Paying school fees in Australia – Holders of subclass 489 visas

The question of paying school fees if children are attending a Government school in Australia is one that seems to be misunderstood by many intending migrants – and by some advisors.

In this blog we provide feedback from the various State and Territory Education Departments.

Having heard and read commentary on the question of subclass 489 visa holding parents paying school fees if their dependent children attend a Government school in Australia we thought we should make enquiry, in an effort to get to the bottom of the urban myth.

We think the confusion has arisen because certain types of temporary residency visas – most notably employer sponsored subclass 457 visas – do require the payment of school fees if children of the main visa applicant attend such a school.

The subclass 489 (Skilled Regional Sponsored) visa is a temporary residency visa – but it is a provisional visa, in that it is considered to be a precursor to a permanent residency visa, most commonly under subclass 887.

In this regard the 489 visa is closer to the provisional business skills visas – and as such school fees are usually not payable.

Here are the replies we received from the various State and Territory Governments.

Western Australia
As per the Department of Education Enrolment policy, the parents of dependent children holding subclass 489 Skilled Regional Sponsored visa have local enrolment entitlement and pay no tuition fees.

These students have the same enrolment entitlements as local students and are eligible for Student-centred Funding.

Visa 489 dependents are classified as fee exempt and pay the fees set by the individual government school (not fees to the DET International Education Division).

Enrolment is made directly to the school.

As you and your family are travelling to Australia on 489 visas, your dependent is eligible to enrol at a Queensland Government school as per the domestic enrolment process. Therefore, I recommend you contact a school that based on your place of residence in Queensland, as a number of Queensland Government schools have strict catchment area policies. This means that families must live within a certain radius of the school to be eligible for enrolment.

You are not required to pay the normal international student tuition fees that are processed through the central office of Education Queensland International.

The school you decide to enrol at will discuss any fees associated with the enrolment with you directly.

New South Wales
A holder of a 489 visa is not required to pay the administration or education fees.

They are required to have an Authority to enrol issued to the school before they are able to start school.

Northern Territory
Dependants of 489 visa holders do not incur International tuition fees at Northern Territory Government schools.

Go Matilda Visas has not yet received replies from the Governments of South Australia and Tasmania, but anticipate the situation there mirrors that described above.