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International Students


The ACT Education Directorate embraces cultural diversity and welcomes international students, from Preschool through to Year 12, to experience innovative, future focused, quality learning environments. There is targeted support to assist international students develop their:

  • understanding and skills in multiple learning areas;
  • abilities in critical thinking, cultural integrity, creativity, inquiry, leadership and teamwork;
  • confidence in English fluency in academic and social settings.

Canberra is a political, cultural and education hub with the potential to challenge international students, to give new perspectives and to help define future directions. Canberra is a destination known for its safety and one in which it is easy to get around (walk, cycle, bus, light rail).

The final two years of schooling are in a separate College setting in which students are supported to be effective independent learners in preparation for tertiary study. A statutory authority, the Board of Senior Secondary Studies, accredits courses for the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and quality assures that what is offered meets the entrance requirements of Australian tertiary institutions.

Assessment is continuous, with no final “high stakes” examination. In 2018 and 2019, the top 25 Year 12 international students in ACT public schools attained an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 90 or above.

Local families, through the Directorate’s homestay program, offer international students a “family life” experience in a welcoming and nurturing environment.

Further information about Canberra is available at: Study Canberra

School websites are at: ACT Education - Public Schools in the ACT

Experience life with a Canberra family

The ACT public schools’ Homestay program is a great way for international students over the age of 16 to settle into life in Australia while completing their secondary school study.

The ACT Education Directorate finds a suitable host family for students to live with while they are studying in Canberra.

Homestay is more than renting a room in a house, it’s about becoming part of a family and experiencing the Canberra way of life. Meaningful connections are made, leading to faster improvements in a student’s English language skills. This then translates to greater success at school.

Both students and their Homestay family are supported to ensure a smooth transition both at their new home and at school.

Benefits for both students and families

Our Homestay program offers many rewards.

Students will find living with a local family helps them more easily get used to both language and cultural differences – something which is particularly important when they first arrive in Australia.

Both hosts and students will develop a unique understanding of cultural diversity and develop long lasting relationships that endure long after the student has completed their study and returned home.

Hosts will witness and play a pivotal role in seeing a young person’s confidence, agency and competency grow during their stay.

Ongoing support provided

Settling into a new home and school can be a challenge for any student. It also means changes for homestay families as they welcome a new person into their home. The Education Directorate’s International Education team provide ongoing support to both.

Three people chatting and sitting at a table in a room
Photo by Martin Ollman

With extensive experience caring for students aged under 18, the team supports Homestay families in every aspect of hosting a student. This includes 24-hour access to student welfare support and regular information seminars as well as a transition session soon after arrival in Canberra attended by both the student and family.

Become a Homestay family

We warmly welcome new homestay hosts and provide opportunities for more experienced hosts to offer their advice and experiences, broadening the network of shared information and support available.

Canberra has a large multicultural community and our homestay families come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. A host family can come in all forms and may comprise:

  • families with young children or teenagers
  • single people
  • older couples whose children have grown up and left home.

Living with a homestay family provides students with the security and comforts of a ‘second home’ and offers:

  • full board, accommodation and meals with a local family
  • a fully furnished bedroom with a desk for study
  • the safety, security, and supportive environment of a local family
  • the best way to improve English language skills
  • assistance in adjusting quickly to a new lifestyle.

Homestay hosts receive $300 weekly, from the international student’s family, to assist with expenses of hosting.

Homestay selection and monitoring

The Education Directorate manages all aspects of an international students’ educational experience, delivering tailored programs in schools, ensuring the safety and welfare of students and co-ordinating the Homestay Program.

Homestay families are selected based on clear criteria, regularly reviewed and discussed with individuals in the follow-up of expressions of interest to host. All members of the household over 18 years of age must have, or obtain, a current ACT Government Working with Vulnerable People clearance.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more and apply to be a Homestay family please contact the International Education team on email ieu@act.gov.au or by phone on 6205 9178.

