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your study situation has changed what to do

5 Cases When Your Study Situation Has Changed – The Ultimate Guide

Modern life is very dynamic. This also goes for International Student Visa Holders in Australia. Once you enter Australia to kickstart your academic journey, anything can happen and a change may be unavoidable. In this article, we will focus on what to do if you find yourself in one of the five most common cases when your study situation has changed.

Below are the highlights of this article based on the 5 most common cases when your study situation has changed:

  1. You want to change courses;
  2. You are no longer studying or attending your course;
  3. You finished your course early;
  4. You need to defer your course due to compassionate or compelling reasons;
  5. You want to change your welfare arrangements.

Australian Student Visa holders must adhere to their visa conditions. If you fail to meet such conditions along the way, it may get quite complicated and messy, such as the cancellation of your Confirmation of Enrolment, or your Student Visa.

student visa conditions

Also read: Must-Read! Here’s How To Secure An Almost Cancelled Student Visa After Cancellation Of CoE

We know that changes to your situation in Australia are very normal. However, you have to make sure that you already have a new arrangement at hand, otherwise, you may no longer be eligible for your Student Visa when your study situation has changed.

1. Your Study Situation Has Changed: You want to change courses

If it turns out that your study program does not suit you as you have been expecting, you may want to consider changing your course in Australia.

Are you also changing education providers?

NO: If you change courses within one provider, the provider will let the Immigration know. You do not need to update the Immigration personally.

Students holding a Student visa (subclass 500)

If you are an international student holding a Student Visa, and want to change courses to a lower Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level course or a non-AQF level course, you will need a new student visa to match your new AQF level.

You don’t need to apply for a new visa if you are studying at the same or higher AQF level or changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF 9 course (Masters degree).

For example:

  • You will need to apply for and obtain a new student visa with the correct stream if you are studying a Bachelor of Hospitality Management (Level 7) at a university and wish to transfer to a Diploma of Accounting (Level 5);
  • You will need to apply for and be granted a new visa if you are studying a Certificate IV (AQF level 4) and want to transfer to an English course (non-AQF course);
  • If you are studying a non-AQF course and want to transfer to an AQF course, you would not need to apply for a new student visa with the correct stream.

Students holding a Student visa (subclass 570 – 576)

You need to apply for a new Student Visa (subclass 500) if you want to change to a course that is in a different education sector to your current course. For example, changing from an ELICOS course to a Diploma course.

If your visa was granted under streamlined visa processing (SVP), you must continue to satisfy your student visa requirement.

The immigration could consider cancelling your visa if you seek to transfer to a different education provider who was not an eligible education provider (before 1 July 2016) if:

  • It is within the first 12 months of your visa being granted, or
  • You are not holding a passport from a country that was Assessment Level 1 before 1 July 2016.

completing course early student visa

YES: If you plan to change the study program as well as the provider and if you have completed less than 6 months of your main course, you can only change education providers in some situations. See Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) National Code for details.

The main course is the final course of the confirmation of enrolments (CoE) that was submitted with the visa application for which the student visa was granted.

Check your education provider’s transfer policy. (All providers have one.)

In most cases, your current education provider will:

  • Consider your transfer request;
  • Decide if they will let you transfer.

Contact your education provider for more information on their transfer policy before you try to enrol at another institution.

Book for a free phone session with our study specialists, and get the best advice based on your study situation.

If your transfer is not approved

If your education provider does not let you transfer, you still have options. You can appeal the decision through your education provider’s appeal process.

If you are unhappy with the result, you can appeal the decision through:

  • Your state or territory Ombudsman.
  • The Overseas Student Ombudsman.

Read also: I am an international Student in Australia, can I change my study provider?

If you change courses or education provider, or if your study situation has changed based on any reason, your provider will tell Immigration. You do not need to send them any form or update your ImmiAccount. But please bear in mind that it is important for you to still meet your Student Visa requirements.

How to Ascertain that You Meet your Student Visa Requirements?

australian student visa requirements

Not sure about your Student Visa (Subclass 500) conditions? Speak to our study specialists for FREE here and get rid of your confusion!

Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirements

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement is one of the criteria that the Australian immigration put much weight on. A strong GTE ensures your eligibility to apply for a Student Visa. As student visa holders, you must maintain your eligibility in accordance with the information you provided in your Student Visa application.

The GTE requirement may include information on why you choose the particular study program in Australia. It tells how your preferred program is relevant to your past study and/or professional experiences, and to your future career plan.

If your study situation has changed, you must make sure that your new program meets the GTE Requirement and ensure you continue to satisfy the criteria for the grant of your visa.

Further reading: You’ll Be Sorry If You Miss This Guide To Understanding Australia Student Visa Requirements.

2. Your Study Situation Has Changed: You are no longer studying or attending your course

In the event that you have quit attending your classes, you may be breaching the condition of your Student Visa, and the Australian Immigration may cancel it.

study situation has changed

Read also: Don’t Do These if You Don’t Want to Get Your Student Visa Cancelled in Australia!

If you do not want to study any longer, you can either:

a. Apply for a new visa

Have you secured an Australian employer who would like to provide you with sponsorship? Or are you in a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident? You may be eligible for other visas. Consulting with a Registered Migration Agent may be beneficial. You will get your qualifications assessed and get personalized advice on available visa options for you.

