Bringing Your Family

Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants ( check your individual circumstances with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship See: Arranging Visas ). Family members include your spouse, and you and your spouse's dependent children. Before bringing your spouse or children to Australia, you will have to prove that you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. You may have to consider and discuss many issues with your family.


Issues to Consider

Rather than bringing your family together with you to Australia, some students may find it useful to arrive first, settle into studies, find appropriate accommodation, adjust to living in Australia and then arrange for their family to join them.

Before making a decision to bring your family to Australia it is important to consider the following issues:


  • The cost of airfares for your family to and from Australia;
  • Possible higher rent for a larger home;
  • Limited employment opportunities for your spouse;
  • Extra costs for food, clothing and other necessities;
  • The effect on you and your studies if your family is not happy in Australia;
  • Whether your children will adjust to school in Australia;
  • Waiting lists for child care centres;
  • Whether to come alone to Australia first and arrange things for your family, or to all come at the same time.


For more information visit:


Child Care

Finding suitable childcare in Australia requires patience and planning. Waiting lists for places in most childcare centres are long.


Many schools offer before- and after-school care programs (usually 7:30am-8:45am and 3:30pm-6:00pm). Children who need these programs must be registered with the school.



If you would like to bring your children to Australia with you, you must be aware of the following schooling issues:


1. It is an immigration policy that school-age dependants of international students undertake formal schooling while they are in Australia.

2. Children who have their fifth birthday before 1st April of that calendar year are eligible to start school.

3. You will need to provisionally enrol your child in a school before you leave your home country and you will normally have to pay the school fees one semester in advance. The school will issue an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment Form (eCoE) stating the program and its duration, so that you can obtain the appropriate visa for your child.

4. The Diplomatic Mission in your country can tell you which State schools are registered to take international students. Fees are payable by international students at all State schools unless you:

5. Are in receipt of sponsorship or scholarships from the Australian Government (e.g. the Australian Development Scholarship, IPRS);

6. Hold a higher institution or approved non-government scholarship. These scholarships must be approved by the State government for the dependants to be exempt from school fees.

7. You will be responsible for school fees and other costs including school uniforms, books, excursions and stationery.

8. When choosing the most appropriate school for your child, it is best to ask questions about the school's curriculum, size, extra-curricular activities and the size of individual classes.

9. You should also take into consideration the distance from the school to your education institution, the suburb in which you intend to live and the method of transport you plan to use.


For further information, please contact


There are two types of schools in Australia:

  • State schools
  • Independent schools.


State Schools

For information on Government (Public) Schools refer to:

  • Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS)
  • Department of Education, Training & Employment
  • Department of Education, Training & Employment web site for international students


Independent Schools

For information on Independent (Private) Schools refer to:


Remember to collect a copy of the International Students Family Booklet from the International Student Centre (ISC) once you have arrived in Adelaide. Alternatively, you can download the booklet from the Family section of this web site.


Choosing a School

In choosing a school you will need to consider many factors, including:

  • The education program and facilities on offer
  • Distance from your home or campus
  • Public transport access
  • English language support (particularly if your child speaks little or no English)
  • Availability of before and after-hours school care and vacation care


What if my child does not speak English?

A number of public schools offer the New Arrivals Program (NAP) for children who were born overseas and speak little or no English. This program focuses on intensive English language development, covers all areas of required study and involves students in integration visits with mainstream classes and school activities. Students remain in the program for approximately one year. They can then stay at the school and continue in the mainstream program OR they can then go to their local school.


Fees and Charges for Government (Public) Schools

International students are charged tuition fees for their children's education. The annual tuition fee for 2015 is

  • AUD $4,160 per year ($1,040 per school term) for primary school children (from reception to year 7)
  • AUD $5,160 ($1,290 per school term) per year for secondary school children (from year 8 to year 12)


You will also be required to pay the school materials and services fee each year. This is a fee paid by all parents - local and international. It helps the school buy exercise books, pens and other personal resources for students. This annual fee is set by the school and ranges from $110 at primary school level up to $920 at secondary school level per child per year.


Out of Hours School Care

This is care provided for school age children before school starts (usually from 7.30am-8.30am) and after school finishes (3.30pm-6.00pm). It is usually only offered for primary school aged children but you may be able to negotiate for your child to attend if they are in the early years of secondary school. Many Out of Hours School Care programs also provide Vacation Care during the school holidays.


You may find schools providing both Out of Hours School Care and Vacation Care listed in the White Pages telephone directory or ask the school to which you are interested in sending your child. Costs vary slightly, however you can expect to pay approximately AUD $10-20 per day for after school care, AUD $5-10 per day for before school care, and AUD $20-50 per day for vacation care. Check charges directly with the care provider.


Ethnic Schools

'Ethnic schools' run outside normal school hours. They teach language and culture, and are managed and supported by ethnic communities. They are open to all students regardless of their ethnic background. For a list of Ethnic Schools in SA, click here.

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