Australian VET course options for international students

Australian VET course options for international students

For various reasons, international students who are seeking Australian education may not enter into a bachelor degree right away. Entry requirements may not be met or an international student may want to dip their toes in the water before committing to a full degree.

Some international students, seeking an Australian education participate in Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses instead of a bachelor’s degree and still gain valuable knowledge and skills that can be applied to the workforce.

VET courses hands on industry experience

VET courses are offered by Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, private colleges or Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

One form of Australian education that many international students choose to take is a VET course which is a sector based on the partnership between the Australian government and industry. VET courses are a great option as they often have hands-on industry experience and are a great form of Australian education that prepares international students for the workforce.

Types of VET qualifications

This form of Australian education includes the following types of qualifications for international students:

  • Certificate I-IV (teaching introductory skills and vary from 6 months to a year).
  • Diplomas (preparing international students for their industry of choice and usually take 1-2 years).
  • Advanced diplomas (for advanced skills and can be used towards university courses, around 1.5-2 years in length).
  • Vocational graduation certificate/diploma (high-level employment skills between 6 months – 2 years).
  • English language courses (approx. 48 weeks).

VET courses are much cheaper than University degrees

Another benefit for international students studying a VET course instead of a university degree is the price difference, VET courses vary between $4000 to $22,000 per year (not including the cost of living) which is much cheaper than a university degree.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for this Australian education also vary. Most VET courses require the equivalent of Australian Year 10, 11 and 12 but in addition, some courses may require something more specific to the course such as a portfolio for an art course.

VET providers

TAFE institutes that offer this Australian education are Holmesglen in Melbourne, Victoria which offer international students courses such as Engineering, Digital Media, Hairdressing, Education and much more. Another Melbourne TAFE if the Kangan Institute which is one of the most well-known Australian education providers. Kangan Institute offers international students 5 different campus locations and many courses ranging from Automotive to Visual Merchandising.

If you are an international student seeking Australian education in New South Wales, TAFE NSW has 10 different study regions and offers international students over 300 certificate, diploma, and advanced diploma courses. Alternatively, TAFE Queensland offers international students over 15 study areas with over 180 courses and really helps students prepare for life in Australia.

Means to acquire hands-on experience

Regardless of what city, state or territory in Australia an international student may want to study, students who are seeking an Australian education will find that VET courses are a fantastic option to gain hands-on experience for the workforce or to use as a pathway into an Australian University.

Options for international students to stay in Australia after graduation

Options for international students to stay in Australia after graduation

As an international student, it is of interest to know what the options are to stay in Australia after completing higher education. Luckily there are a few options for international students such as completing further studies, applying for permanent residency or applying to extend the time spent living in Australia.

One option for international students to stay in Australia after completing higher education studies is to complete further studies such as an honours year, master’s degree or doctoral degree. International students will need to apply and successfully gain entry into their course of choice. International students will then need to apply for a new visa, extend their student health cover and ensure they have enough money to continue their stay.

To continue to work or study in Australia, international students can apply for permanent residency. International students will need to have their skills assessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protections Skilled Migration Program and then may be invited to apply for a visa.

One visa that includes permanent residency for international students is the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) which is a visa for workers who are skilled and have been points-tests and who are not sponsored by an employer or family member or have been nominated by a state or territory government.

Other permanent visa options for international students are the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187). If an international student is not sent an invitation to apply for a visa they can always apply to temporarily stay in Australia.

International students may wish to apply to temporarily stay in Australia after completing their higher education. There are many visa options for international students, one of which is for international students who may wish to travel around Australia. International students can apply for a tourist visa or even a working holiday visa if they wish to work while traveling.

Another option is to apply for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). This visa is for international students who have graduated and wish to stay in Australia temporarily.

If you are an international student seeking to stay in Australia after completing higher studies, it is important to look into your options well before you graduate. Universities have many online and on-campus features to help international students so the process is as smooth as possible.

Another way to familiarize yourself with the processes is by checking in with the Department of Immigration and Border Protections website and studying the protocols and options. Whether you are an international student looking to complete further studies, get started in the workforce, travel or become a permanent resident, there are options out there for you.

Many International Students Can’t Find Good Information on Australian Education

Many International Students Can’t Find Good Information on Australian Education

When a member of this Career GroupPlan was on a short bus tour in the outskirts of Sydney, a South Asian looking young man in his thirties sat beside me. Looking at me, he asked: “what do you do in Australia?”. I replied: “I do research and teaching at a University”. He then poured a range of questions at me:

 “I am from India. My brother wants to study Engineering in Australia. Which University is good? Here can he get a scholarship? Where can we get all these information?……….

“Hang on’, I said to him, adding, “There is a range of Universities, colleges, and courses in Sydney and Australia”. I told him further that there are scholarship opportunities too but the student should thoroughly check the websites of the universities and other scholarship providers for the accurate information. The person then asked for my mobile number and I provided it though I was a bit hesitant but he was too keen and enthusiastic not give it. “I will give you a call soon, uncle” – he left the bus.

