHA if a student visa holder is not meeting satisfactory course attendance, which is when attendance falls below 80%. The exception to this would be if the student’s lack of attendance is due to compassionate circumstances and the student is still attending at least 70% of the course for ELICOS and Schools students. For VET and non award students, the exception is if they are maintaining satisfactory academic progress and are still attending at least 70% of the course.
Level 1: Certificate I
Level 2: Certificate II
Level 3: Certificate III
Level 4: Certificate IV
Level 5: Diploma
Level 6: Advanced Diploma / Associate Degree
Level 7: Bachelor Degree
Level 8: Bachelor Honours Degree / Graduate Certificate / Graduate Diploma
Level 9: Masters Degree
Level 10: Doctoral Degree
Transferring to a lower AQF level
Students are required by condition 8202 to maintain enrolment in a course at the same level or higher AFQ level for which they were granted the visa, unless the change is from an AQF level 10 course to an AQF level 9 course.
To avoid breaching condition 8202, the student visa holder who wishes to drop the AQF level of their course must apply for a new student visa. They are not to start in the lower AQF course until the new visa is approved.
Varying a packaged course
If a student wants to amend the courses in their package of courses or wants to change to a package of courses without applying for a new student visa they must:
- Have commenced studying in Australia
- Remain enrolled in their principal course
- Commence their principal course before their visa expires
- Continue meet the requirements of Condition 8202
If the student has an extended course gap that may lead to their visa being cancelled, the student may choose to enrol in a short course to fill the gap. The course can be in any sector, for example, ELICOS or vocational education and training, or higher education.
Transferring to a different education provider at the same AQF level
Students are allowed to transfer between providers to a course at the same AQF level. If a student changes their course at the same level but to one that is of a shorter duration than that for which the visa was granted, the student does not have to make a new visa application, but when they have completed the shorter course they must, within 28 days, either:
- Leave Australia or
- If they wish to enrol in a further course of study, notify DOHA and apply for a new student visa
If they do not do so, they may be considered for visa cancellation action as it would appear that they have purposefully transferred to be in a shorter study period so as to work in Australia.
The student visa holder may not be penalised under the following circumstances:
- The student falls ill
- The student defers of suspends their course
- The student needs to leave Australia for compassionate reasons
- The student undertakes research or study outside of Australia
- The student goes on an exchange program in a third country
The student falls ill
Student visa holders who fall ill should apply to their education provider for permission to take leave from their course. If the are absent for more that 20% of their course without approval then they are liable to be subject to visa cancellation.
The student defers of suspends their course
Students may under limited circumstances, defer or temporarily suspend their studies through a formal agreement with the education provider. As long as there is an agreement in place and the student remains enrolled, they will not be in breach with condition 8202.
However, the student visa holder will still be risking their visa if the student has studies deferred or suspended due to:
- Their conduct
- Having done so for reasons that are not compassionate or compelling circumstances
- The compassionate or compelling circumstances for which the deferral or suspensions was instated for no longer exists
- The deferral or suspension was because there was fraudulent evidence or documents that was provided to the education provider
The student needs to leave Australia for compassionate reasons
As with the case in which a student is ill, a student visa holder who needs to leave Australia on compassionate grounds must apply to their education provider for a leave of absence. Family members of students deferring or suspending studies in such a situation and for no more than 6 months are allowed to stay in Australia.
The student undertakes research or study outside of Australia
Student visa holders with approved research or fieldwork outside Australia as part of their course will not be considered to be in breach of condition 8202 as they are engaging in their course requirements. Family members of the student visa holder are able to stay in Australia during the student’s absence.
The student goes on an exchange program in another country
Student visa holders should not worry about not taking up the opportunity in going on an exchange program – they will not be in breach of condition 8202 so long as the study or training that they are engaging in in the exchange program is an assessable part of their full time course, has been approved as part of the registration proves for the course, is no longer than 12 months and family members who are in Australia will accompany the student if the exchange is for more than 6 months.
Do you need help with your application for a student visa, or are you confused about wanting to change your course or education provider? Perhaps you would like some advice what your visa plans are after your student visa concludes. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.