International student essentials
Australia Awards and sponsored students
Connect with us – make friends, learn and have some fun!
Develop international friendships at UWA
Are you looking for opportunities to meet, network and socialise with other UWA students from around the world?
Join us online and on-campus for regular Language and Cultural Exchange (LACE) events coordinated by UWA's International Student Support team.
LACE brings students together across cultures and languages, across the University and the globe. For over 15 years, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of international students each year to make friends, build lasting relationships and practise speaking English in informal settings.
Email LACE to be added to our mailing list and join us in upcoming events.
Additional information for living in Perth
OVERSEAS STUDENT HEALTH COVER (OSHC)
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is your health insurance while you're in Australia and is required for the entire duration of your student visa.
It’s important to look at the different policies as some items are not covered in your standard OSHC policy. Contact Medibank, UWA’s preferred provider, for information on extras cover to help with the cost of dental, physio, optical and more.
ARE YOU UNDER 18?
If you will be under the age of 18 years (minimum age of 17 years) at the commencement of your studies, you must have appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements while in Australia for the duration of your studies or until you turn 18, whichever happens first. These arrangements are regulated by the Department of Home Affairs and the National Code 2018 to ensure student safety and wellbeing.
If you’re under the age of 18 and have chosen UWA as your guardian, the University is responsible for your Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW). By signing your CAAW, UWA takes responsibility for your accommodation and welfare under the following conditions:
- you are under 18 years by the first day of your commencing semester
- you will reside in UWA-approved accommodation
- you will not breach any University policy or procedures, or any accommodation procedures or guidelines set out by the University’s approved carers and accommodation providers
- you will inform International Student Support of any proposed changes to your accommodation and welfare arrangement prior to taking any action
- you will attend induction sessions organised by International Student Support at the beginning of each semester
- you will attend fortnightly meetings with your assigned guardian/carer
- you will meet nightly curfew
- our team also provides follow-up support by checking in on your wellbeing and accommodation arrangements, conducting home visits every six months, meeting with you if you have any problems or concerns, and managing your enrolment and academic progression.
Visit our Under 18 information for more.
Under 18 students cannot travel or stay away from approved accommodation without the permission of The University of Western Australia. Failure to report changes or leave the country without notice will result in the cancellation of the Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) by UWA, which may result in a cancellation of student visa by the Department of Home Affairs.
If you are returning home during semester break or holidaying in Australia, download and complete the Holiday Application Form [PDF 166KB].
If you are staying away from your approved accommodation, download and complete the Overnight Form [PDF 389KB]. Overnight stays away can only be with a parent/legal guardian, grandparent, or siblings over the age of 18 or be directly related to your university studies (i.e. field trips).
STUDENT VISA RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As an international student, you have responsibilities that are related to the conditions of your student visa. You’re required to notify us of any circumstances that may affect your student enrolment, including:
- maintaining enrolment
- reduced study load
- academic progress
- paying tuition fees on time to ensure you remain enrolled
- notifying the University of any change of address
- maintaining visa length Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
- approved leave
- online and distance education
- transfer of course
- applying for a release letter
- early completions
Student visa holders are covered by the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework. It’s important you understand your rights and responsibilities under this framework, particularly the student visa conditions including course progress requirements.
The ESOS Act also provide tuition and financial assurance via the Tuition Protection Service. UWA has a Fee Policy that explains the calculation and payment of tuition fees, and the arranges relating to refunds.
CHANGES TO YOUR STUDY
Reduced study load (underloading)
It is a requirement of your student visa that you are enrolled in such a way that ensures you will complete your course within the duration of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). If you believe you have compelling grounds to reduce your study load/underload, you must seek approval from your Student Advising Office.
Advance standing or credit
If you apply for advanced standing or credit after your visa has been issued and this affects your course duration, UWA will cancel your current CoE and will re-issue you with a new CoE that covers the shorter duration of your studies. This is reported to Immigration, which may affect the duration of your visa. Contact the Department of Home Affairs if you have any questions.
If you're on a student visa and want to take leave from your studies, get in touch with us to discuss your circumstances and eligibility before lodging an application. For your application to be approved, the circumstances of your request need to be compassionate or compelling, with supporting documents. Read the University Policy on Student Enrolment, including 4.1 Approved Leave, and visit the Enrolments page to apply.
If you're considering transferring to a different education provider and need to be formally released, review the Student Transfer Request section of the ESOS Act or the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018. See more information for student visa holders.
If you are having trouble keeping up or understanding any subjects, UWA offers a variety of free academic support for all students. If you’re having difficulty with a unit, contact your unit co-ordinator or tutor to seek further advice on the topic you're having difficulty with. Our Academic Skills Centre also runs events, drop-in sessions and workshops to help you succeed in your studies. If you are concerned about progressing in your course or have other concerns that are affecting your studies, contact your Student Advising Office.
WORK WHILE YOU STUDY
Australia is a great place to work as an international student and you may choose to work while you’re studying. This can be an option to earn extra spending money and get a taste of the local culture.
UWA's Careers and Employability team can support you no matter which stage of your degree you're at. A large number of vacation work, volunteering opportunities and summer internships are advertised on our UniHub portal.
