Australia an Overview
Australia is a stable, democratic and culturally diverse nation with a highly skilled workforce and one of the strongest performing economies in the world.
With spectacular landscapes and a rich ancient culture, Australia is a land like no other. It is the earth's sixth-largest country in land area and is the only nation to govern an entire continent.
Australia is a country of striking landscapes, a rich ancient culture and one of the world's strongest economies. It is the sixth-largest country in land area and is the only nation to govern an entire continent.
With a spectacular natural environment, high quality of life and great diversity, Australia is a sought after destination for international tourists. It has 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity and a great number of its native plants and animals exist nowhere else on earth. From tropical rainforests in the north to the red deserts of the centre, from the snowfields of the south-east to the Australian Antarctic Territory, it is a vast and varied land. Australia has many World Heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Sydney Opera House.
Australia is a nation of boundless opportunity in a country of endless potential—a nation that is 'open for business'.
Australia's foreign and trade policy promotes its security and long-term prosperity. It seeks to protect and advance its national interests in a rapidly changing environment, while supporting a stable global order. Australia has been integrally involved in global efforts to build peace and security for decades, just as it has in promoting global trade and investment liberalization. Australia is a good international citizen, helping in times of crisis and supporting economic development in its region.
Why Study in Australia?
Did you know Australia has the third highest number of international students in the world behind only the United Kingdom and the United States despite having a population of only 23 million? This isn’t surprising when you consider Australia has seven of the top 100 universities in the world! In fact, with over 22,000 courses across 1,100 institutions, Australia sits above the likes of Germany, the Netherlands and Japan, ranking eighth in the Universities 2012 U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems.
These are strong academic credentials, but our institutions are just as highly rated as the cities that house them around the country. Australia has five of the 30 best cities in the world for students based on student mix, affordability, quality of life, and employer activity – all important elements for students when choosing the best study destination. And with more than A$200 million provided by the Australian Government each year in international scholarships, we’re making it easier for you to come and experience the difference an Australian education can make to your future career opportunities.
Do you have a specific study area of interest? There is every chance Australia has you covered, with at least one Australian university in the top 50 worldwide across the study areas of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Life & Agricultural Sciences, Clinical Medicine & Pharmacy, and Physics.
Given this impressive education pedigree, it’s not surprising there are now more than 2.5 million former international students who have gone on to make a difference after studying in Australia. Some of these students are among the world’s finest minds. In fact, Australia has produced 15 Nobel prize laureates and every day over 1 billion people around the world rely on Australian discoveries and innovations – including penicillin, IVF, ultrasound, Wi-Fi, the Bionic Ear, cervical cancer vaccine and Black Box Flight Recorders – to make their lives, and the lives of others, better.
Why wouldn’t you want to study with some of the best minds in the world?
English language requirements
In some cases, you may need to provide results of an English language test. Be aware that the English language skill level required by an institution can be different from the level of skill required for your student visa application. You should carefully check student visa information on both the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website and the institution website for any English language requirements.
The academic requirements (including evidence of English language skills) you need to study in Australia will vary depending on the level of education you want to study. Institutions can have different entry requirements, so read the course information on their website carefully and contact them to ask for advice.
Here is some general guidance on entry requirements for the different levels of study:
English language - Entry requirements vary between institutions, and according to the level of English language course you want to study.
Schools - Entry requirements vary between schools depending on the state or territory you will be studying in. Academic performance and ability is considered during the application process.
Vocational education and training - In most cases there are no entrance exams for VET institutions. However, some courses may have specific pre-requisite subjects or work experience requirements.
Higher Education Undergraduate - To gain entry into an Australian undergraduate course you will need to have an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12), or the overseas equivalent. Some undergraduate courses may also have specific pre-requisite subjects.
Higher Education Postgraduate - As well as the satisfactory completion of at least one degree at undergraduate level, your institution may take research ability or relevant work experience into consideration.
Tip: To meet the academic requirements of an Australian high school qualification, consider taking a Foundation course. Also called bridging study, they are intensive courses that will help you meet the entry requirements. They are usually one year long and are offered by most higher education institutions.
The student visa you need depends on your chosen course of study. As a guide, the typical key requirements you will need to meet are:
Issued an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) certificate.
Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement. Read more about this on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Sufficient funds for airfares, course fees and living costs.
English language proficiency.
Meet health and character requirements.
Acceptable Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
Read more about the Student Visa Key Requirements.
Overseas Student Health Cover
Australia has a special system of health cover for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). It will help you pay for medical or hospital care you may need while you’re studying in Australia; it will also contribute towards the cost of most prescription medicines and an ambulance in an emergency. When studying in Australia, you will need OSHC for yourself, and any family travelling with you, before you arrive. It is a requirement of your student visa that you maintain OSHC for the duration of your time on a student visa in Australia.
Read more about OSHC on the 'Insurance' page in the 'Live in Australia' section of this website.
Work while you study
Working while you study in Australia can help complement your study and living experience. There are a number of reasons you might want to undertake part time work while studying in Australia, including assisting with living expenses and gaining work experience in your study area.
Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks while your course is in session, and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break, but before you undertake any paid work you need to make sure your visa allows you to work. Find out more at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Australia has a wide range of industries and many have part time employment opportunities, including:
Retail - supermarkets, department and clothing stores.
Hospitality - cafes, bars and restaurants.
Tourism - hotels and motels.
Agricultural - farming and fruit-picking.
Sales and telemarketing.
Administration or Clerical roles.
If you have existing qualifications and/or professional work experience, you may be able to secure casual or part time work in your field.
Paid or unpaid internships can be a great way to get exposure to the professional, financial and creative industries. Learn more about getting an internship on the Internships page in the Education System section of this website.
There are many charities and non-government organisations (NGOs) in Australia and they always need volunteers to help out. It can be a great way to meet friends, get some hands on work experience and give back to the community. To find out more about volunteering, start your search at: http://www.govolunteer.com.au/
Everyone working in Australia, including international students or those on working holiday visas, have basic rights at work. These rights protect entitlement to:
A minimum wage.
Challenge of unfair dismissal from the job
Leave, breaks and rest periods.
A healthy and safe work environment.
Most employers in Australia are covered by an 'award', which sets minimum wages and conditions for a type of job or industry. To find out more about your work rights visit the Australian Government's Fair Work Ombudsman's websiteor call them on 13 13 94.
In Australia, employers (your boss) must also do all they can to make sure your job does not hurt you or make you sick. This law is called work health and safety (WHS) or occupational health and safety (OHS).
The law also says your boss must have insurance for you in case you are hurt at work. This is called workers’ compensation. If you are hurt or get sick at work, the insurance may pay for your medical treatment and for your wages until you can work again.
You will also need to get a tax file number to work in Australia. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website to find out more information on getting a tax file number, as well as information about paying taxes in Australia.
There are plenty of ways to find work that suits you, including:
Newspapers and online job sites.
Some institutions provide job notice-boards on campus and online. Contact your institution’s international student support staff to find out what options your institution offers.
Register your details at a recruitment firm; many of them help place people in casual or short-term work.