Applications are to be submitted via an education agent registered with the Directorate. The application form outlines key information, including terms and conditions.

  1. Submit completed application form to ieu@act.gov.au, including relevant supporting documentation (passport, school reports) and administration fee.
  2. You will receive email acknowledgement from the International Education Unit.
  3. If the enrolment is approved, an offer package is forwarded to you.
  4. Tuition payment is due when you sign and return the enrolment acceptance form.
  5. The International Education Unit issues a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) by email and, if applicable, a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW).
  6. Enrolling students require a valid visa from the Department of Home Affairs prior to commencing study.

Temporary residents should maintain adequate schooling arrangements for their school-age dependants. Visa classification determines family liability for tuition costs and for those applicants on a bridging visa, this assessment is against the conditions of their previous visa. The application form outlines key information, including terms and conditions.

  1. Submit completed application form to ieu@act.gov.au, including relevant supporting documentation (visa, passport, medical insurance cover, residential address confirmation) and administration fee.
  2. You will receive email acknowledgement from the International Education Unit.
  3. If the enrolment is approved, an offer package is forwarded to you.
  4. Tuition payment is due when you sign and return the enrolment acceptance form, noting a payment schedule can be negotiated to assist family finances, if required.
  5. The International Education Unit confirms which school site, with reference to the family’s residential address, as Priority Enrolment Areas in the ACT (PEA) apply.
  6. The International Education Unit issues an Approved Reference Number (ARN) and the family can then complete online enrolment to the allocated school.

Note: Diplomats (including holders of Special Purpose visas under the Status of Forces Agreement) and New Zealand citizens with a NZ passport, enrol directly at their PEA school and are not subject to international student tuition fees.

Children settling in Canberra on visas 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 785, 790 or 866 (collectively relating to Refugee, Humanitarian, Protection or Safe Haven status) are welcome to enrol in ACT public schools.

Holders of these visas are not liable for international student tuition fees. Documentation required includes passport (if available), visa notification and proof of ACT residence. Access Cards are not necessary.

The International Education Unit confirms which school site, with reference to the family’s residential address, as Priority Enrolment Areas in the ACT (PEA) apply. Email ieu@act.gov.au for enrolment assistance.

Dependants of asylum seekers on bridging visas who are applying for a Protection visa are eligible for fee exemption to enrol in ACT public schools. Email ieu@act.gov.au for enrolment assistance.

The Directorate:

  • accepts decisions by Companion House based on the provision of a Protection Visa Acknowledgment letter from the Department of Home Affairs that a protection application has been lodged, accepted and is monitored;
  • accepts Access Cards and proof of ACT residence for asylum seekers with no other documents needed;
  • processes fee exemptions for asylum seekers for the remainder of the school year in which application is made and reviews documentation annually in November (to ensure eligibility is still in place); and
  • processes fee exemptions for asylum seekers for Preschool acceptance in the year of application, acknowledging enrolment takes effect from the commencement of the next school year subject to availability.

Visitor visa holders may enrol in ACT public schools for a minimum of five weeks ($2,100) and a maximum of 10 weeks ($4,100). There is an additional $265 application fee. Email ieu@act.gov.au for assistance to identify the most appropriate school site, program content and duration.

The Directorate charges tuition fees for school-age dependants of temporary residents, on a cost recovery basis. In cases of demonstrated financial hardship or a significant, unanticipated change in circumstances after visa grant then fees may be waived for a specified period. Requests, outlining issues and evidence, should be emailed to ieu@act.gov.au. Refer to Fee Waiver Guidelines for further information.

Student exchange programs provide Australian secondary students with the opportunity to undertake studies overseas and for overseas students to study in an Australian school. Student exchange programs provide a broad educational experience for students and participating school communities.

Exchange students must enter the country on a Student Visa Subclass 500 Secondary School Exchange Program issued via an Acceptance Advice for Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form. A minimum exchange period in the ACT is 3 months or one academic school term.

