Acceptable source of funds for student visa Australia

Genuine access to funds

The Department of Immigration must be satisfied that the applicant will have genuine access to funds for an Australian Student visa. These funds should be available to be used for the purpose of financially supporting the applicant (and family members if any) while in Australia.

The department may consider the circumstances of the applicant/person providing the funds to determine whether the applicant(s) would genuinely have access to the funds.

Examples of circumstances that may be considered are:

  • the employment history of the applicant/person providing the funds
  • the income and assets of the applicant/person providing the funds
  • the source of the income used to meet the financial requirements (for example, if the applicant is relying upon funds from a third party (for example, a family friend), and the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the person providing the funds
  • if the person providing the source of income has provided financial support for another student visa applicant
  • if the applicant has previously been granted a visa, any information which Home Affairs has in relation to their ability to meet their financial requirements while they were in Australia
  • if the applicant has previously applied for a visa, any information which Home Affairs has in relation to their ability to provide for their living costs while in Australia
  • the immigration activities in Australia of other nationals from the applicant’s home country are such that further investigation into the genuine intentions of the student should be undertaken
  • relevant intelligence and analysis reports on illegal immigration and malpractice (if relevant to the individual’s circumstances).

Genuine access – Annual income

Applicants who have demonstrated sufficient funds by providing evidence of the annual income of their spouse/de facto partner or parent would need to show that they would genuinely have access to the funds generated from the income. Because the annual income requirement is restricted to the applicant’s spouse/de facto partner or parents, there is generally no need to further scrutinise ‘genuine access’ based on the relationship to the applicant.

However, in order to meet the ‘genuine access’ component of the financial requirement, the applicant may need to provide evidence of the relationship to the applicant of the person providing the funds. The Department may also seek evidence of the currency of employment/asset ownership generating the personal income, particularly if there are concerns with the age of the records, or information available to the Department to indicate there may have been a change in circumstances (for example significant economic downturn in a country, or specific intelligence about an applicant).

Additional scrutiny may also be appropriate if the amount of personal income demonstrated is equal to the amount required, suggesting that the funds have been generated specifically to meet visa requirements.

Genuine access – Money deposit

Money deposits held by the applicant, the applicant’s spouse/de facto partner or the applicant’s parents would generally satisfy the genuine access requirement.

Funds that are not committed to the applicant are less likely to be available to the applicant for the purpose of financially supporting the applicant in Australia. For example, if several family members and/or third parties are contributing to the applicant’s stay in Australia, the money is less likely to be available to the applicant in Australia than if the money is in the applicant’s own name (or the name of their spouse/de facto partner /parent, as relevant).

An example of a situation in which an applicant would reasonably be expected to have access to funds in Australia in circumstances where the money deposit is in another person’s name, is where the applicant will live with a relative in Australia and the relative will provide for all (or some) costs and expenses while in Australia. For example, the relative will provide for all living costs, but the student’s parents will fund, for example, course fees.

Consideration should be given to eight factors:

  • whether the account is held in the applicant’s name
  • the relationship of third parties to the applicant and the account holder (for example, are they a relative)
  • whether the money is a lump sum payment in an account (even if held by the applicant or their spouse/de facto partner /parent) or is there a savings history to accumulate the funds (this should include where third party ‘donations’ or ‘loans’ have come from
  • how long the money has been in the account
  • where the account is held (for example, held in Australia, or whether held in a country from which large money deposits cannot be transferred internationally)
  • if the money deposit is held outside Australia, whether there is evidence that the exchange control regulations of the country permit the remittance of funds for study and where necessary whether evidence of requisite approval is available
  • the applicant’s age
  • the family’s individual circumstances.

If a business account is presented as evidence of financial capacity, the Department must be satisfied that those funds will be for the use of the student while the student is in Australia.

(Note: If financial support is being provided by a business, it is the business (and not the individuals within the business) that provides the support. Unless the persons who have the authority to commit the business are identified and appropriate documentation is obtained, genuine access to the funds cannot be established.)

In these circumstances, the business should be able to transfer the funds that it wishes to commit towards the student into an account (current, savings or term deposit) in the name of the student or the person providing the financial support. The applicant may be asked to provide evidence that the source of funds was the business.

Where funds have been transferred into an acceptable financial institution but have come from another source, supporting documents should show that the student has genuine access to these funds. For example:

  • evidence of income or transfers from another institution/account, with further scrutiny where the record of transfer from the other institution or account is not generally reliable.
  • when the money in provident funds is deposited into an account with an acceptable financial institution and the applicant has unrestricted access, evidence of the provident fund terms, withdrawal and amendment to fund account.
  • similarly, funds transferred from an account at an institution that is the usual bank of the student or sponsor (such as a post office account) to a financial institution on the approved list can be supported by the account history. Where this shows that a wage has been credited into the account, this can be supported by evidence of employment.