Important notes: If you apply for a new visa while your Student Visa is still valid, you will have to continue meeting your Student Visa requirements until the Immigration has issued a decision for your new visa. You must keep attending your classes.

b. Make travel plans to leave Australia within 28 days of ceasing study

If you have decided to give up your academic journey in Australia all at once, make sure you arrange to leave the country in 28 days. Otherwise, you may overstay in Australia, which may put you on an exclusion period where you are banned from applying for any Australian visas for three years, which is not good because who knows you will change your mind in the future and would love to come to Australia again.

3. Your Study Situation Has Changed: You finished your course early

finish your course early in australia

You may be eligible to have some credits transferred or waived for your study program in Australia or any other reasons that result in you finishing your course early.

If you finished your course early, you need to make sure you continue to meet the conditions of your Student Visa.

You need to either apply for a new visa or make arrangement to leave Australia within 28 days of finishing your main course early in these 2 situations:

  • You changed courses after you got your Student visa approved by the Immigration, and the new Confirmation of Enrolment for your main course has a shorter end date.
  • You are studying more than one course on your Student Visa (known as ‘course packaging’), and there is a lengthy gap before your next course starts.

If you do neither, the Immigration might cancel your visa if you have not applied for a new visa or made travel plans.

A lengthy course gap means more than 2 months, except where a standard academic year ends and begins. See more information regarding eligibility.

The Immigration will review each situation on a case-by-case basis and consider if you legitimately finished the course early, whether you have a good academic record, and whether it is reasonable to expect you to enroll in another course during the course gap.

The Immigration may consider cancelling your visa if you have breached other Student Visa conditions.

Read also: Must-Read! Here’s How To Secure An Almost Cancelled Student Visa After Cancellation Of CoE

4. Your Study Situation Has Changed: You need to defer your course due to compassionate or compelling reasons

defer your study

When your study becomes too overwhelming, OR if you urgently need to return home in an emergency, you may have the option to defer or take a leave of absence from your study in Australia.

Each education provider will have a different policy on study deferment and it is important for you to first check the terms and conditions and what you need to do to get your request approved while still securing your studies in Australia. Of course, if you still want to get your qualification.

Where your education provider has let you take a leave of absence for compassionate or compelling reasons, they will enter your information in a system so that we can see the approval.

Your education provider can cancel your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), and your visa may be cancelled, if:

  • You gave false documents to defer your course;
  • The situation for deferring has passed and you have not resumed your studies.

You can remain in Australia or travel overseas if you have deferred your course for compassionate and compelling reasons and still remain enrolled.

Once your university has approved your request for a study suspension, please make sure you have secured a new CoE showing new starting and ending dates for your study in the future.

Don’t think twice. Contact us now and get professional advice on your options in Australia.

Approved Leave of Absence study deferment

Please make sure you recommence on time, or notify your university if you could not. Normally, you can only have a maximum of 6 months study break.

If you fail to recommence your study on time, your education provider may cancel your CoEs due to non-commencement.

Also Read: Find Out What Happens if Your COE is Cancelled in Australia – You Still Have Options!

5. You want to change your welfare arrangements

student guardian visa (590) welfare arrangement

If you are an international student studying in Australia while you are under 18, your Student Visa will have condition 8532 in relation to welfare arrangements. You must meet the condition until your study finishes or until you turn 18:

Under 18 approve welfare (visa condition 8532)

This condition means that you must maintain adequate accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements. You are not permitted to change those arrangements without the approval of your education provider. This should be in writing. You are not allowed to enter Australia before the date specified by your education provider.

Your education provider will notify the Immigration if your study situation has changed in terms of welfare arrangements.

If your student guardian needs to leave Australia while you stay here, you must make alternative arrangements.

Your student guardian must provide evidence:

  • There is a compelling and compassionate reason for their travel;
  • They have made alternative welfare arrangements for your accommodation, general welfare and support until they return.

Find out about available welfare arrangements approved by the Immigration here.

Request approval of alternative welfare arrangements

There are 2 options for requesting alternative welfare arrangements:

  1. Your student guardian can nominate another student guardian. This nominated person must be (except in limited situations) a parent or relative aged 21 years or over. Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application will outline the documents needed to nominate a student guardian. Before your guardian leaves Australia, they need to send to the Immigration:
    • Completed form 157N
    • The education provider’s approval (in a letter or email)
    • Required documents to show the compelling reasons for the change in welfare arrangements
  2. Your education provider can take responsibility for your welfare by issuing a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter. This letter must outline the start and end dates of the alternative welfare arrangements.


If your guardian holds a Student Guardian visa (Subclass 590), the Immigration will let you or your guardian know if they have approved the proposed alternative arrangements.

Your guardian cannot leave Australia without you if Immigration does not approve the arrangements.

If you do not maintain adequate welfare arrangements, the Immigration might cancel your visa.

If you are unsure of whether you have met all the requirements for your Student Visa (subclass 500) or Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590) after your study situation has changed, book a FREE study and Student Visa Consultation with one of our Career Development Consultants or contact us education ONE Australia through email at [email protected] or via phone on at 1300 083 663.

Free Student Visa Consultation with our Consultants

At ONE derland Consulting along with our highly experienced and professional Registered Migration Agents we have a dedicated team of consultants that will be on hand to offer you insight and assistance on securing your Student Visa and Student Guardian Visa in Australia.

We have years of experience in helping hundreds of international students to fulfill their visa requirements no matter how complex the circumstances. We treat every individual differently based on their situation to determine the best options for their future visa. We look forward to assisting you with your visa and dreams of studying in Australia.

Also read: International Students Coming Back to Australia by Christmas, Yet Vaccine Requisite Blocks Some Out

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