How smart is this boy, I thought later. But I also found him too naive at the same time. If he is interested in Australian education and if he is already in Australia for an Information Technology (IT) related short- term work, then why is he not able to get information? Why does he have to rely on a fellow passenger in a local bus? Luckily, he got a university academic like me to talk and also a person kind enough to share the mobile number just in an encounter of five minutes.

 “Hello uncle, I am xxx”, I received a call from him when he was back to India. He asked for more information about admission, scholarship, university and others. The call came at a time when I was about to start working, so told him that he referred to the pages of five different Universities in Sydney.

 This brief encounter with a person seeking information on Australian education has left me wondering about a few questions.

 I asked myself: Why are people so keen to come to Australia for higher studies from developing countries? I gathered some answers to these questions through some reflections. Young people in the developing world know that Australia has not only a reputed English medium education, but it also has good post-study opportunities for jobs and migration.

 While interests and demands are high, the service industry seems to be still poorly responsive. Many students in the developing world are still not used to carefully reviewing the websites, online information, much less making email inquiries.

 Several of the emails I received over the past six months asking me if I can supervise PhD or Masers degree research coming from various developing countries, I found this emails either incomplete or unclear. All of these emails were not framed to impress the prospective supervisor or the admission officers in the university.

 Many developing country students know Australia is a good place for higher studies but they are not quite sure how they can navigate information, how they can find the best and relevant information and the like.

 I have met several other students in Sydney who regret having chosen a particular place, course, University or a degree. They all feel about the incorrect decisions they made in choosing these aspects of their education project. “I just thought about coming to Australia, and did not look carefully at  details of where and how of the course”. “If I knew more information, I would have taken a different course and a different University:”, said a student of a low-ranking University student of Nepal origin.

 Despite internet revolution, students in the countries of origin have not been able to make full use of the available information. Perhaps they are flooded with too much information that is not directly relevant to them. They look for information on courses, jobs, financial aids and cheap accommodations, but education service industry is dominated by predatory consultants who grab students and put them in a course without offering adequate advice and information.

 Universities themselves rely on costly intermediary agents to sell admissions, while they do too little to reach out prospective students and offer advice directly.

 What is needed is providers of independent advice from those without any direct interests to enrol students in a specific course or an education provider. Independent career advice platform with such goal could be of great help to this end.

 By Staff Member 

For Study Abroad, Education Agents Provide Good Help, But They Could Also Create Problems if You Fail to Choose a Reliable Agent

For Study Abroad, Education Agents Provide Good Help, But They Could Also Create Problems if You Fail to Choose a Reliable Agent

“International students do not have to use an education agent. You can enrol directly with an Australian education institution. Information about what education institutions offer is usually on their websites. If you want to use an education agent, it’s best to pick one used by the institution you want to study at. You can find a list of education agents on the institution’s website.”

– Department of Education and Training Website, Australian Government

With unprecedented popularity of overseas education in the current world, the significance of overseas educational agencies/consultants/counselors of the agents has tremendously increased. Particularly the role of educational agents as intermediaries in the entire process from applying to the university to getting the final approval have been profoundly important with rising aspiration for study abroad programs.

Ranging from offering advice, counseling to placement assistance for prospective students, education agents help students realize their dream of an international degree in the most effective and efficient manner. Although the use of agents is a standard practice across the world, controversies have emerged pertaining to their role.

The Debate

Whether education agents really facilitate students’ requirement has remained debatable in the field of international education for long. While there are some who say that such agents alleviate students’ problems by offering free counseling service and minimum processing charges of documentation, others are critical of their profit maximizing role often deceiving the students.

Of late, various news stories of consultancies taking hefty fees for admitting international students to ‘black-listed’ universities have become rampant highlighting the plights of students. Equally worrisome is the issue of  ‘fake visa guarantee’ which is still gaining greater currency among the educational agents as an instrument of accumulating profit by leaving students in serious trouble.

Australian Context

Australia is emerging as the top destination for international students after USA and UK. The improved  quality of life, safe and vibrant communities and world-class educational opportunities among others make Australia one of the most sought-after countries for getting a globally renowned academic degree.

Enrollment into Australian universities is a cumbersome process requiring the understanding of various systems and processes of university admission and government policies, which is beyond the comprehension of international students as they tend to possess knowledge only in their field of study. Thus, the role of education agents has been on rise in the international education discourse.

