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Student visa cancellation

Learn about reasons for a student visa cancellation in Australia

The fundamental purpose of the Student visa (subclass 500) is to facilitate access to the Australian education system, empowering foreign students to enroll in accredited courses, gain qualifications, and foster cross-cultural understanding. Yet, it is crucial to acknowledge that this privilege comes with responsibilities. Failure to comply with the visa conditions or misuse of the visa for alternative purposes can result in the cancellation of a student visa. Such an outcome not only disrupts your educational journey but also carries significant consequences.

This guide provides information as to the circumstances where your Student visa may be cancelled by the Department of Home Affairs, the reasons leading to the visa cancellation, and what you can do if your Student visa is cancelled.

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Reasons for student visa cancellation

Normally, you may have your student visa cancelled on three main grounds: you did not comply with your Student visa conditions, you were no longer meet character requirements, or you provided false information on your visa application.

When granting a Student visa the Department of Home Affairs usually attaches specific visa conditions in your visa grant letter. It is of utmost importance for you to understand and comply with these conditions, as any breach of them may result in the termination of your Student visa.

The following condition(s) might be attached to your visa:

  • Work Restriction (condition 8104 and  8105)
  • Maximum 3 months study (condition 8201)
  • Meet course requirements (condition 8202)
  • Limited study change (condition 8203)
  • Study limitations (condition 8204)
  • No study change related to critical technology without approval (condition 8208)
  • Not be disruptive (condition 8303)
  • Maintain adequate health insurance (condition 8501)
  • Continue to satisfy the criteria for the grant of the visa (condition 8516)
  • Maintain adequate arrangements for the education of your school-age dependants (condition 8518)
  • Maintain adequate arrangements for your education (condition 8518)
  • Maintain welfare arrangements for minors (condition 8532)
  • Inform provider of address (condition 8533)
  • No further stay (condition 8534 and 8535)

The common situations of student visa cancellation are if:

  • You work more than 48 hours a fortnight when your course of study or training is in session
  • You start working before your course starts
  • You are no longer enrolled in a registered course as you did not enroll full-time in your course, maintain satisfactory attendance or meet course requirements
  • You complete the course and do not leave Australia or apply for a new visa within 3 months
  • You have changed courses , finished them earlier than expected, and you do not leave Australia or apply for a new visa within 28 days of completing the course
  • You are studying more than one course on your visa and you finish a course early and have a gap between courses of more than 2 months (except if this gap occurs between the end of an academic year and the beginning of a new academic year)
  • You do not maintain your health insurance

As a Student visa holder, you must meet character requirements set out by the Australian government, and remain of good character.

You may not meet the character requirements if:

  • You have a substantial criminal record, that is if you have committed an offence and been sentenced to imprisonment of 12 months or more
  • You have been convicted of a sexual offence involving a child
  • You have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention
  • You have committed an offence while you were in immigration detention, during an escape from immigration detention, or after an escape but before you were taken into immigration detention again
  • You have been convicted of a domestic violence offence
  • The Australian government considers you would pose a risk to the Australian community.

It is crucial to recognise that providing false or misleading information, whether intentionally or inadvertently, can lead to the cancellation of your visa, even after it has been granted. The Department possesses the authority and resources to conduct thorough checks and verifications to confirm the accuracy of the information you have provided during the visa application process. It is a common misconception to assume that the Department lacks the means to verify your details. On the contrary, they are well-equipped to scrutinise the information, ensuring the integrity of the visa program. Therefore, it is imperative to be entirely truthful and accurate in all your interactions with the Department, as any discrepancies can have serious consequences for your student visa status and your ability to study in Australia.

Consequences of student visa cancellation

The revocation of an Australian tourist visa brings about substantial repercussions, such as an instantaneous loss of legal standing, necessitating the individual to promptly leave Australia. Additionally, it may render the person ineligible for subsequent Australian visas, creating an unfavourable notation on the immigration record and potentially causing financial setbacks due to disrupted travel arrangements and non-refundable reservations. In specific instances, a prohibition on re-entry might be enforced, constraining future visits to Australia.

Visa cancellation process

Navigating the complexities of visa cancellations can be daunting. This section provides an overview of the process, all the way through to the filing of submissions and the determination of your application. We emphasise the importance of representation throughout the process to ensure your interests are protected. Our experienced team offers dedicated support, ensuring that every client is well-informed and prepared for every stage of their visa journey. Our process includes the following steps:

1. Consultation and engagement

2. Preparation and support

3. Submission and communication

4. Representation and outcome

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What should you do next?

Normally if you are onshore, the Department of Home Affairs will inform you if they intend to cancel your student visa. They will give you a chance to put forward reasons why they should not cancel your visa. You have to prepare and respond to them promptly within the time limit. This process ensures fairness and transparency, allowing you to present your case before any final decision is made.

If you are offshore, the Department may not always provide prior notification regarding their intention to cancel your visa, but you may receive a visa cancellation notice. 

It's important to know that you might have the right to appeal their decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or seek judicial review through the court system. These avenues can provide a means to challenge the visa cancellation and have your case reconsidered.

How to avoid a student visa cancellation

To avoid tourist visa cancellation, you should:

  • Understand and comply with all visa conditions
  • Provide truthful and accurate information
  • Notify the Department of any changes
  • Obey Australian law and regulations
  • Consult with immigration professionals whenever you are unsure about your visa status and conditions

Benefits of using an immigration lawyer

Facing a student visa cancellation is a situation that not only disrupts your academic journey but also impacts your future plans. The uncertainty and potential consequences can often lead to stress and feelings of depression. In such trying times, utilising the services of an immigration expert becomes particularly beneficial. 

  • Lawyers can provide appropriate assistance tailored to your unique situation
  • Suggest alternative visa options
  • Our skilled professionals can assist in the appeal process, presenting a strong case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or pursuing a judicial review
  • Their expertise ensures that all necessary legal requirements are met and that your case is effectively advocated, maximizing the chances of a successful appeal.

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We offer professional migration advice and support, no matter where you are based. Those located in Australia have the choice of meeting with us at one of our offices or online, and for those offshore, we are available to you online.

Frequently asked questions

Read our most frequently asked questions about student visa cancellations:

If my student visa is cancelled while I am in Australia, what steps should I take to address the situation?

If your student visa is cancelled while you are in Australia, it is crucial to consult with an immigration lawyer or a registered migration agent immediately as there is a time limit to challenge the Department of Home Affairs decision. Immigration experts can navigate the process effectively and give you tailored advice that best suits your situation.

Are there any consequences for overstaying my visa if it has been cancelled?

Yes, overstaying or living unlawfully in Australia can lead to serious consequences, including deportation and detention. It is essential to adhere to immigration laws and seek professional advice on your options if you encounter a visa cancellation.

Can I reapply for a student visa if my previous one was cancelled?

Yes, in some cases, you may be eligible to reapply for a student visa after a cancellation. However, it is crucial to address the issues that led to the previous cancellation and provide a strong case with supporting evidence in your new student visa application. You may also need to consult with an immigration lawyer who can check whether there is any re-entry ban as the result of visa cancellation. Please keep in mind that having a history of visa cancellation can affect your future visa applications considerably.

About the content author

Perry Q Wood
Partner - Principal Migration Lawyer

Perry Q Wood is National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law and one of Australia’s leading administrative and migration lawyers. To date, he has been involved in 1,000+ migration and refugee matters.

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