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Visas & Immigration In Australia

Visas & Immigration In AustraliaApplying for an Australian visa is a vital part of your application as an international LLM student, and is easily
as important as your application to the LLM course itself – as if you fail to apply for your visa correctly then you may well find yourself unable to study your Master of Laws at your chosen university.

Here are the ins and outs of applying for a student visa in Australia.

How to apply

Unless you are a citizen of New Zealand or have permanent residency in Australia or a Humanitarian Visa, most international students will be applying for the student visa known as subclass 500.

Once you have your place on your LLM program and the necessary funding arranged then you must apply online through the Australian Government's ImmiAccount system. It is important to make sure you allow plenty of time for your visa application to be processed, as it is essential to have your visa in place before you start your LLM program.

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Application process

The LLM program that you are applying for must be at an institution on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) in Australia as these are the only law schools that will qualify you for a student visa. Don't waste your time applying for a course at a law school that is not on this list. Most Australian law schools are part of CRICOS and a quick double check will keep your mind at ease when you are applying for your visa. Once you have applied online then you may be called to your local Australian embassy or consulate for an interview or to an approved doctor to have a medical check-up. 

When to apply

The academic year begins in February in Australia, and you want to make sure you give your visa application plenty of time to be assessed. The processing times do vary across the year and in the run-up to the start of the academic year there will be an influx of students who have left it rather late to apply for a visa. Don't get caught up if you can avoid it, and if you do avoid the busier times you should expect your visa application to be assessed within about four weeks. 

Necessary documentation

Once you've got all of your documents together you should continue with the ImmiAccount system online. You don't need to approach your local Australian embassy or consulate unless they contact you for more information. You might find that you need to upload further information or documents, so be prepared for additional information requests. As part of your visa application, you must prove you are of good character to enter Australia and this can involve a letter from your local police station. You must also take out health insurance for your time in Australia and this must be from a provider who is part of the Overseas Student Health Cover system run by the Australian Government. International students must also prove that they have necessary funds to support themselves while they are in Australia. Currently, students must provide evidence that they have access to $19,830 additional funds after tuition fees are paid for. 

Listed here are the initial documents you might need, and you might find you need to provide extra documentation later on in the application process.

Evidence of Enrolment at a Law School in Australia
Health Requirements
Health Insurance
Good Character Requirements
Details of Family Members Joining You
English Language Test Score

Potential restrictions

As an international student with a visa you will find there is a restriction on the number of hours you can be in paid employment of 40 hours over a two week period. Volunteer or unpaid work must be a benefit to your community and for a non-profit organisation. You need to be careful if you are applying for an unpaid internship and also taking on part-time work as you could quickly overextend your visa restrictions. You must not stay in Australia after your visa has expired and you are responsible for the actions of your family members so if they break their visa restrictions you could lose your visa as well.

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