Advice for families - International Students

At Charles Sturt we recognise that family members may need assistance with settling into life in Australia.

Our International Student Officers can provide information on a range of community services and facilities such as: child care, play groups, schools, health services, community groups and English classes.

Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependents.

If you plan to bring your family to Australia, even if they are not going to travel with you initially, we recommend you commence their visa application process before you leave home. The granting of visas to your dependants can take from one to four months after application, or longer in some countries.

You will have to prove you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. Please consider and discuss these issues with your family.

Some things to consider

  • The additional cost of Overseas Student Health Cover for your family (you can get a quotation for OSHC for your family)
  • The cost of airfares for your family to and from Australia
  • Charles Sturt offers only limited on campus accommodation for couples on the Orange and Wagga Wagga campuses
  • Possible higher rent for a larger home
  • Limited employment opportunities for your spouse
  • Extra costs for food, clothing and other necessities
  • Waiting lists for childcare centres
  • Whether your children will adjust to school in Australia
  • Whether to come to Australia first and arrange things for your family or to all come at the same time.

If you are on a student visa and enrolled in a doctoral or masters-level program, your dependants can work full-time. If you are in an undergraduate program, graduate certificate or graduate diploma, from Saturday 1 July 2023 they can work 48 hours in a two-week period. Please note, your family members will be allowed to work as soon as you have started your course.

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) asks you to show that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members you bring with you while you are studying.  In addition to course fees and travel costs, DHA asks that you to show that you have $ 20,209AUD a year for your living expenses. If you are coming with family members, you must show an extra $7,100 a year for a spouse, and $3,040 for each child. DHA also advises you that you need an extra $8000 a year for children between five and 18 to cover schooling expenses.

Read more about Student visa financial capacity requirements

Schooling for children

If you have dependant school age children living with you in Australia they must& attend school. School is compulsory from the age of 5 to 17 years. Children may attend preschool from the age of 4 years, however attendance is optional. Compulsory schooling in Australia begins from the age of 5 years in primary school. Children attend primary school for 7 years followed by 6 years of secondary schooling.

There are three choices of schooling in Australia:

  • State Public Schools (NSW Department of Education & Training)
  • Independent Schools
  • Catholic Schools

To enrol your children in a NSW government school you need to find a school, complete forms and arrange a VISA if necessary.

Most dependants of international students are required to pay the Temporary Residents Program Education Fees.

If you are in receipt of an Australia Awards scholarship or are a post-graduate doctorate student in a NSW institution, you may be eligible exempt from paying your child's tuition fees.

More Information

Childcare Services

If your child is below school age and/or you need childcare for hours outside of school hours or during school holidays, there are some childcare options on and off campus. Child care services are provided on a fee basis. Those wanting to use the services should contact the centres for more information and to see if there are places available.

If you require childcare, you should contact your nearest centres direct for more information and to see if there are places available. Your International Student Liaison Officer will be able to assist if you’re unsure where to begin.

You must provide immunisation records for your children before they attend school or childcare in Australia. You must also bring official translations of birth and marriage certificates.

Albury Campus

On-campus childcare is available at the Murray Children's Care Centre.

Wagga Wagga Campus

On-campus childcare is available at the Charles Sturt University's Children's Centre - Riverina. See their website for more information.

Off Campus Child Care Services

The following services provide free information on child care services available in regional NSW.

Gowrie Child Care and Family Information Line: 1800 803 820

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Current information on child care services available in your locality, including location, contact details, fees, hours, and the nature of care provided.

More information

Early Childhood Intervention Infoline

1300 656 865
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Information about local services for parents who have a concern about a child's development.

CareforKids is an Australia wide, online directory which allows you to search for, compare and contact a range of child care services in your local area, including child care centres, family day care, before and after school care, preschools, baby sitters and more.

Nursing children

In Australia, women are permitted to breastfeed in public. There are also nursing rooms available on campus and in public places, such as shopping centres.