It’s been a long time since I wrote my post Cost of Living in Australia: School Fees, over three years to be a little more precise. In that article I said…
“First, let me make it clear that these are the fees that apply to Australian citizens and permanent residents. If you are here on a temporary visa then different fees may apply or you might get a grant.”
That information is still correct today, but when I wrote it originally I was reluctant to go into more detail because these are the kind of things that change very quickly and then, all of a sudden, I’m giving out incorrect information.
In reality though, I don’t think the information has changed very much at all since then, so I think the time has come for me to name states and territories, because this information is VERY important for anybody coming here on a temporary visa with children of school age.
Being aware of the following information is essential for parents as these sometimes unexpected school fees can throw the family budget right out of the window.
Let’s hand over to the teacher…
The fees I am about to mention are applicable to those here as Temporary Residents (TR), the most common visa for which is the Employer Sponsored Subclass 457 Visa. These fees are nothing to do with Private or Catholic schools; they are applicable to state run government schools.
For clarification: this article deals most specifically with the 457 Temporary Residents visa, but almost certainly applies to certain other types of TR visas. There are though certain temporary visas available for Australia for which school fees will always apply, most notably the Student visa (subclass 500) and, no doubt, some other temporary visas as well.
If you have any doubts about the school fees that might be applicable for the kind of visa you are applying for, please consult with a MARA registered migration agent.
These schools are free for permanent residents and Australian citizens, but in some states holders of certain temporary visa classes are required to pay tuition fees.
But which states?
This is the current situation as at the time of writing:
States that will not charge…
- South Australia – see update below
- Western Australia – see update below
States that will charge a fee…
- New South Wales
- Australian Capital Territory
- Northern Territory
And it’s not quite that straightforward either.
For some of those states and territories that do charge a fee, 457 visa (and some other classes of temporary visa) holders can often be exempt. At the moment, those in Northern Territory or Tasmania on a 457 TR are likely to have these tuition fees waived.
That leaves just two…
- New South Wales
- Australian Capital Territory
The bottom line is, if you’re moving to Australia on a 457 or other temporary residency visa, you have children of school age and you are moving to NSW or ACT, expect to pay for your children’s state school education.
There’s a hole in my budget
Imagine arriving in New South Wales, starting your new sponsored job whilst putting the final touches on your three kids going to the local state school. Let’s say your children are 5, 7 and 13.
The weather is great, you love your new job and the kids can’t wait to get started in their new school. Life is perfect!
Then you get a bill from the school for $14,500.
In Australian Capital Territory, that same scenario could lead to a bill in excess of $30,000.
Oh, and you’ll get that bill every year.
Yes, you definitely need to know what kind of school fees you might be in for.
My advice is search the Internet through the ‘knower of all things’, Google. Use one of the following phrases, depending which state or territory you are moving to. Hey, you can copy and paste if you want!
- State school fees for temporary visa holders in New South Wales
- State school fees for temporary visa holders in Australian Capital Territory
- State school fees for temporary visa holders in Northern Territory
- State school fees for temporary visa holders in Tasmania
And just to be sure, I’d even do the same searches for Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia if you are considering going to any of those states because, who knows, the rules might change there as well.
You will need to know which visa class and visas subclass you will be entering Australia with and then cross-reference that with the state or territory you will be living in. That way you can find out exactly how these potential state school tuition fees might affect YOU!
Ah, there goes the bell; that’s the end of today’s lesson. Except for just one more thing.
United Nations Children’s Fund
According to a UNICEF fact sheet regarding the Rights of the Child, Article 28 states “All children have the right to a primary education, which should be free.”
Seems to me the states and territories who do charge for children’s education in government run schools are out of line with Australia’s “fair dinkum” attitude.
Update: 2015 for Western Australia
My thanks to Laura who made a comment below, apparently Western Australia have now introduced fees for some temporary visa holders. Looks like it’s (currently) going to cost $4000 per family regardless of the number of children. Cheaper, I think, then the other states who are making a charge, but it is still an additional expense to consider. For more information, visit:
Update: 2017 for South Australia
It would appear that South Australia, as of January 2017, have introduced school fees for those here on temporary 457 visas. Please click on School fees for 457 visa holders to open up a PDF with the full details.