The International Student Support Team is here to support you in all aspects of your student experience as you navigate your journey of living and studying in Australia.
Visa Changes to Support International Students
The Department of Home Affairs is implementing a range of visa changes to support International students as announced by Minister Tudge on 20 July. Providers are encouraged to pass on this information to international students.
The department is pleased to advise that the ability to apply for nil-fee student visa will be available from midnight 5 August 2020.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will waive the visa application fee to allow you to lodge a further student visa application to complete your study. This will be available to students who held a student visa on or after 1st February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19. This includes students who:
- deferred their study as they were unable to enter Australia due to travel restrictions
- were forced to reduce to a part-time study load
- were unable to complete their work-based training or placements.
This measure is not intended for students who are applying for a new student visa due to ordinary reasons (including if you have failed a course or a unit of study, deferred for personal reasons or voluntarily reduced your study load.)
To apply for an approval from CDU – please submit an application online:
Apply online: Application for Form 1545 and attach the complete Form1545 along with the supporting documents (if applicable)
Please be aware that the Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Students can only be granted to you by CDU Compliance Coordinator – CDU Global if you have met the criteria set by the Department of Home Affairs.
Failure to provide a completed form 1545 will result in the application being invalid.
Can students apply for a nil-VAC student visa from overseas?
Students can be in or outside Australia when they apply.
Can students who have already applied for a Student visa apply for a refund?
Refunds will not be available for Students who have already applied for a Student visa. Only new applications will be eligible for a visa fee-waiver.
More details on the visa changes can be found on the Department’s website: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/student-visa
International Student Support Team
Visit Student Central if you are on Casuarina campus to speak to a support officer.
International Student Support Project Officer:
Student Support & Enquiries Officer:
Book an appointment
For more complex enquiries, you may choose to make an appointment to speak to the Team Leader International Student Support.
|Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2.00pm and 4.00pm*||Book|
*All times are subject to change
Visit CDU Current Students for access to other relevant information such as MyStudentInfo, Important Dates and course information.
Personal, study and workplace support
Academic Language and Learning Success Program
The Academic Language and Learning Success Program (ALLSP) is a free service that assists all students with academic skills development tailored to the specific unit you are seeking help in. The ALLSP team offers free workshops focused on developing academic skills needed to succeed in university studies at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.
In addition to workshops, the ALLSP offers individual consultations during normal business hours. They also offer an after-hours and weekend service to students that cannot attend during normal business hours. Find out more about the services offered by ALLSP.
Building Blue 1, Casuarina campus
T: 08 8946 7459, 1800 157 900 (after-hours freecall)
The Library staff can assist you with developing your research strategies, finding information using Library Search and online databases, and referencing your sources. Interlibrary loans and distance library services are also available.
Building Red 8, Casuarina campus
T: 08 8946 7016
Support in the workplace
When you are studying in Australia, you may find a casual or part-time job to help support yourself or make new friends.
At the time of your employment, it is very important that you make yourself aware of your rights in the workplace, the correct wages for your area and age, and penalty and weekend rates. It is the law in Australia to treat employees fairly and equally, and to pay employees according to the wages set by the industry.
As an international student, despite your restricted working hours, you have the same rights to a fair and safe workplace as any other person. You should also receive the same level of pay as any other employee in this position.
If you do not feel that you are being treated fairly, you do have options:
- Discuss your concerns with your employer if you feel comfortable. Ask for copies of your pay slips, and ask to see the outline of their pay grades for employees, to ensure you are being paid correctly for your age and position.
- Enquire with your employer about penalty rates if you work weekends or public holidays. Also, enquire about uniform entitlements or any other additional. payments you should be receiving. Search online for industry relevant information on salary information, i.e. the Northern Territory hospitality industry pay standard.
- If you feel that you are being exploited or treated unfairly, you can contact Fair Work Australia or your local Ombudsman. Search for your local office, and speak to their team. Gather evidence, such as payslips and any evidence of communication with your employer, to discuss with your Ombudsman. You should not be afraid of speaking with the Ombudsman, as there is no issue with checking on your work rights.
Commonly, students may fear speaking to these agencies due to being on a student visa, or because they may be paid in cash or have worked overtime. It is important that you remain within your legal working hours, and work legally. If you are being exploited, however, you should always go to the Ombudsman to discuss your case.
