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Home > Census instructions > Overseas students

Overseas students


An overseas student holds, or is included in, a visa that permits the visa holder to travel to Australia for the purpose of undertaking a course provided by an educational establishment.

This means a student is reported as an overseas student if they are on a visa that is specifically related to studying in Australia (or a bridging visa attached to a substantive visa with those provisions).
For the purposes of the Census, an overseas student includes:

As of 1 July 2016, the Student visa subclass is 500.

Note: The visa subclasses 570 to 576, issued before 1 July 2016, will remain valid until the expiry date given when the visa was granted.

Schools with overseas students who are the primary holders of a subclass 500 visa, or a 571 visa subclass issued before 1 July 2016, are required to be registered as a provider of courses for overseas students on CRICOS.

Students are required to be recorded on the Commonwealth's Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS). Schools do this by the issuing of a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) at the time when an offer of enrolment is made. The student will submit the CoE to the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs to apply for their Student visa.

Information on conditions of any visa subclass can be found at

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Exchange students

Exchange students are school-aged students participating in a secondary student exchange program with an exchange organisation that is registered by the Department. Schools can differentiate exchange students from full-fee paying overseas students through their enrolment under an Acceptance Advice for Secondary Exchange Students (AASES). Secondary student exchange programs do not involve payment of tuition fees, and are not more than 12 months in duration. The programs are part of a reciprocal arrangement that allows an overseas student to attend a Queensland secondary school on a full-time basis and a Queensland student to attend an overseas secondary school on a full-time basis.

Note: Exchange students, like full-fee paying overseas students, will have a subclass 500 Student visa.

Exchange students are to be included as regular full-time students if they meet all other Census criteria and if, immediately prior to the exchange, they were active in a classroom primary, secondary or special education program at a school, which contributes to a Year 12 (or equivalent) certificate in their own country.

Recurrent grants cannot be paid in respect of a person who has completed their formal schooling in their own country.

Students on a short-term cultural visit (for example, students in Australia on a Tourist or Visitor's visa for less than three months on a study tour, or in Australia for intensive English classes) should be included in the Students on visitor visas, bridging visas with study limitations or no visa section of the Census form.

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Students to be excluded

Overseas students should only be included in the Overseas students section of the Census form, and should be excluded from all other sections.

The following students on visas are not classed as overseas students and should be included as regular full-time or part-time students in the other sections of the Census form:

For the purposes of the Census, overseas students do not include students enrolled at a school under a visa category other than a 500 or repealed 570 to 576 student visa.

Please also refer to Students on visitor visas, bridging visas with study limitations or no visa in these Instructions for further information on students who should only be included in that section of the Census form.

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Last updated 24 January, 2022

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