Through the Careers and Employability Award you can gain real world experiences, skills and knowledge to embark on an enriching future career journey. Don't wait until you finish your course – apply now!
Below are some of the most popular career websites that list jobs suitable for students:
For your convenience, StudyPerth has its very own Jobs Board which consolidates some of Australia's most popular jobs boards.
A few things to remember:
- Work hours: You can work up to 40 hours every two weeks while you’re studying, and unlimited hours during holiday breaks.
- Workplace protections: You have the same protections at work as anyone else working in Australia.
- Minimum wage: You will get at least a minimum rate of pay per hour no matter what job you do.
- Superannuation: Often known as super, it is a financial contribution towards a fund that you use to live on when you retire. If you are an employee, the law in Australian says you are entitled to receive super from your employer. You can also claim super when you leave Australia.
Tax File Number in Australia
Before working in Australia, it is crucial to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN). Your TFN will ensure that you get taxed at the correct rate for the amount of work you are doing or tax charge on bank interest.
Australia has a tax-free threshold of $18,200, meaning you will pay no tax if you earn less than this amount in the financial year. If you have any tax taken from your earnings, you will need to complete a tax return at the end of the financial year.
International students can apply for a TFN online only if they are currently in Australia and have one of the following:
- a valid permanent migrant visa
- a valid visa with work rights
- a valid overseas student visa
- a valid visa allowing to stay in Australia indefinitely
Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for information on how to apply for a TFN outside Australia or upon entering Australia.
To make starting your student journey a little easier, there are several accommodation options available to you both at UWA and in neighbouring suburbs. As an international student, you have the same rental rights and responsibilities as a local resident. Tenancy WA have a factsheet which provides information for students who are looking to rent a house or unit in Western Australia. You may also wish to download the Renting a home in Western Australia – a tenant’s guide to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Banks in Australia
The four major banks in Australia are Commonwealth Bank (also referred as Commbank), Westpac, Australia New Zealand (ANZ) and the National Australia Bank (NAB), but there are a range of other smaller, reputable banks including ING and Bendigo Bank to name a few. Each bank has different account options and products to meet your needs. We recommend you do your research before deciding on a bank. You might like to consider:
- number of ATMs available
- transaction and withdrawal fees
- setup fees
- ease of transferring money from home
ANZ, Westpac and Commbank allow you to open an account before you arrive.
What do I need to setup an Australian bank account?
Most banks will require you to verify your identity at a branch in Australia before you can withdraw funds. As an international student, be prepared with relevant proof of identity documentation on hand, including a passport, proof of residence, birth certificate or driver's license.
In addition to being of legal adult age (18), you may also need to provide your intended arrival date, the name of the Australian city you plan to reside in and that you arrive in Australia within 6-12 months of opening your bank account.
To access campus, we recommend using public transport, car-pooling, cycling, walking or other active methods as parking is limited.
Perth is an easy city to get around via public transport, and our great weather means walking and biking are options all year round. It’s recommended that you purchase a Transperth SmartRider card for use on public transport. As an international student, you'll receive a significant discount on fares.
School placement for children
Do you have children with you in Perth who need to attend school? Find out more about dependant schooling, including the processes for visa, placement in schools, the school fees and the forms and documentation required to enrol your child in school.
CULTURALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITY GROUPS IN PERTH
There are many associations in Perth that are run by culturally diverse groups. The Office of Multicultural Interests provides a listing of them. Don't forget to also check out the Student Guild's clubs and societies – there are over 160 different clubs so you're sure to find something that interests you.
INFORMATION ABOUT FRAUDS AND SCAMS
It's important to be aware that scammers can try to target international students studying in Australia. A scammer is an individual or organisation that makes money using illegal methods, especially by tricking people. While there's nothing to be alarmed about, the best way to beat scammers is to know what to look out for and how to protect yourself.
Returning home checklist
Avoid a last-minute rush by planning and preparing your return home.
- Clear any outstanding payments such as rent or bills
- Lodge your tax return by the end of October
- Pay any outstanding amounts on your credit card
- Contact your superannuation fund to ensure you receive any benefits or refunds you’re eligible for
- Check whether you’re eligible for a refund on any goods you’ve bought in Australia through the tourist tax refund scheme
- Contact your health cover provider if you think you're due a refund on your Overseas Student Health Cover
- Close your Australian bank account and make sure you have enough money for your journey home
- Terminate any contracts like your phone or internet
- Finalise all medical bills/claims and get a copy of your medical records to take home with you
- Check the details of your bond repayment
- Check your lease for any other requirements when vacating your property
- Make sure all university fees and any library fines are paid
- Return all library books and anything else you’ve borrowed
- Organise to attend your graduation
- Update your contact details online in case we need to get in touch
- If you’re planning to remain in Australia after your student visa has expired, ensure you have the correct visa
- Arrange for mail to be forwarded to your home address via Australia Post
- Leave enough time to sell anything you’re getting rid of like a car, furniture or clothes
- Arrange to send any luggage separately or pay for excess baggage