Moving to Australia as an under-18 student? To ensure your welfare and safety, the Australian Government requires special accommodation arrangements for anyone who hasn’t turned 18 and is planning to study in Australia.
To help you navigate the requirements and the various accommodation options available to you, we’ve put together a handy guide covering everything you need to know.
What do I need to know?
In Australia, individuals legally become an adult at the age of 18. This means that if you choose to begin your tertiary studies under the age of 18, you are legally considered a minor and the government requires special accommodation arrangements to be made to guarantee your safety and welfare. But, don’t let this scare you off studying in Australia! It is a wonderful experience and is very easy to organise.
There are three ways you can be granted a student visa under the age of 18:
- Nominate a guardian to come along with you. Your chosen guardian must be over the age of 21 and stay with you for the duration of your time in Australia, or until you turn 18. Your guardian will also need to apply for a visa to allow them to stay in Australia.
- Stay with a relative in Australia who is over the age of 21 for the duration of your time in Australia, or until you turn 18. Your relative will need to provide evidence of their relation to you, a police check and confirmation that they are legally entitled to be in the country for the entire time you will be in Australia.
- Have your educational institution organise government-approved accommodation for the duration of your time in Australia, or until you turn 18. Your educational institution will have a list of Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)-approved accommodation options and can organise suitable accommodation for you, along with sending a Confirmation of Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) to the Australian Department of Home Affairs so they are aware of your accommodation plans when you apply for your student visa.
It is very important to note that, no matter which option you take, you must remain in your chosen accommodation type or guardianship until you are 18 years old. If you would like to make changes to your circumstances, you must seek approval from your education provider who will take the necessary steps to ensure you are meeting the DIBP requirements. Failure to do so could result in your visa being revoked.
Once you turn 18, you are welcome to stay in your government-approved accommodation or guardianship, or you can move into alternative accommodation such as a private rental, share house or managed student accommodation.
You can find further information on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
OK, I have chosen to stay in DIBP-approved accommodation. What do I do now?
Great choice! There are multiple options for under-18 international students that have been government-approved and give you the opportunity to meet other domestic and international students and experience local life.
Your education provider will place you in appropriate accommodation from their list of local DIBP-approved options, including:
Managed student accommodation
This is a wonderful option – especially if you’re looking to make friends. These buildings are generally purpose-built, which means they are well-located within the city or town you’re studying in and have many different room options. These range from solo studio apartments to multiple-storey six-bedroom duplexes, to appeal to various budgets and social preferences.
But the real drawcard of managed student accommodation is the student support on offer. Many initiatives are designed to help students assimilate into their new country and lifestyle, which can be very overwhelming for many people! Companies like The Student Housing Company have their students’ best interests at heart, implementing internal and external security measures, ensuring students of the same gender share rooms, offering on-site cooking and life-skill classes, organising social events to help you build a community of friends, and even offering employment opportunities to students.
On-campus accommodation is available at many education providers and gives you an instant community of other international students who also live on-residence. Similar to managed student accommodation, there are generally multiple room configurations available to cater to different budgets. Plus, you’ll likely be living very close to campus (and have no excuse to be late to class!). This option allows you to make the most of on-campus activities and social events, with many education providers offering a range of on-site activities and short holidays to local attractions to ensure you get to know your new surroundings.
Homestay is a kind of cultural exchange, where you are placed in a suitable family’s home for the duration of your time in Australia. Your host family is usually responsible for providing meals, and may even provide activities and even domestic trips to acquaint you with more of the country. The family home you are placed in is determined by a few factors, including the location of your educational institution, the gender you identify as, and perhaps languages spoken within the home. This option provides a unique opportunity to really experience Australian life!
Do you have any other advice?
Yes, we do! Now that you’ve got your accommodation organised, there are other elements like employment, banking, health and what to do for fun to consider. Here’s our Ultimate Guide For Under-18 Students in Australia.