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Bringing Family to Australia on Student Visa: Key Info.

Bringing Your Family to Australia on a Student Visa: What You Need to Know

Australia, known for its world-class education system, attracts thousands of international students every year. If you're considering or already pursuing your studies in Australia, you might be thinking about bringing your family along. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of bringing your dependent family members to Australia, focusing on eligibility criteria, the visa application process, subsequent entrant visas, and work rights for family members.

Australia's vibrant culture, high-quality education system, and stunning landscapes make it a popular destination for international students. If you're planning to study in Australia and wish to bring your family along, understanding the provisions and processes involved in securing visas for your dependent family members is crucial. This comprehensive guide will delve into the essentials of bringing your family to Australia on a student visa, focusing on eligibility criteria, the visa application process, including the Australia visa application, the subsequent entrant visa, and work rights for family members.

Understanding Dependent Family Members

Firstly, it's essential to define who qualifies as a dependent. Generally, dependent family members include your spouse or de facto partner and your or your partner's children under the age of 18. In some cases, dependent children over 18 still studying full-time, and dependent relatives living with you may also be included. It's crucial to understand who qualifies as a dependent, as this directly impacts your ability to include them in your visa application.

Importance of Inclusion in Your Plans

Including your family in your educational journey can provide emotional support and stability. However, it requires additional planning, especially regarding accommodation, financial stability, and understanding the legal aspects of their stay in Australia.

Eligibility Criteria for Family Members

Bringing your family to Australia on a student visa is a significant decision that involves understanding specific eligibility criteria. These criteria ensure that dependent family members who accompany a student to Australia are properly supported and do not become a burden on public resources.

The primary student visa holder must demonstrate the ability to financially support their dependents. This includes showing evidence of sufficient funds to cover living expenses, health insurance, and education costs for children aged 5-18. The nature of the student's course of study in Australia also influences eligibility. For more extended and higher-level courses, such as postgraduate degrees, the possibility of bringing family members is higher rather than for short-term language courses.

In terms of the visa application process, dependents can either be included in the initial student visa application or can apply later through a subsequent entrant visa. Both processes require proof of the familial relationship and financial sufficiency.

Work rights for family members are another critical aspect. These rights vary depending on the primary visa holder's course level. Generally, spouses of students pursuing advanced degrees may have more flexible work rights than those accompanying students in lower-level courses.

Visa Application Process

The visa application process is a critical step. There are two primary pathways: including your family members in your initial student visa application or applying for them to join you later through a subsequent entrant visa.

  1. Initial Application: It's more straightforward to include family members in your initial student visa application. This requires providing evidence of your relationship and financial capacity to support them.
  2. Subsequent Entrant Visa: If your family members decide to join you later, they need to apply for a subsequent entrant visa. This involves providing documentation that proves their relationship to you and evidence that you can financially support them in Australia.

Steps and Documentation: The visa application process involves filling out forms, providing proof of relationship, evidence of funds to support their stay, and health insurance coverage. It's essential to thoroughly check the specific documentation required as it can vary based on your home country and the nature of your study program in Australia.

The Role of the Subsequent Entrant Visa

The subsequent A subsequent entrant visa is designed for dependent family members of a student visa holder who did not accompany the student to Australia initially but wish to join them later. This visa type ensures family members can live in Australia during the student's course duration.This visa mirrors the primary student's visa in terms of duration and conditions. It's important to note that the approval of a subsequent entrant visa heavily depends on the primary visa holder’s circumstances and their compliance with their visa conditions.

Application Process and Requirements

The application process for a subsequent entrant visa involves proving the family relationship, the student visa holder’s enrollment in a course, and evidence of sufficient funds. Timing is crucial, and it's advisable to apply well in advance to accommodate any processing delays.

Work Rights for Family Members

One significant aspect of bringing family members to Australia is understanding their work rights. This not only helps in financial management but also provides them an opportunity to gain local work experience. Generally, spouses and children of students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree can work unlimited hours. However, for students enrolled in lower-level courses, dependents are typically allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight. These conditions can vary based on the student's course of study and the type of visa granted to the family members. These work rights not only help in easing financial burdens but also allow family members to gain local work experience.

Financial Considerations and Support

Beyond eligibility and visa processes, financial planning is vital. The cost of living in Australia can be high, and while work rights provide some relief, it's important to have a solid financial plan in place to cover living expenses, health insurance, and potential emergencies.

Cost of Living and Tuition

Bringing family members increases the financial burden due to higher living costs and the need for larger accommodations. Moreover, you must prove that you have the funds to support your family members, which is a crucial part of the visa application process.

Access to Services and Support

Australia offers various services and support systems for international students and their families, including health services, schooling for children, and community groups. Familiarizing yourself with these resources can significantly ease the transition for your family.

Health Insurance Requirements

It's mandatory for all student visa holders and their dependents to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This insurance covers basic medical and hospital expenses, but it's advisable to check for any additional coverage that might be needed, especially for families with young children.

Schooling for Children

If you're bringing school-aged children, understanding the Australian education system is crucial. Depending on your location and visa status, public school fees may apply. Researching schooling options and fees in your intended state or territory is essential before your move.

Cultural Adjustment and Support

Lastly, consider the cultural adjustment for your family. Australia offers a diverse and multicultural environment, but adapting to a new country can be challenging. Engaging with community groups and support services provided by educational institutions can ease this transition.


Bringing your dependent family members to Australia while you study can be a fulfilling experience, but it requires careful planning and understanding of various legal and financial aspects. By adhering to the eligibility criteria, successfully navigating the visa application process, understanding the specifics of a subsequent entrant visa, and being aware of the work rights of family members, you can ensure a smooth transition for your loved ones to life in Australia. Always stay updated with the latest regulations and seek advice from official sources or education consultants to make informed decisions. Remember, the joy and support of having your family with you while you study can be immensely rewarding, making this journey worthwhile.