Australia has emerged as a popular destination for higher education because of its strong educational infrastructure, a high quality of life, and relatively lower expenses. Australian degrees are gaining increased acceptance in the global arena, particularly in the Pacific rim countries. A peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, together with the cosmopolitan charisma of cities like Sydney and Melbourne – Australia could be the ideal destination for you.

About Australia

Situated between, and isolated by, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia has many animals and plants, which are unique to the planet. The surface geology is typically old and flat.

Nearly a third of Australia is in the tropics and the rest is in the temperate zone. The highlands and tablelands of Tasmania and the south eastern corner of the mainland are the coldest areas. Summer is from December to February; autumn from March to May; winter from June to August; and spring from September to November.

The British influence originating in Australia's colonial origins has evolved over two centuries into a dynamic multiculturalism with invaluable contributions from migrants from all parts of the world.

Almost a quarter of today's 18 million Australians were born in another country. There are nearly one million Asian-born Australians. About 2 per cent are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. More than 100 different ethnic groups are represented in Australia, making Australia one of the most ethnically diversified countries in the world.

Although English is the official language, a host of other languages are spoken in Australia.

Australian Student Visa

Studying in Australia:
The Australian Government operates an overseas student program (OSP) that allows people who are not Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents to study in Australia. If you want to study under this program, you must obtain a student visa before you can commence a course of study in Australia.

You can be granted a student visa only if you wish to undertake a registered course or part of a registered course on a full-time basis.

A registered course is an education or training course offered by an Australian education provider who is registered with the Australian Government to offer courses to overseas students.

The Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) can provide details of registered courses.

Australia's student visa program has seven subclasses. Each subclass is based on the education sector of your principal course of study:

Visa Subclass Name Number Purpose
Independent ELICOS 570 For overseas students undertaking an ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) as a stand-alone course, and not as a prerequisite to commencing another course (for example, a degree course)
Schools 571 For overseas students undertaking a course of study at a primary school or a secondary school, including both junior and senior secondary school
Vocation Education and Training (VET) 572 Diploma, Advanced diploma and Advanced certificate
Higher Education 573 Covers a Bachelor degree, Graduate certificate, Graduate diploma and Masters degree by coursework
Masters and Doctorate 574 Covers a Masters degree by research, and a Doctoral degree
Non-award 575 Covers foundation, bridging or other courses that do not lead to the award of a degree, diploma or other formal award
AusAID or Defence sponsored 576 Covers full-time study undertaken by AusAID- or Defence-sponsored students for the whole or part of an education or training course offered by an Australian education provider
Student Guardian visa 580 For guardians who wish to accompany a student under 18 yrs of age on a student visa.

Type of Institutes

1. Primary and secondary schools: This is equivalent to 10+2 education in Pakistan. Certification at the end of schooling is by continuous assessment within the schools or by a combination of internal assessment and public examinations. These procedures form the basis for qualification for entry to universities or other tertiary institutions.

2. Foundation Studies: Foundation studies give international students the knowledge and skills for a smooth transition from learning in their home country to undergraduate studies in Australian universities. Foundation Studies are usually one year in duration and students are assessed and examined by their lecturers. Foundation studies are divided into various streams like arts and science studies. The common feature of foundation studies is that a university allocates a provisional place in an undergraduate course for a student who achieves the prescribed grades.

3. English Language Schools (ELICOS): These are specifically for people who come to Australia to study English either for educational purposes or for other reasons. The Australian system of English language training is known as English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS). There are a range of courses including General English; English for Special Purposes; Vacation Courses; and Examination Preparation. The starting dates of courses are fairly frequent and they generally run from 4 to 10 weeks. Many universities and TAFE institutes have ELICOS centers attached to their campuses.

4. Vocational Education and Training Institutes: Vocational education and training (VET) gives students practical skills for their careers.

The VET sector is divided into two sections: a nationally recognized government system of Technical and Further Education (TAFE); and private providers. TAFE is the largest provider of tertiary education courses in Australia with about 250 institutes and over a million students including about 41,000 international students.

The awards in VET sector are: certificates, advanced certificates, associate diplomas, diplomas. Studying at TAFE level is also a way of gaining entry - termed a pathway - to Australia's universities.

Most TAFE institutes have arrangements with specific universities, enabling students to gain credit for a portion of their study undertaken at TAFE. The VET courses include computing, design, pilot training, business management, hospitality and tourism and many other courses.

5. Universities (higher education): There are 37 public universities and two private universities in Australia which offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The most popular courses of study for international students have been in the fields of Business, Administration and Economics, followed by Science, then Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

University study can lead to the following awards: Undergraduate - Bachelor Degrees, Bachelor Degrees (with Honors), Undergraduate Diplomas, Associate Diplomas; Postgraduate - Doctoral Degrees, Masters Degrees, Graduate Diplomas, and Graduate Certificates.