Secondary Student Exchange Organisations registered to operate in the ACT

Youth for Understanding (YFU)

Rotary International District 9705

Students of the World

Southern Cross Cultural Exchange

Student Exchange Australia & New Zealand

World Education Program Australia Limited (WEP)

ACT Secondary Student Exchange Reference Group

Th ACT Secondary Student Exchange Reference Group oversees the regulation of student exchange programs within the ACT and is the official regulation body responsible for:

  • Issuing guidelines to secondary student exchange organisations and schools seeking registration.
  • Registering and approving secondary student exchange organisations and schools.
  • Maintaining contact with representatives of secondary student exchange organisations and schools.
  • Conducting annual surveys of registered secondary student exchange organisations and schools to confirm program details and reciprocity balance.
  • De-registering organisations and schools that do not comply with the relevant guidelines.

Resources

No tuition fees are charged for the school-age dependants of temporary residents who hold particular visa classifications. These include:

  • Employment related visas based on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL), noting that these lists are regularly updated.
  • Partner, Carer or Adoption visas.
  • Higher Education visas if study is being undertaken by research (as distinct from coursework).

Paid tuition fees are refunded pro-rata from the date of grant of Australian permanent residency.

International Education Unit at ieu@act.gov.au or by phone on +61 2 6205 9178

Website: https://www.education.act.gov.au/public-school-life/international_students

CRICOS Registration Number: 00643J5

Visa SubClass

Status

Visa Sub Class Title

Evidence Required

010

 

Bridging Visa A

Same eligibility as original visa

020

 

Bridging Visa B

Same eligibility as original visa

030

 

Bridging Visa C

Same eligibility as original visa

040

 

Bridging Visa D

(Prospective Applicant)

Same eligibility as original visa

041

 

Bridging Visa D

(Non-Applicant)

Same eligibility as original visa

050

 

Bridging Visa E

Same eligibility as original visa

051

 

Bridging Visa E

(Protection Visa onshore)

Same eligibility as original visa

100

Permanent

Partner (outside Australia)

Fee Exempt

101

Migrant

Child

Fee Exempt

102

Migrant

Adoption

Fee Exempt

103

Migrant

Parent

Fee Exempt

114

Migrant

Aged Dependent Relative

Fee Exempt

115

Migrant

Remaining Relative

Fee Exempt

116

Migrant

Carer

Fee Exempt

117

Migrant

Orphan Relative

Fee Exempt

124

Migrant

Distinguished Talent

Fee Exempt

132

Migrant

Business Talent

Fee Exempt

143

Migrant

Contributory Parent

Fee Exempt

151

Migrant

Former Resident

Fee Exempt

155

Resident

Resident Return

Fee Exempt

157

Permanent

Resident Return

Fee Exempt

173

Temporary

Contributory Parent

Fees applicable

186

Permanent

Employer Nomination Scheme

Fee Exempt

187

Permanent

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

Fee Exempt

188

Provisional

Business Innovation and Investment Visa

Fees applicable

189

Permanent

Skilled – Independent

Fee Exempt

190

Permanent

Skilled – Nominated

Fee Exempt

200

Permanent

Refugee

Fee Exempt

201

Permanent

In-Country Special Humanitarian

Fee Exempt

202

Permanent

Global Special Humanitarian

Fee Exempt

203

Permanent

Emergency Rescue

Fee Exempt

204

Permanent

Woman at Risk

Fee Exempt

300

Temporary

Prospective Marriage

Passport, Visa

(fee paying until 309 / 820 visa granted)

309

Temporary

Partner – outside Australia

Passports, visas

400

Temporary

Temporary Work

(Short Stay Activity)