The Fair Work Ombudsman released on 25 September 2017 their International Student Engagement Strategy, seeking to increase compliance in Australian workplaces employing international students.
Consequently, the Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James has penned an open letter to international students, urging them to be aware of their workplace rights and to seek free help from the FWO if they experience issues while working in Australia. For more information about the FWO’s current initiatives, tools and resources about Australia’s workplace laws, visit Fair Work Ombudsman – Open letter to international students.
Cyclone information (relevant for students in Northern Territory)
Safety should be your first priority. If at any point you think your safety is in danger, please dial 000 and ask for emergency assistance.
Darwin’s tropical wet season (1 November – 30 April) sometimes brings tropical cyclones. Also known as a hurricane, a cyclone is characterised by high winds, thunderstorms, rough seas and heavy rain, all of which can cause damage to property and people. Cyclones develop over large bodies of water (usually over the ocean) and can affect areas within about 50km of the coast. Commons effects of a cyclone are flooding, property damage due to high winds, fallen trees and power outages.
The new construction standards and building codes post-Cyclone Tracy, as well as annual public awareness campaigns, ensure Darwin is a safe place to live. Also, community cyclone shelters are available if required and brochures and pamphlets with step-by-step advice are readily available and actively promoted. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology provides cyclone information and weather updates and further information about preparing for a cyclone can be found via the Northern Territory Emergency Services. For more information visit CDU Emergency Advice.
You can get legal advice from a range of organisations and individuals in the Northern Territory (NT). Some are free and others charge a fee for their services. However, please note that most do not offer advice on immigration matters.
Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission provides legal help for people who can’t afford a private lawyer. The initial advice session is free; however, you will be assessed before you are granted ongoing legal advice, and you will need to pay a small fee.
Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) offers a range of free legal and advocacy services. Free legal advice sessions are held three times a week at different locations around Darwin. You can talk confidentially about your legal problem with a lawyer who can give you advice and suggest action.
Top End Women’s Legal Services (TEWLS) provides free and confidential legal advice, legal education and support to women in Darwin and surrounding areas. You can get legal advice in most areas of civil law, with the exception of immigration and commercial matters.
Redfern Legal Centre provides advice to international students about housing problems, fines, debts, car accidents, employment, discrimination, family law, domestic violence, and complaints about colleges or universities.
Women’s Legal Services NSW (WLS NSW) is a community legal centre providing women across NSW with a range of free legal services.
Overseas Students Ombudsman
The Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) investigates complaints about problems that overseas students have with private education and training institutions in Australia. The Ombudsman’s services are free, independent and impartial. You can find out more about this service on the Ombudsman websites for your state or territory:
- Northern Territory Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.nt.gov.au/
- New South Wales Ombudsman - www.ombo.nsw.gov.au
Australia has a strong consumer protection framework to protect the rights of Australian consumers, including international students in Australia. When you are shopping or buying any kind of service in Australia, you have legal rights and protection. There are laws on fair-trading and consumer law guiding businesses and protecting consumers. For information about consumer laws and enforcement where you are living and studying, please visit the websites below.
Australia has a number of associations representing and assisting students from Australian educational institutions. National associations include:
- Council of International Students Australia (CISA) - national peak student representative body for international students studying at the postgraduate, undergraduate, private college, TAFE, ELICOS or foundation level.
- Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) - assisting international students in maximizing the scope and potential of their experience living and studying in Australia.
If you have received an outcome of any Charles Darwin University decision — whether it be a grade, an outcome of a reduced study load, or another issue — and you are not satisfied that the situation is resolved, you have several options regarding what to do next. These include:
- Speaking to the concerned staff member calmly to ask for reconsideration of your case, and providing evidence to support you where applicable. You are welcome to contact lecturers to discuss the outcome of assignment grades or administration staff regarding the outcome of administrative decisions. However, you must respect the staff members’ decision not to re-open your case, or to stick with their original outcome.
- The Complaints Management Unit is the next step in the appeal process if you have approached the staff member or team who issued the decision and have not received a positive outcome. You can contact the Complaints Management Unit to seek an appeal of grade or to appeal an official CDU decision. Find out more information about the Complaints Management Unit.
