Below are the questions most frequently asked by asylum seekers who are studying
or want to study.
You can find more detailed information about studying in Victoria at the Victorian
Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website.
If you are on a Bridging Visa with study rights, you are allowed to study at university. However asylum seekers have to pay international student fees and do not have access to university scholarships, so this can be very expensive: several thousands of dollars, depending on the course you are interested in.
Generally, no. Most courses take between three months and a year to complete. Some Certificates 2 or 3 may be shorter, and can be completed in 4 to 5 weeks.
Learning is not a quick exercise. Especially if you are new to Australia, you need to also learn about local rules and regulations and the culture of the workplace. If English is not your first language you will need more time to absorb information.
There is a reason why a course takes a long time, and it is not possible to learn in one week what can take three months elsewhere.
Employers consider very short courses a waste of time. They much prefer that you have studied for several months and have done a work placement, because it means you will be more knowledgeable and more ready to start work.
It is always better to do a course that offers a work placement. You will get workplace experience, feedback from the employer about your strengths and areas you need to improve, and you may be able to get a job where you did your placement. Employers prefer courses that offer a work placement as it shows them you have experience in an Australian workplace.
So before you enroll, ask if this is part of the course.
It can be useful to tell your teacher or your course coordinator. They will be in a better position to help you if you are experiencing difficulties. For instance, if you have a hearing coming up with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) or the Refugee Review Tribunal, you may find it hard to concentrate in class. It will be difficult for your teacher to understand this and to provide support if they do not know your circumstances.
If you are now a Permanent Resident, Centrelink will grant you a Health Care Card that gives you access to courses at concession rates. You need to let your course provider know of your change of visa.
The ‘upskilling rule’ still applies whether you are a Permanent Resident or an asylum seeker: you can only access a course at concession rate if you have not studied at this level before. ‘Upskilling’ means undertaking a course at a higher level than your existing qualification.
Find more information about eligibility to study in Victoria at the Victorian Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website.
In Victoria, you are allowed to do two government-subsidised courses per calendar year (January to December).
Also, if you are already doing two or more other government-subsidised courses at one time (even if they started last year), you are not allowed to start another one (this means that you can do no more than two government-subsidised courses at one time).
Find more information about studying in Victoria at the Victorian Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website.