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The Australian subclass 500 student visa seems to be mainly aimed at high school students and beyond, but does include anyone from age 6. I can find little information about it in combination with a regular public elementary school, though it's also not explicitly excluded.

Is it possible for a child to enter Australia on a subclass 500 visa for the purpose of attending a regular public elementary school for two terms? I've contacted a school, and they said they'd be happy to enrol us, but can only do so after we've already arrived, which is a bit of a chicken and egg problem, as a proof of enrolment is a requirement to apply for the visa.

Let's say the child travels alone and stays with relatives, so I'm interested in the child obtaining a visa "on their own merits," not as a dependent.

If not a public school, can a child enrol in a language school and obtain a subclass 500 visa this way?

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  • What visas do the child's parents/carers hold?
    – jcm
    Commented Dec 18, 2022 at 4:01
  • Let’s say there are none, and the child is traveling alone (and would be staying at relatives).
    – deceze
    Commented Dec 18, 2022 at 6:20
  • Thanks, please edit that into the question.
    – jcm
    Commented Dec 18, 2022 at 7:57

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It looks to me the rules are state/territory-dependent. The page for NSW, for example, states that

Primary school education in NSW takes 7 years. It begins in kindergarten when children are 5 years old and ends in Year 6 when they're 12. The international student program is offered at selected schools in the Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong areas.

You can apply for up to 2 years of study as an international student in a NSW primary school.

(emphasis mine) but also that

children aged from 5 to 10 must live with a parent during their time in Australia

Since you mentioned that the child would be living with relatives that seems to disqualify the child for NSW at least.

I am not sure how the subclass 500 rules interact with this as this page may have been written with children of Temporary Visa holders in mind rather than children as primary visa holders themselves.

I suggest to contact the relevant state or territory authority for guidance.

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  • Thank you, I wasn't aware of the local differences. I'll look more into that.
    – deceze
    Commented Dec 18, 2022 at 8:34

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