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Guardian departs Australia and leaves student minor in Australia

  • Carousel3Before departure make arrangements for the student minor.
  • Appropriately inform the school and the department of the arrangements prior to departure.

Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.

Romita came to Australia on a guardian visa to look after her son Surjit while he studied his high school qualifications.

All was going well until Romita’s husband Kirpal became ill and she needed to go home while her husband was in hospital for an operation. Romita thought she would need to be in India for six weeks while her husband recovered.

Romita did not know what to do—she did not want to take Surjit with her. He was studying in year 12 and she felt it was important for him to do well in his studies. Romita talked to Surjit’s school to ask for their advice.

Surjit’s school advised Romita she should find another welfare arrangement before she goes back to India—they could help find a homestay arrangement for Surjit. Romita said she had a daughter who was 26 working in Australia on a subclass 457 visa. The school said they would be happy with a close relative looking after Surjit as long as the department approved the arrangement before Romita left Australia.

Romita called the department to seek advice. The immigration officer handling her query pointed out it was a requirement of her visa that she does not travel without Surjit. The immigration officer advised her if she could submit evidence of the need to travel, it would be appropriate for her to arrange for her daughter, provided she was more than 21 years of age, to look after Surjit in her absence. She was also advised that form 157N must be submitted together with information for her expected date of return. She was advised that the department should be informed of any change in circumstances.

Romita submitted this information to the department and her daughter was approved as the temporary guardian of Surjit. The immigration officer advised Romita she should take the confirmation of the changed welfare arrangements with her when she travelled in and out of Australia.

Romita returned home and cared for Kirpal. Once he was able to look after himself, Romita returned to Australia and stayed until Surjit finished his schooling, which was just before his 18th birthday.

Read more about education providers approving care arrangements for students less than 18 years old. Form 157N also explains what is and who can become a guardian.


Comments (2)


Dear Officer,

Thank you for your reply in the previous topic "Personal problems affecting studies". I have written in this topic as the comments have been closed in the previous topic.

My question was "An international student comes to Australia for a two years masters course at a SVP university in July. He wants to change his study to similar course at bachelor level in February the following year at the same university. Will he have to apply for a new visa or can he continue with the original visa?"

You replied:

"If the student changes their course to a similar course at the same sector within the same university, the student can continue their studies on their current student visa.

However, the student should take note of their visa expiry date as their new course end date may be after the current visa expiry date."

In the the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website on the topic "Changing courses - Changing your level of qualification" it states "If you want to change your level of qualification, you will need to apply for a new student visa because your visa subclass will change."

In my case, changing from Masters of Health Service Management and Planning to Bachelor of Nursing, there is certainly change in level of qualification - from Masters to Bachelors. Will I have to apply for a new visa after changing my course form Master of Health Service Management and Planning to Bachelor of Nursing? But the visa subclass will be the same : Higher Education Sector visa subclass 573 [masters degree by coursework (Master of Health Service Management and Planning) and bachelor degree (Bachelor of Nursing)].

I have gone through examples and scenarios relating to this topic but found only changing from bachelor degree to diploma and none for changing from masters degree to bachelor degree.

Would you please clarify on this case?

Thank you.


A Bachelor degree and a Masters by coursework is generally both considered to be in the Higher Education 'Sector', therefore a new visa is not required.

Where as if you wish to change to or from a Masters by Research degree which is considered to be in the Postgraduate Research Sector, you will require a new visa.

More information on eligible qualifications for a TU573 visa is available on the department website. See link: http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/573.aspx