An Australian Government website (Australian Trade Commission) provides the following tips for choosing an agent:

  • Under Australian Government law, every Australian education institution that uses the services of an education agent needs to have a contract with that organisation.
  • Australian education institutions usually have more than one education agent appointed in a country so speak to more than one agent – collect and compare information.
  • Under Australian Government law, every Australian education institution has to list on their website every education agent it has appointed to represent them in each country.
  • Choose an education agent with experience helping students study in Australia – they will have a good knowledge of the Australian education system, visas and life in Australia.
  • Make sure that the agent is an authorised representative of the institution that you want to apply to. You can ask to see their letter of appointment from the institutions if you want.
  • Ask about any fees that may be levied for using their services.
  • Have a third party or friend help you understand the documents before you sign any documents.
  • Remember, education agents cannot guarantee a permanent visa or work placement in Australia after you graduate. Their job is to help with applications, so if it sounds too good to be true, keep looking. A reputable agent will be honest about the application process.

In view of the above, following are the ways in which education agents can assist international students wanting to study in Australia:

Career Counseling

International students often approach the education agents amid a lot of confusion. In most cases, students are unsure as to what subjects they should choose from which University. According to Prakash Neupane, senior counselor at Expert Education and Visa Services, based in Kathmandu said “genuine education agents first try and understand the potentialities of students and then suggest them for the best study options. Student’s academic background, previous skills and competencies, and career aspirations are important aspects that education agents should know in advance before offering any advice about the choice of course and university”, he further said.

More importantly, certified education agents help in completing documentation process in short time. The expertise these agents have can be of great help to students who want to make a rigorous study before choosing the best university and best course of study

For the majority of the international students coming from Asia, Information Technology (IT), Accounting, and Management are among the popular courses in Australia. For more details on the choice of the subject studies click here. However, it doesn’t imply that social sciences and humanities have limited scope. Ultimately, it depends on the ability of students to envision where a particular course can lead him/her to.

Visa Requirements

One of the great concerns for the international students is to obtain a visa. In this regard, education agents have a crucial role to disseminate the accurate information about visa procedures.

In general, a genuine student with strong academic credential and a good English score is unlikely to get rejected for studying at Australian Universities. Here, your education agent should be able to offer necessary information this.

Cultural Orientation

Students coming from different parts of the world find it difficult to adjust to the new environment in their destination countries. To ease their adjustment, education agents have the responsibility of giving a general overview of the culture, norms, and values to the newly arrived students.

So, the role of education agents can’t only be confined to academic counseling but needs to be elevated to a level of socio-culture, economic and political orientations by which students can better understand their host country and prepare accordingly. Helping to link international students to the diaspora of the respective countries is a great thing.


The constant challenge prospective international students face is related to the choice of  the best education agents. Choosing  experienced education agents duly certified by the universities is a must to get into Australian universities. Knowing about the fees that such agents charge and cross-checking it with other similar institutions will be beneficial for students to get quality service at an affordable charge.

International students may seek the assistance of education agents for a permanent visa or placement assistance even after they finish their studies. But it is important to keep in mind that education agents can’t guarantee such visas. They can simply offer help in visa application process.

As per the Australian law, an education agent can’t offer the service of a migrant agent until he/she is a registered migration agent. So, students need to be cautious of seeking migration related advice only for certified professionals instead of going to education agents for everything.

As an international student, you need to have an in-depth study your potential education agents by their success stories and reputation in the market. This in an important key for your informed decision based on available data and information before evidence and rather jumping to someone in haste.

Looking for Jobs While Studying? Some Tips for International Students in Australia

Looking for Jobs While Studying? Some Tips for International Students in Australia

As an international student, it is a great benefit to find an Australian job to help ease the cost of living while studying. International students have the option to include family members (spouse, de-facto partner, and children) on their visa application so it is important to know if family members can seek an Australian job as well.

How many hours can you work as a student?

International students are able to work at an Australian job a total of 40 hours a fortnight while their study is in session. International students are not able to work an Australian job until their study has commenced, and are able to work unlimited hours when their study is not in session (e.g. during semester break).

Volunteer work and any work that is a part of the course requirement is not included in this 40 hours. Once international students have commenced masters degree by research or doctoral degree, they are able to work unlimited hours in an Australian job.

How many hours can your family members work?

Family members of an international student are able to work 40 hours a fortnight once the study has commenced (if they have obtained their visa after 2008).

If the international student is studying a masters or doctoral degree, the family members can work unlimited hours in an Australian job. Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) is an online service that can be used at any time by international students and their family members to stay track of what hours they can work at their Australian job.

Know your job rights before you start to work

It is important for international students and their family members to know their rights when obtaining an Australian job.

A fair rate of pay is mandatory, so students and family members should never get paid cash in hand or free on a trial basis.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is a great website to familiarize students and family members, who are seeking an Australian job, with their rights.

To make things easier, it is a good idea to open an Australian bank account and applying for a Tax File Number before applying for an Australian job.

Potential workplaces for you and your family

Common Australian jobs that international students and their family’s work are retail positions, hospitality, services (such as a petrol station) or in the industry that the student is studying. Most universities have online and on-campus services that can help international students and their families obtain an Australian job.

Be connected with relevant networks

Other organizations such as the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) help international students and their families with all sorts of resources such as workshops, seminars, and apps, to help find employment in an Australian job.