One of the most interesting hoops that you will have to jump through in order to study in Australia is to provide proof of financial resources. In order to even obtain your student visa, you have to be able to prove that you can take care of yourself financially for the first year or two that you are in the country (depending on your assessment level, which we cover in our section on Student Visas)
Why do they do this?
There are a few reasons that this proof is required. Mainly because the Australian government wants to insure that you will be able to get the most out of your education. Money can create a lot of stress, and if you’re barely making it, it can have an effect on every part of your life. By making sure that you have the financial resources you need available, you’ll be in a better place as you go through your university career.
The government also does it so that they do not have to be concerned about taking care of international students and their finances while they are in the country. If the country were not to check for proof of financial resources, the country may end up taking on unnecessary financial burden due to an ill-prepared international student.
Lastly, they do so because the cost of living in Australia can be quite high, especially in urban areas such as Sydney and Melbourne. Instead of allowing international students to struggle or be shell-shocked by the cost of living after they’ve arrived, the Australian government has opted to check out a student’s finances before they can even obtain a visa to enter the country.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has minimum requirements that you must reach in order to be able to obtain your student visa. Here are the minimum requirements as of the 1st of July of 2012.
- Student: The student must have equivalent to one return air fare to the country of Australia. They must also have course fees and approximately $18,610 for the cost of living (rent, food, etc) in order to be considered for a student visa. This may differ depending on where you are living and what school you are attending.
- Student’s spouse or partner: If you are married (as many who go into graduate studies are) or are in a committed relationship or civil union, you must also have proof of financial resources for your spouse or partner. They must have the equivalent of one return air fare to the country as well as an extra $6,515 for the overall cost of living. If they are taking classes as well, they must have enough for their own coursework.
- Children: If your children are under the age of 6, the first one will add another air fare and $3,720 per year. Any additional children under age 6 will add an additional air fares and $2,790 per child. If your children are over the age of 6, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will determine a cost based on your child’s age, school level, and the region of Australia that you are residing in.
If you have any questions about the minimum requirements, you can contact the financial aid office or international studies office at your university, or you can contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship directly.
How Do They Calculate Whether or Not I’m Eligible?
First, you will have to provide the proof. This could be bank statements, loan contracts, or information that is related to those who may be paying for your education. It could also be any financial aid that you have from the government or university as well. When you are providing proof of your financial resources, more is better. Give the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as much information as you have; you can never have too much; you can always have too little. They will keep all of your information safe and private during the process, and will not sell or provide it to third parties.
Those who are looking at your financial resources will take the following three factors into account when determining proof of financial resources.
- The applicant’s previous financial and immigration history. This can include passport history, credit history, bank statements, and taxes.
- The employment history of the applicant or the employment history of the person providing them with financial support. This is to ensure that the student will have consistent income and are reliable with employment and/or money.
- The source of the income used (such as cash assets or a bank loan). This is taken into so that the Department of Immigration knows exactly where the money is coming from and if that is a reliable source of income.
If the person who is looking at the applicant sees that there may be some discrepancies or if they have any doubt that the student will be able to provide for themselves, then the student will have to provide more information. This is why you should provide more information upfront; the more information that you provide to them, the less of a chance that your visa application will be denied or delayed.
Where can I find help?
The international student department at your university will be able to help you determine whether or not you meet the required minimums. It could include applying for financial aid, helping you to secure work while in the country, or dealing with your savings account or another type of loan. Contact them as soon as you’ve been accepted so that you can start the process of being approved for a student visa.
If you need more information on Australia’s proof of financial resources, please make sure to take a look at the student resource page available on the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website. They will have all of the resources that you will need in order to determine your eligibility for a student visa.