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Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants (check your individual circumstances with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection See: Arranging Visas). Family members include your spouse, and you and your spouse's dependent children. Before bringing your spouse or children to Australia, you will have to prove that you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. You may have to consider and discuss many issues with your family.

Issues to Consider

Rather than bringing your family together with you to Australia, some students may find it useful to arrive first, settle into studies, find appropriate accommodation, adjust to living in Australia and then arrange for their family to join them.
Before making a decision to bring your family to Australia it is important to consider the following issues:

  • The cost of airfares for your family to and from Australia;
  • Possible higher rent for a larger home;
  • Limited employment opportunities for your spouse;
  • Extra costs for food, clothing and other necessities;
  • The effect on you and your studies if your family is not happy in Australia;
  • Whether your children will adjust to school in Australia;
  • Waiting lists for child care centres; and
  • Whether to come alone to Australia first and arrange things for your family or to all come at the same time.

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Child Care

Finding suitable childcare in Australia requires patience and planning. Waiting lists for places in most childcare centres are long.

Many schools offer before and after-school care programs (usually 7:30am-8:45am and 3:00pm-6:00pm). Children who need these programs must be registered with the school.

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If you would like to bring your children to Australia with you, you must be aware of the following schooling issues:

1. It is an immigration policy that school-age dependants of international students undertake formal schooling while they are in Australia.

2. Children who have their fifth birthday before 30th June of that calendar year are eligible to start school.You will need to provisionally enrol your child in a school before you leave your home country and you will normally have to pay the school fees one semester in advance.

3. The school will issue an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment Form (eCoE) stating the program and its duration, so that you can obtain the appropriate visa for your child.

4. The Diplomatic Mission in your country can tell you which State schools are registered to take international students. Fees are payable by international students at all State schools unless you:

  • Are in receipt of sponsorship or scholarships from the Australian Government (e.g. the Australian Development Scholarship, IPRS);
  • Hold a higher institution or approved non-government scholarship. These scholarships must be approved by the State government for the dependants to be exempt from school fees.
5. You will be responsible for school fees and other costs including school uniforms, books, excursions and stationery.

6. When choosing the most appropriate school for your child, it is best to ask questions about the school's curriculum, size, extra-curricular activities and the size of individual classes.

7. You should also take into consideration the distance from the school to your education institution, the suburb in which you intend to live and the method of transport you plan to use.

Students with school aged dependants, in Australia for more than three months, must enrol their dependents in either a state government or private (non-government) school. The arrangements regarding the schooling of dependents of international students vary according to the visa category of the student. For more information regarding visa conditions refer to the DIAC website.

In Australia, the federal and state governments allocate a portion of taxes collected to fund education providers. Most state schools are free or provided at a minimal cost to Australian permanent residents and citizens. School fees may apply to people in Australia whom do not have permanent residency and require their dependents to be schooled.

There are over 80 schools in and around Brisbane, from Prep to Year 12. So no matter were you live or the age of your dependants there are various schooling options available.

Education Queensland provides information to international students on Queensland's state school structure, school term dates, fees and application procedures. Education Queensland has information brochures in several languages and listings of Queensland schools are available and Yellow Pages.


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