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Student Visa

Living in Australia

Regulations in Australia require international students to show evidence that they can support themselves. This is to ensure students from overseas can live comfortably, safely and enjoyably whilst in Australia. International students can supplement their lifestyle through part-time work, however the 'living costs' requirement helps to ensure the success of students in their studies so they don't have to rely on work to meet all their expenses.
From 1 January 2010 prospective student visa applicants, and their family members, must have access to the following funds to meet the living costs requirements:

1. •A$18,000 a year for the main student
• A$6,300 a year for the student's partner
• A$3,600 a year for the student's first child and
• A$2,700 a year for every other child and where required.

2. For more information visit immi.gov.au
Below are some approximate costs for household groceries and other items.

• Loaf of bread - A$2.50 to A$4.00
• Two liters of milk - A$2.20 to A$3.60
• Newspaper - A$1.50 to A$3.00;
• Box of breakfast cereal - A$3.00 to A$5.60
• 100 tea bags - A$3.50 - A$5.00
• Bottle of soft drink - A$1.50 to A$3.00;
• Bottle of shampoo - A$2.50 to A$6.50;
• Beef mince (500 grams) - A$3.00 to A$7.50
• Chicken thigh fillet (500 grams) - A$5.50 to A$7.00

For more information on budgeting head to


Entertainment on a budget
Australia has plenty to offer those on a budget. When you've got stunning natural beauty on your doorstep, a pleasant climate all year round, and plenty of national parks and beaches to walk, run or cycle along, you don't need to be spending dollars to have a great time.

Other free activities in Australia include: HEADING along to the many colorful and fantastic weekend markets; learning about Australia's art and history at the free galleries and museums; or checking out one of the many Australian festivals which happen in towns and beaches all over the country. Every year Australian families get together outdoors to attend food, wine and free music festivals; and the surf life-saving competitions are a summer institution at the beach.

Aussies love being outdoors so there's always lots of free fun to be had! Check out your local paper to see what's going on in your area.

How to open a bank account
Opening an Australian bank account is relatively easy for overseas students. It is recommended you do this as soon as you can when you arrive. All you will need is your passport and a proof of address. The bank will then open an account for you and send you an ATM card which gives you access to your money from the numerous ATM machines in the towns and cities. Some banks will waiver monthly account fees if you provide proof of enrolment as a full time tertiary student.

For more information visit the website of the bank where you'd like to open an account.

3. Food

4. Eating out
They say the Aussies are a nation of sports lovers, but the same goes for their love of food! Australia has some of the world's best chefs and award-winning restaurants. There's no doubt about it, the Aussies take their food seriously. Thanks to all the international cultural influences in Australia you can eat anything and everything; from Vietnamese to Venezuelan, Moroccan to Mexican, Turkish to Tapas, Japanese, German and much more...

5. The climate varies a great deal from north to south so the variety of produce on offer is huge, and with that very large coastline, Australia boasts an abundance of delicious, fresh seafood.

6. Eating out is a normal way of life for Australians and usually a meal in a restaurant is a pretty casual affair. It's quite affordable as well, with some of the smaller local restaurants charging as little $5 for a main course! Naturally there are many mid-range and top-class restaurants as well (for a splurge!) and within the major cities there's definitely no shortage of places to find a good feed!

7. In Australia many restaurants are 'BYO' (Bring Your Own) which means you can save you considerable money on the bill. If a restaurant says it is BYO, you're allowed to bring your own alcohol. A small corkage charge is often added to your bill - make sure you check what the corkage charge is as it can vary quite a lot.

8. Eating in
Eating in is also a great pleasure for Australians, particularly in the summer months when they fire up the 'Barbie' (or barbecue) and chuck on a few shrimps or 'snags' (sausages). Weekend barbecues are a very popular way to socialize with friends at home, and food can be bought relatively cheaply at the local supermarkets, growers markets, or food markets.

9. For everyday food purchases there are two major supermarkets in Australia: Woolworths and Coles; and you're never usually far from one within the major cities. IGA are an independent supermarket which offers savings on groceries. Another supermarket chain, ALDI, operate within the Eastern Seaboard (NSW, QLD, ACT, VIC) offering its customers better value groceries.

10. Working in Australia

11. Part time work
Students who have a visa granted after 26th April 2008 have permission to work for 20 hours per week to support their studies whilst living in Australia. If you're bringing your family with you, your dependants can also work up to 20 hours per week once you have started your course in Australia. For more information see the DIAC website.

Many students work to give them a little bit of extra income so they can travel or save, others work to gain experience, meet locals and make friends. Students may choose to work in bars, restaurants and cafes, or to take on a part time job in an industry which relates to their studies. Part time job opportunities can be found in local papers and online at seek.com.au   or www.careerone.com.au

Students wishing to work (or to obtain a bank account) require a Tax File You can apply easily at Australian Tax Office Home Page and follow the instructions for filling out the form; processing normally takes 2 - 3 weeks.

Volunteering is a great way to get to know other people in the Australian community and to make friends. In addition, many students volunteer so that they can gain extra-curricular skills or broaden their cultural horizons.

12. Volunteering opportunities may involve working with a not-for-profit or community organization; or helping out at a business which relates to their studies. In Australia volunteers can do anything from planting trees, cleaning up beaches, surf life saving, to working at major sporting or music events, or helping out the elderly community.

It might be just an hour a week, or a little more commitment, however it is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Students with additional skills and experience are often looked upon favorably by potential employers.

Your education institution may also advertise volunteering opportunities..
Read more about volunteering at: govolunteer.com.au

Staying healthy
When you arrive in Australia you should register with a local doctor/GP.

Australia has a system of health cover specifically for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). You will need to buy OSHC before you come to Australia to cover you from when you arrive. You are required to maintain OSHC for the duration of your time on a student visa in Australia. Your OSHC will help you pay for any medical or hospital care you may need while you're studying in Australia, and it will contribute towards the cost of most prescription medicines, and emergency services.

13. There are five providers of OSHC in Australia. See the links below for more details about each provider:

14. • Australian Health Management OSHC
• BUPA Australia
• Medibank Private
• OSHC World care

15. OSHC does not cover dental, optical or physiotherapy. You can still use these health services, however if you want to be covered for treatment you will need to purchase an additional private health insurance.

Emergency services
In case of an emergency, the number to dial is 000.


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