Type of Programs & Qualifications

1. Bachelor Degree
2. Bachelor Degree (with Honors)
3. Undergraduate Diplomas
4. Associate Diplomas

1. Masters Degrees
2. Doctoral Degrees
3. Graduate Diplomas
4. Graduate Certificates

Charges & Fees

Visa application charges are payable in the form of a single demand draft for Pakistani Rupees, in favor of the ‘Australian High Commission, Islamabad’ only. Information on current visa application charges for each visa subclass can be found at: http. Application charges can be paid at the service delivery partner’s Visa application centers . A service fee is also charged by the service delivery partner for each application lodged through a Visa application centre. Please note that fees and charges are non-refundable, even if applications are withdrawn or refused.

Character requirements
All applicants for a visa to Australia must be assessed against the character requirements. Further information can be found at:

Your pre-visa application will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Evidence of Enrolment:
One of the important requirements for a student visa application is that you must be accepted for enrolment, to undertake a course, by a Government registered Australian education institution. This is verified by the advice of acceptance from the Australian institution (commonly known as Letter of Offer), which is issued to a student who has been offered enrolment in a full-time course. You should not pay any part of the course tuition fee prior to the outcome of the PVA.

English language skills

The table below outlines the English language skills you require and the evidence you must provide for the grant of your first student visa or to renew your student visa.

You need one of the following Evidence Required
IELTS test If you are applying:
  • for direct entry into a course, you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 5.5 or above
  • to do an ELICOS course before your main course, you must have an IELTS score of at least 5.0. You can study a preliminary English course for up to 20 weeks.
Note: You can take the Academic or General IELTS test to meet English Language requirements for a student visa. However, please check with your Australian education provider about which test they require for your enrolment.
English test other than IELTS You must have a score equal to IELTS 5.5 in one of the following tests:
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
    Note: This test is only acceptable if taken in one of the following countries: Belarus, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Moldova, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda and Uzbekistan. Internet, paper and computer based tests are all acceptable.
Study in English You must provide evidence that you have:
  • studied in English for at least five years in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom or United States
  • within two years of your application date have successfully completed in Australia
    • A foundation course
    • A Senior Secondary Certificate of Education
    • A substantial part of a Certificate IV or higher level qualification, from the Australian Qualifications Framework.
      Note: The AQF does not provide information or advice on skills assessment.

Other Relevant Matters

These include:
1. Immigration links with Australia
2. Usefulness of course for career development
3. Satisfactory completion of year 12 / relevant undergraduate degree or equivalent.
4. Strong links have to be established between past academic/work background and study goals.
5. Guardianship arrangements (if applicant is under 18 at the time of PVA application)

Further Processing:
If you are advised that you meet the PVA requirements, you will be asked to undergo further processing. This includes payment of course tuition fee to the Australian educational institution and a medical examination. It is essential that the student and the accompanying dependent(s) meet the Australian Health requirements before a visa may be granted. This involves a medical check and an x-ray for applicants over 16. Applicants will need to present an original valid passport to identify themselves to the Doctor and Radiologist. In some cases medical results will be referred to Australia and as this process takes 3 - 4 weeks, applicants will need to allow additional time. Usually only medicals where the doctor or radiologist has detected an abnormality will be referred to Australia. Applicants need to take into account postage or courier times also.

Factors that may delay this processing time include:
1. Medical referral to Australia and the need for any subsequent medical tests
2. Document verification including educational documents, employment references and bank statements and Applications which are incomplete and require the visa office to make contact with the applicant or the applicant's agent.

Health Insurance:
It is compulsory for all international students to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for themselves and their dependents, where applicable, for the duration of the visa. The. Premium for. OSHC is only to be paid once the PVA requirements have been met. The current premiums for OSHC are AUD274 for a single person and AIJD54S for a whole family.

Re-entry into Australia:
All Student Visas have a multiple entry facility for the full period of the visa. Students who plan to travel out of, and return to, Australia at any time during their course are advised to check that their visa is valid for return to Australia.

a) Student integrity measures
The attached Fact Sheet is of interest to potential student visa applicants, education providers and education agents.

b) Student visa processing times
The Islamabad Visa Office has seen a significant increase in the number of applications received. As a result, processing times are currently at 12-14 weeks for a student visa application lodged at the Islamabad Visa Office. Your course should not commence until at least 12-14 weeks after you lodge your application.

To help us keep processing times less than 12 weeks please see the new faster processing procedures on the student page. This page is regularly updated; it is recommended you check the students page weekly.

Processing Times in Islamabad - how you can help us process your application faster
* The information contained herein has been amended as on 29 April 2010*
The Visa Office received a very large increase in applications in November, December and January. In order to facilitate as many of these students as possible reaching their courses on time, the visa office has been processing applications in the order of course commencement, rather than the date of application, where reasonable and possible.

Due to the high numbers of applications received the standard processing time is currently at 12-14 weeks for a student visa. We expect this processing time to reduce once the high number of applications received in December and January are finalized. Please be patient during this period. When we have processed these applications we will again provide more detailed advice on processing times.

Future applications for student visas should continue to be lodged 12 weeks before the course commencement in order to ensure the student can reach the course on time. The amount of time taken to finalize individual applications may vary significantly depending on individual processing requirements. Processing times for applications may vary according to workload and season.