- The Student Advocacy Officer offers independent assistance by representing the student in areas that impact on the quality of their experience while studying at Charles Darwin University. Students are encouraged to use this service when issues arise, and they are unsure of what avenues to take.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your studies, stressed from work, or dealing with something difficult in your personal life, you do not have to suffer alone.
Equity Services provides a range of support services to help you through a difficult period in your academic studies or personal life.
As a CDU student, you are encouraged to access these free and confidential services, including:
- Counselling – if you are experiencing personal difficulties that are causing disruption and confusion in your study or personal life, one of the most helpful things you can do is talk with a Counsellor.
- Accommodation services – whether you are looking for on-campus accommodation or private rental, Accommodation Services can point you in the right direction to find suitable accommodation.
- Careers & Employment – talk with an expert to improve your chances of securing the career that you want and access resources that will build your skills and knowledge, giving you a competitive edge in the job market.
- Disability Service - CDU is committed to providing an accessible, supportive, safe and inclusive learning environment for students with disabilities. If you have a disability that is impacting on your study, the Access and Inclusion team can help you manage your disability. This can include help for things like a recurring migraine.
- Out-of-hours telephone crisis support - Outside business hours call this number if you are a CDU student experiencing personal distress: 1300 933 393.
Visit Equity Services to find out about the services available.
Reception - Building Blue 5.1, Casuarina campus
T: 08 8946 6288, 1300 933 393 (Out-of-hours telephone crisis support)
F: 08 8946 6654
Respect. Now. Always
Charles Darwin University is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning, working and living environment. Sexual assault and harassment are unacceptable. The Respect. Now. Always.The campaign, led by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia, seeks to prevent sexual assault and harassment by raising awareness, supporting students requiring assistance and giving bystanders the confidence to speak up.
We always try to improve the structure and content of our website. We particularly want to know:
- what you are looking for on the site and whether you found it
- whether you had problems finding it
- whether you found it easy to navigate on the page
- whether you experienced any technical difficulties
We look forward to hearing from you. Please provide us with your feedback by emailing the International Students team.
When sending us feedback about your experience, please include your name, student number, and the address (URL) of any pages you may be experiencing problems with and a description of what actions you took before encountering the error. This will help us to investigate the problem.
International student forms
International students who have recently completed their studies may request a Letter of Completion. This letter is only provided to students whose status has changed to “completed” on the student system and are eligible to graduate.
Before submitting a request to obtain a Letter of Completion, you must log into CDU eForms and apply for Nomination to Graduate.
After you have submitted the Nomination to Graduate eform, you can then apply for a Letter of Completion by sending an email.
In some instances, certain students may require letters confirming their status as students at Charles Darwin University. These letters are often required by governments, institutions and other bodies. These letters include the following:
- Program of study
- Date commenced
- Expected completion.
On special request, fees paid or due for a given semester can be indicated on the letter. You must clearly request this in your email.
In order to request a confirmation letter, please send an email to the International team, ensuring you include your full name and student number.
When requesting a confirmation letter, please allow three days for this to be processed. The letter will be sent to your CDU email in PDF format. If you require a hardcopy, please request this and it will be made available at Student Central in Orange 1.1.
A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is a legal document produced by the University for its international students that indicates the full-time study load duration of a course. As an International student, you are expected to complete your course within the course end date specified on your CoE. Your CoE is required to apply for a visa extension.
It is a condition of your student visa that you study a full-time study load and maintain satisfactory academic progress:
- For Higher Education students, a full-time study load is 80 credit points per academic year (40 credit points each in Semester 1 and Semester 2, which are compulsory semesters of study);
- For VET students, you must complete the required number of hours successfully, including attending a minimum of 20 contact hours per week.
Standard 9 of the National Code requires the University to monitor the enrolment of all its international students to ensure they complete their course within the expected duration stated in their CoE. The National Code only permits an extension to a student’s course duration in limited circumstances as follows:
- Compassionate or compelling circumstances, i.e. circumstances beyond your control. For example, illness, disability, bereavement, a traumatic experience. You must provide appropriate documentation to support your claims and directly address how your circumstances have affected your course progress. More about supplying appropriate documentation
- Implementation of an intervention strategy for students at risk of not meeting satisfactory course progress e.g. a reduced study load for students placed on a Learning Management Plan;
- An intermission/deferment or suspension of study approved by International Student Support.
