What is an 'Overseas Student'
The term “overseas student” has special meaning depending on circumstance:
Census: An “overseas student” for Census purposes refers to a student who enters Australia on a 500 sub-class student visa (or on a bridging visa attached to a substantive visa with study provisions), either with the primary purpose of that student undertaking a course of study, or (subject to exclusions noted below) as the dependant of another overseas student. “Overseas students” are reported in the Census both as “students on a visa” and as “overseas students”.
However, not all students on a 500 sub-class visa are “overseas students”. A student with a 500 sub-class visa is not an “overseas student” for Census reporting purposes if they are:
- the dependant of a tertiary overseas student who is receiving a scholarship from an Australian tertiary institution, or from the Commonwealth, for their course
- part of a registered student exchange program.
Such students are reported in the Census as “students on a visa” but not “overseas students”.
Students who are primary visa holders or dependants of people on other types of visas (e.g. a skilled worker visa and several others), are reported in the Census as “students on a visa” and are not “overseas students” for this purpose.
Students on a visa who are not reported at all in the Census (even as “students on a visa”) include those who:
- are on a visitor’s visa and in Australia for less than 6 months, or
- are on exchange and at the school for a period shorter than 6 months in a program year, or
- have completed their formal schooling in their own country.
Further information is available through the 2019 Census Guidelines with information available on reporting students on a visa. Schools may also contact the Department of Education and Training with specific queries on Census requirements, by email or by phone on 1800 677 027 (select option 1 then option 3).
CRICOS: Schools must be CRICOS-registered (see further details below) to be able to enrol a student who is defined under the CRICOS framework as an “overseas student”. For CRICOS purposes, an “overseas student” refers only to a student who enters Australia on a 500 sub-class student visa, with the primary purpose of that student undertaking a course of study. Unlike the circumstance for Census reporting, no dependants of other 500 sub-class visa overseas students are included in this definition, so these dependants may enrol in a school which is not CRICOS-registered.
As for Census purposes, students with a 500 sub-class visa who are part of a registered (or unregistered) exchange program are also not considered (for CRICOS purposes) to be “overseas students”. As “students on a visa” they may therefore enrol in a school which is not CRICOS-registered. Schools may wish to refer to the AISNSW support document about enrolling students on visas.