Changing Course Can Mean Your Visa's Cancellation | EMSA Australia

Changing course can mean your visa gets cancelled! Scenarios to help explain this for new students


Immigration introduced streamlined visa processing to help students simplify the process for students gaining visas to study at University in Australia. This makes it easier go gain a visa to study in Australia and education providers must make sure that students are genuine students wanting to enrol in their chosen program.  Simpler processing is GREAT but it also means that students must study at least the first six months of the highest course their visa was granted for before changing (unless they can get a letter of release).

This can be confusing so here are some examples to help you understand it better.

Example 1

If a student has enrolled in the following:

  1. English (20 weeks)
  2. Diploma (1 year)
  3. Bachelor (2 years)

In this situation, the student must study all the English, the whole Diploma course and the first 6 months of the bachelor degree before they can change providers.

If you try to leave before this, there is a high probability that the student section of immigration will cancelled and if this happens, you will face a 3 year exclusion period from Australia!

Example 2

If a student has enrolled in the following:

  1. English (20 weeks)
  2. Masters (2 years)

In this situation, the student must study all the English followed by the first six months of the Masters before they change providers.

In both of the above cases, if the student gets a letter of release or finishes the first 6 months of the main course, then they can change providers.

Some agents have been telling students that if the CoE from the University is cancelled, they can change providers. This is very risky as all new colleges will still have a warning in immigration’s system (PRISMS) that tells them that they must see a letter of release before issuing a new CoE. Without the letter of release, the new provider should not provide a CoE and even if they do, the students are still at risk of having their visa cancelled.

Also, if a student changes to a non-streamlined visa processing (SVP) provider, then the student must change their visa. If they change their visa, there is a risk that immigration may find them non-genuine students as the already came to Australia to study the original program.

At EMSA, we are happy to help you find the best pathway from the start and get to where you want to go while ensuring you stay on the right side of immigration!

Happy studies!

  • Avatar Aris says:

    owing to some family issue I have just withdrawn from a course commenced from March, and received cancellation of coe. wondering can i now apply another course later this year? is my student visa still valid? as it’s granted till OCT 2020.

    • Siobhan Chisolm Siobhan Chisolm says:

      Hi Aris
      The student visa is only valid if the associated COE is active. Please contact us for further advice and instructions on what you need to do.