Applications for CoE extensions are processed after grade release of Semester 1 and Semester 2. It is your responsibility as an international student to ensure you have a current CoE for the semester and to request for a CoE extension before your visa expires.
If your CoE expires before you receive an outcome to your CoE extension application, this is not a problem if your visa is still active. You will be notified of the outcome of your CoE application before your visa expires.
All international students are required to undertake a full-time study load of 80 credit points per academic year. This is usually done over two compulsory study periods, Semester 1 and Semester 2 (40 credit points per semester) unless otherwise instructed or approved by International Student Support.
If you are not able to study the full-time load requirements, you must apply for a Reduced Study Load (RSL) and include relevant documentation to support your claims. Applications for RSL can be submitted one month before the semester starts and until the census date of each semester.
Applications for RSL are assessed as per the National Code requirements and can be approved only in certain circumstances. These are:
- Academic difficulties, e.g. identified as Under Review (UR) or Unsatisfactory Progress (UP);
- Compassionate and/or compelling circumstances, i.e. circumstances beyond your control. For example, illness, disability, bereavement, a traumatic experience. You must provide appropriate documentation to support your claims and directly address how your circumstances have affected (or will affect) your course progress if you undertake a full-time study load;
- Unexpected changes to the course structure and unit availability;
- Unable to meet prerequisite requirements or program rules;
- Granted advanced standing (credit transfer) AND able to complete by CoE end date;
- Studied extra units during non-compulsory study period AND able to complete by CoE end date.
If you are studying in your last semester, you do not need to obtain permission to reduce your study load.
If you commence in Summer Semester, you will need to submit a Reduced Study Load application. If you commence in Semester 1 & 2 and Summer Semester study is optional, you do not need permission to reduce study load for Summer Semester.
Each application for RSL is assessed on a case by case basis by International Student Support and we aim to have an outcome available to you within ten (10) working days.
All international students are required to obtain a Letter of Release from Charles Darwin University if they wish to transfer to another education provider within the first six calendar months of their principal program.
A Letter of Release will only be granted on compassionate and compelling circumstances relating to the welfare of the student. These are family, medical or ‘well-being’ reasons for supporting a transfer (compassionate reasons), or circumstances that are generally beyond the control of the student which affect their course progress or well-being (compelling reasons).
Submit also the following supporting documentation:
- An Offer letter from another registered provider
- Other supporting documents (if applicable) such as a medical certificate, a letter of support, etc.
The processing time for Letter of Release is within ten (10) working days of receiving a request.
All international students are expected to make full payment of tuition fees by the first day of each Semester.
Extensions of time are only granted in certain, exceptional circumstances, as assessed by the CDU Compliance Officer. If you are applying for an extension of time, please ensure you provide detailed reasons and supporting evidence with your application.
Refund of tuition fees will be made in accordance with the Charles Darwin University Refunds Policy - International Students Refund of Fees Procedures (PDF 80KB).
There is no automatic right to a refund of fees if students change their minds about studying at the university. No refunds will be issued for Semester 1 after 31 March and for Semester 2 after 31 August for continuing students.
Under the conditions outlined in the policy, it may be possible for a student to obtain a full or partial refund. An application fee of $400 (included in tuition fees) is non-refundable in all cases, except in extenuating circumstances.
Following are examples of appropriate documentation that will be required when you make an application to be considered within the National Code guidelines of ‘compassionate and compelling’ circumstances,
If you are applying on medical grounds, you must supply up-to-date, detailed medical records and a letter of support that is signed, dated and stamped by a medical doctor that supports your claims. Charles Darwin University has the right to contact the medical centre individually to have documents verified and may also contact you to request more information.
If you are applying on non-medical grounds, you must supply evidence in the form of a counsellor’s letter and if applicable, proof of change of circumstances. If your reasons are bereavement due to the death of a close family member, you will be required to provide a certified death certificate. Statutory declarations are accepted only when provided alongside other forms of evidence.
If your documents are in another language other than English, you will need to have the document officially interpreted and certified before submitting it with your application.
New Australia Awards Scholarship students are advised to complete the Arrival Information and Airport Pick-up format least four (4) weeks prior to your arrival dates.
For all continuing Australia Awards Scholarship students, you are required to complete and submit the relevant forms to CDU Global if you wish to have access to your scholarship entitlements as listed below