Genuine access – Loans from financial institutions (including credit cards)

Loans should be in the name of the student or other individual providing financial support to the student.

The Department may wish to seek additional information to be satisfied that the loan is for the support of the student and is not a loan that has been committed to other purposes. As four examples, this may occur if:

  • the loan is for a considerable amount more than required
  • the loan was taken out a significant period before the visa application was made
  • the loan was provided as support for another student
  • the loan is made to (or applied for by) a business.

Loans in the name of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse/de facto partner or the applicant’s parents would generally meet the genuine access requirement unless there is evidence indicating that the funds from the loan may not genuinely be available to the student visa applicants.

If the loan is jointly held in another person’s name, consideration should be given to the relationship between the student visa applicant and the loan holders to establish whether the funds will genuinely be available to the applicant in Australia.

If a loan was obtained against collateral, consideration should be given to who the collateral for the loan is owned by and that individual’s relationship to the applicant.

Another consideration may the amount of time before the application that the loan was obtained. If the loan was drawn down many months before the application was lodged, the applicant should be able to demonstrate either that the funds are in an account (current or savings) in the name of the student or the individual providing financial support or have been used to pay expenses such as course fees and airfares.

To be satisfied the funds will be available to the applicant, decision makers may consider four factors:

  • whether the funds have been disbursed and if yes, in whose account the funds have been deposited
  • what the collateral for the loan was (property, money deposit) and who owns that asset
  • if the collateral was a money deposit, how the funds in the money deposit were accumulated and for how long the deposit has been held
  • evidence that the exchange control regulations of the country permit the remittance of funds for study and where necessary evidence that requisite approval.

Business loans do not meet the ‘genuine access’ requirement.

Evidence of disbursement is the best way to satisfy us that the student will have genuine access to these funds:

  • where the education loan relates to course fees that will be paid directly to the education provider, disbursement according to the agreement with the education provider, financial institution and student should be provided. For example, this may be for the first semester’s course fees. Information about the terms of the loan, including any conditions around disbursement, should also be attached to the application.
  • if the education loan includes living expenses, agents should consider showing that the first 12 months of these funds have been disbursed. Alternatively, they could consider showing that the student is relying on another source of funds to cover the first year of living costs.

In the case of applications made in Australia by student visa holders; if the evidence of funds relates to the proceeds of an overseas loan or money deposit held overseas, the applicant may be requested to arrange for the transfer of funds for the first 12 months into an account with a bank in Australia. Evidence of genuine access would be bank statements of the Australian account showing the deposit and a trail to show that the funds are proceeds from the overseas loan or deposit previously identified.

Genuine access – Government loans, scholarships or financial support

A student visa applicant would generally satisfy the genuine access requirements if the student is to be funded by one of the following six entities through a scholarship or other formal funding arrangement:

  • the student’s education provider in Australia
  • the Australian Commonwealth Government
  • the government of a State or Territory in Australia
  • the national government of a foreign country
  • a provincial or state government of a foreign country that has the written support of the national government of that foreign country
  • an international organisation that operates across several countries (for example an agency of the United Nations).

If there are concerns based on the circumstances of the entity providing the funds, the Department may request further information to verify funds will be available and genuinely accessible by the applicant. Four examples of situations in which further information may be required are:

  • there is publicly available information that an organisation has a limited life span
  • there is limited public information about the organisation
  • there are doubts that the organisation is actively and lawfully operating in Australia or overseas
  • there are doubts whether the organisation has funds or an income sufficient to provide the financial support.

Education provider scholarship

For the purposes of a student visa application, scholarships that meet the following four policy requirements generally meet the genuine access requirement:

  • awarded to the student by the student’s education provider or proposed education provider
  • awarded on the basis of merit and an open selection process
  • awarded to the student as a student who is enrolled in a course leading to the award of a Certificate IV or higher qualification
  • awarded to no more than 10% of overseas students in a course intake or no more than 3 overseas students in an intake (whichever is the greater).

A student visa applicant who claims financial support from their education provider or proposed education provider is expected to provide supporting documentation from the education provider. Documentation from the provider is expected to address each of the four factors above. Further evidence should be requested only if the Department have concerns that the scholarship does not comply with these factors.

Corporate sponsorship

Corporate sponsorship would satisfy the genuine access requirements if either:

  • the proposed course of study is consistent with their background and role within the corporation or
  • there is a demonstrated need within the corporation for the student to be trained or retrained

In either case the applicant should be an employee of the company.

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