14 Jan 2014-NEWS-Changing courses changes everything

Studying in Australia is the opportunity of a lifetime but there are conditions attached to your student visa.

​If you are thinking about changing your course, you need to ensure that you continue to meet the conditions of your student visa. You need to know what to do if you change courses. A course change could mean your student visa is cancelled.
Changing courses and education providers
If you are thinking about changing your course of study, you need to ensure that you continue to meet all the conditions that apply to your student visa.
Changing courses – streamlined visa holders
If you were granted a visa under the streamlined visa processing arrangements and you would like to change to a new course of study, you generally need to enrol in another streamlined eligible course (or package of courses) in order to remain compliant with the conditions on your current student visa.

To check whether a course is eligible for streamlined visa processing, or to learn more about the streamlining arrangements for certain student visas, see streamlined student visa processing.

If you transfer to a course of study that is not eligible for streamlined visa processing and you have not been granted a new visa appropriate to your new course then your visa might be considered for cancellation.

It is our policy that students who transfer to a course not eligible for streamlined visa processing at the same level as their current course would not be considered for cancellation if either:

  • the country of their passport is Assessment Level 1 for their current visa or
  • they have held their current visa for at least 12 months.

Changing courses – non streamlined visa holders
If you want to change to a new course to study towards the same level of qualification and your visa was not granted under streamlined arrangements, you do not need to apply for a new student visa unless your current visa is about to expire.

If you want to change the level of qualification you are studying towards, you need to apply for a new student visa because your visa subclass will not be appropriate for your new course (or package of courses). For example, if you want to change from a Bachelor degree to a Certificate IV.
Changing your education provider – all student visa holders
In addition to ensuring that you comply with your visa conditions, there are also requirements under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) National Code that apply if you want to change your education provider.

If you have not completed six months of your principal course (the main course of study you are undertaking) and you want to change your education provider, the ESOS National Code sets out the circumstances in which this will be possible. Unless special circumstances apply, you are usually required to have the permission of your existing education provider in order to transfer to another education provider.

If you do want to transfer, your education provider must assess or consider your request to transfer. All education providers must have documented procedures on their transfer policy. You should make sure you understand your education provider’s transfer policy, and what your written agreement says you must do, before you attempt to enrol with a new education provider.

If your education provider does not give you permission to transfer to another education provider and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you should first access the internal appeal process with your education provider. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal the education provider’s decision at an external complaints handling body, such as the State or Territory Ombudsman or the Overseas Student Ombudsman.

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