Visa does not allow formal study

403

Temporary

International Relations

Passport, Visa, University or Government Offer or Contract

407

Temporary

Training Visa

Passport, Visa, University or Government Offer or Contract

408

Temporary

Temporary Activity Visa

Evidence of research activities

417

Temporary

Working Holiday Visa

Fees applicable

444

Temporary

Special Category

(NZ Citizen)

Evidence of NZ Citizenship

445

Temporary

Dependent Child

Passport, Visa, Citizenship

461

Temporary

New Zealand Citizen

Family Relationship

Fees applicable

462

Temporary

Work and Holiday

Fees applicable

476

Temporary

Skilled – Recognized Graduate

Fees applicable

482

Temporary

Temporary Skill Shortage (former 457)

Passport, Visa, ACT Employment Contract (MLTSSL or ROL)

485

Temporary

Skilled – Graduate

Fees applicable

491

Provisional

Skilled Work – Regional (previously 489 Visa)

Passport, Visa, ACT Employment Contract, State / Territory Nomination Letter or Family Sponsored Letter (MLTSSL or ROL)

494

Provisional

Skilled – Employer Sponsored Regional

Passport, Visa, State / Territory Nomination Letter

500

Temporary

Higher Education Sector (573)

Passport, Visa, Scholarship, CoE (research only)

500

Temporary

Schools Sector (571)

Fees applicable

500

Temporary

Non-Award Sector (575)

Fees applicable

500

Temporary

Independent ELICOS Sector (570)

Fees applicable

500

Temporary

Postgraduate Research Sector (574)

Passport, Visa, CoE (research only)

500

Temporary

Vocational Education and Training (572)

Fees applicable, except if AusAid Scholarship

500

Temporary

Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector (576)

Passport, Visa, Offer Letter, Australian Scholarship

590

Temporary

Student Guardian Visa

No enrolment eligibility

600

Temporary

Visitor Visa

Fees applicable, noting maximum 10 weeks study

601

Temporary

Electronic Travel Authority

Fees applicable, noting maximum 10 weeks study

602

Temporary

Medical Treatment

Exemption from ACT Chief Minister

651

Temporary

e-Visitor

Fees applicable, noting maximum 10 weeks study

771

Temporary

Transit Visa

No enrolment eligibility

785

Temporary

Temporary Protection Visa

Passport, Visa, ACT Proof of Residence

790

Temporary

Safe Haven Enterprise

Passport, Visa, ACT Proof of Residence

801

Permanent

Partner Visa

Fee Exempt

802

Residence

Child Visa

Fee Exempt

804

Residence

Aged Parent Visa

Fee Exempt

808

Residence

Confirmatory Visa

Fee Exempt

820

Temporary

Partner

Passport, Visa, Australian Citizenship

835

Residence

Remaining Relative

Fee Exempt

836

Residence

Carer Visa

Fee Exempt

837

Residence

Orphan Relative

Fee Exempt

838

Residence

Aged Dependent Relative

Fee Exempt

858

Residence

Distinguished Talent

Fee Exempt

864

Residence

Contributory Aged Parent

Fee Exempt

866

Refugee

Protection

Fee Exempt

870

Temporary

Sponsored Parent

Fees applicable

884

Temporary

Contributory Aged Parent (temporary)

No enrolment eligibility

887

Residence

Skilled – Regional

Fee Exempt

888

Permanent

Business Innovation and Investment

Fee Exempt

890

Residence

Business Owner

Fee Exempt

891

Residence

Investor

Fee Exempt

892

Residence

State / Territory Sponsored Business Owner

Fee Exempt

893

Residence

State / Territory Sponsored Investor

Fee Exempt

942

Temporary

Crew Travel Authority

No enrolment eligibility

988

Temporary

Maritime Crew

No enrolment eligibility

995

Temporary

Diplomatic

Fee Exempt

998

Permanent

Australian Declaratory

Fee Exempt

945

Temporary

Special Purpose Visa (includes SOFA)

Passport, Visa, Posting Letter (to ACT)
Note: Enrol online as Diplomatic