Eligibility to Study

People seeking asylum have applied for residency in Australia and are waiting
for their request to be processed.

In the meantime, many live in the community with the right to work and study.

Asylum seekers are not refugees: in Australia, the term ‘refugee’ applies
to those who have been granted protection and residency, and have
access to Centrelink services and other mainstream support, as other residents do.

People seeking asylum are typically on a Bridging Visa A or E – a visa that creates a ‘bridge’ between the visa they arrived in the country with, and the one they are applying for. The duration of these visas can vary.

These visas may grant:
Full work and study rights
• Access to Medicare
• No access to public housing.

Note: this does not include people who live in Community Detention (in the community but without a visa and with no right to study, except EAL).

The best way to ensure a person seeking asylum has the right to work or study is to do a Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) check. VEVO is a free online service that gives visa holders and registered Australian organisations access to visa entitlement checks and status information 24 hours a day.

Your organisation can register online to request work entitlements and study entitlement checks. In order to request a VEVO, you will need the asylum seeker’s passport or immicard details, their full name, date of birth and country of origin. With these details in hand, you can obtain a VEVO in a matter of seconds.

People seeking asylum with study rights are technically able to study at university, in vocational education and in school. However, they are not eligible for PELS and if wanting to study at the tertiary level, come under the same fees and enrolment regimen as international students. This puts study out of reach for the vast majority of people seeking asylum.


Some people seeking asylum will have a visa in their passport, others a visa grant letter from the Department of Immigration.

Many asylum seekers are also issued with an ‘Immicard‘ – a small plastic card not unlike a driver’s license. An Immicard is not a visa, it is a piece of identification and has no bearing on someone’s work rights, study rights or visa duration.

As mentioned above, the best way to ensure someone has the required right to study is to request a VEVO check online from the Department of Immigration website.

Eligibility for ASVET Course Places:

The following criteria must be met for people seeking asylum to be eligible for to referral to a subsidised VET course:

•People seeking asylum must be on a Bridging Visa Class E (BVE)

•Refugees must have a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) OR a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV)

•People seeking asylum must have study rights

•People seeking asylum must have works rights for courses that require work placements.

All applicants must:

•Have an effective level of proficiency in English to participate in the chosen course

•Be able to pay the course concession fees, course materials, student amenity fees and transport costs

•Live in Victoria.

There are some additional limitations of eligibility for subsidised VET courses:

•the applicant must not have undertaken studies in Australia at a higher level than the intended course

•the applicant must not hold an overseas degree that is formally recognised in Australia

•the applicant can only complete a maximum of two courses – in a year, at a time or at the same level over a lifetime.