It’s extremely important to know what you’re getting yourself into if you are considering “voluntary Student visa cancellation”. It’s not as easy as cancelling your current student visa and jumping on to a Bridging visa or a temporary residence visa. There are implications.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 most important factors you should be aware of before you submit a voluntary request to the Department to cancel your student visa.
1. Before You Cancel Your Australian Student Visa
It is optional to request the Department to cancel your Student visa in Australia.
There are many reasons why some may want to voluntarily cancel their Student visa and some of the most common reasons are they wish to apply for another visa in Australia and do not wish to continue studying, or they want to stop studying due to the high cost.
If you are considering cancelling your student visa, you must:
- Be 18 years old or above
- If you are under 18 years old, the request to cancel your student visa must be completed by your parent, legal custody or a relative who is your guardian, and they must be over the age of 18.
IMPORTANT: If you are currently holding a Student visa and you had just completed your studies, please note that you do not have to cancel your student visa to be granted full work rights. You are considered to be out of session if you have successfully completed your principal course of study and are already eligible to work full time.
2. Common Misunderstanding About Cancelling Your Student Visa
Being an international student in Australia is extremely expensive as there are various factors to take into consideration, such as tuition fee, living cost and not to mention limited working hours. It’s not easy and we understand why many consider voluntary cancelling their student visa.
As we had mentioned, it’s optional to voluntary cancel your student visa but you need to be aware of the implications!
The common misunderstanding that people have is that once they lodge a new visa application while holding the student visa in Australia, they will be granted a Bridging visa A (BVA) and will then be able to remain in Australia on the BVA even if they voluntary cancel their student visa.
Yes, you will be granted a BVA because you had applied for a visa while holding a substantive visa (i.e. the student visa).
BUT you will not be able to remain on the BVA if you cancel your student visa. THIS IS WRONG!
You will not be able to remain on the BVA if you cancel your student visa because your BVA was granted on the basis of you lodging another visa application while you were holding the student visa (i.e. the substantive visa). Therefore, if your student visa is cancelled, your BVA will also be cancelled.
For example, you hold a Student visa which will expire in December 2019. You lodged your Partner visa on 1 July 2018 and was granted a Bridging visa A. You voluntarily request the Department to cancel your Student visa and it was successfully cancelled in January 2019. Your BVA will get cancelled when your Student visa is cancelled.
3. Consequences of Cancelling Your Student Visa
So, what is next?
Once your Bridging visa A is cancelled, you will no longer hold a visa in Australia and if you are in Australia without a visa, you are an unlawful citizen. Please note that if you have dependents on your Student visa, their visa will also be cancelled.
You will need to apply for a Bridging visa E (BVE) to legalize yourself (and your dependents) in Australia. The BVE will allow you to remain in Australia until a decision is made on your new visa application.
4. Your Rights on The Bridging Visa E (BVE)
The Bridging Visa E (BVE) does not come with flexibility and hence, many people view it as one of, if not the worst visa to be on in Australia.
The conditions that are granted with the BVE are extremely strict and they may include:
- No study (except for dependents who are under 18 years old)
- No work rights
- No travel rights
- You must report to the Department as directed
- You must advise the Department if you change address within 2 working days before you move.
Your BVE grant letter will tell you exactly what conditions are imposed. You can apply for some of these conditions to be waived by the Department.
For example, if your BVE is granted with a “No Work” condition, you can apply for this to be waived but you must provide evidence to prove why you should be granted the right to work. It may be that you are in a financial hardship and it is imperative for you to work to support yourself.
Please keep in mind that it is the Department’s discretion on whether to grant you this right.
Other factors to note about the Bridging visa E (BVE):
- You cannot travel while holding the BVE. If you leave Australia while holding a Bridging Visa E, your BVE will be cancelled and you will not be able to come back into Australia unless you have another substantive visa (e.g. a visitor visa).
- There is no application charge to apply for the BVE.
5. The Australian Student Visa Cancellation Process
Once you have submitted the request to cancel your student visa form and provided all necessary supporting evidence to voluntary cancel your Student visa, your request will generally be processed within 28 days and may take up to 90 days.
The second stage is receiving a “Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC)” letter (also known as a natural justice letter) from the Department. The Department will send you this once your request has been accepted.
You will have 5 work days after receiving the NOICC to respond to the Department if you change your mind and want to withdraw your student visa cancellation request.
If you continue to proceed with the request to voluntary cancel your student visa in Australia, the Department will notify you when your Student visa is successfully cancelled, and you will be asked to apply for a Bridging visa E to legalize yourself in Australia as a lawful citizen.