The fifteenth  of March every year is a very special date for international students in Australia . 

It is on this day when most of the student visas are about to expire . Sometimes , the international students are not even aware that their student visa expires on this date .
It is therefore imperative that students check their visa status on a regular basis via the Department’s VEVO portal . The Department has most recently caught with technology and the VEVO app is also available in the App Store .

There are quite a few options available for international students when their student visa  is about to expire . You should prepare well in advance and not wait for the last day to take action . It is not unusual for the Department’s online lodgement portal to be down due to maintainance especially on weekends

Thankfully , 15/03/2017 falls on a Wednesday but this does not at all  mean you should wait till this date to lodge an extension .

So let’s discuss the options available for international students when their visa is nearing the expiry date .

Student visa extension : This option is usually chosen by students if a part of their course is unfinished or they do not have any options available other than extending their visa  . This is not a very popular option and is considered as a last resort by students who may not qualify for General Skilled Migration ( GSM) or Employer Sponsored Visas . If you are opting for an extension , please make sure that you are not hopping from a higher to lower level course and have genuine access to funds . These two factors are responsible for most of the refusals in student visa extensions .

Student Dependant Visas: If  a husband and wife are separately on student visas , then it’s worth every cent to get one of them dependant on the other . In most of these cases , the primary aim is to save the college fee and get full work rights ( if the  partner is pursuing a Masters program ).

Skilled Graduate ( SC 485) visa : This visa has two streams namely the Post Study Work Stream and the Skilled Graduate Stream . The post study work stream visa has recently been very  popular  because there is no skills assessment required . The completion of your  Bachelors or Masters degree with an English language score of 6 overall in IELTS or equivalent makes you eligible for the post study work stream visa . The Skilled Graduate stream however requires a skills assessment for which you need to have work experience in most of the occupations  . Both the streams are a perfect segueay to the permanent GSM visas.

Other  GSM Visas ( SC 489, 189, 190 ) : In the current scenario with capped occupations , the very first thing required for these visas is a full skills assessment coupled with a legendary English language score .  Although SC 485  ( discussed above ) is the common path chosen before applying for these visas , it is possible that you may qualify directly for these visas especially if you have overseas qualifications and work experience .

Employer Sponsored Visas ( SC 457, 186 or 187) :  If you are a very switched on international student who works in the same field that he/she is studying and your employer is happy to sponsor you, then depending on your geographical location and English language proficiency , you may qualify for any of these visas . SC 457, considered to be the easiest to get is actually not that easy . It is popular for the low English language proficiency and in some cases no skills assessment requirement . The SC 457 has been recently infamous for mass refusals due to trivial reasons which do not add up .   To qualify for a SC 186 popularly known as Employer Nomination Scheme , you will need to have a full skills assessment ( in most of the trade occupations ) and an IELTS score of 6 each or equivalent . SC 187, popularly known as RSMS , requires your sponsor to be in a regional area and an IELTS score of 6 each or equivalent . Skills assessment under RSMS is exempted for most of the occupations .

Partner Visa ( SC 820/801) : Chances are low but it is possible that you meet the love of your life whilst pursuing your studies in Australia . You can apply for a de facto or spouse visa if your partner is an Australian Citizen or permanent resident . The only major  requirement here is that the relationship should be genuine and continuing .

With less than a month left , it is in your best interests to plan well in advance and act sooner . The team at Lakshya can assist with all the visa options including arranging your enrolment into your desired course . You can call us at 0433 840 304 or 0433 737 306 for a confidential discussion regarding your case . 

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