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 - 05/08/2020
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.
Team Leader International Student Support:
International Student Support 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* (ACST)||Book|
Every Tuesday the International Student Support team conducts a virtual drop-in session to offer support and answer any questions.
Tuesdays 2:30-3:30 PM (ACST) - Online
*All times are subject to change
Visit CDU Current Students page for access to key information such as MyStudentInfo, Important Dates and other support services available.
Our Language and Learning Support is free and confidential, assisting you with skills development and tailored to your specific unit. The Language and Learning team assist students and lecturers to understand the requirements of varied assignments and further study skills.
The Language and Learning Support team offer various services such as drop-in sessions, 24/7 online tutor help via learnline, individual consultations during normal business hours, after-hours help for students who cannot attend during normal business hours. Online/external students can request online or phone appointments. There is an excellent Study Skills webpage with useful guidelines to help you throughout your studies.
Find out more about the services offered by the Language and Learning Support team
T: 08 8946 7459
T: 1800 157 900 (free call)
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, you may find a casual or part-time job to help support yourself or make new friends.
In Australia, there are laws that regulate working conditions and entitlements. They set rules about being treated fairly and how much you should be paid. When you get a job it’s important to check what the legal wages, overtime and weekend rates for your work are.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is a Government agency that can help you understand your workplace rights and responsibilities and can work with you to fix any workplace problems you’re having. The Fair Work Ombudsman's services are free to all employees including international students.
They’ve got a range of tools and resources about your working rights including:
- a Pay Calculator to help you check how much you should be paid (including rates for working weekends, overtime and public holidays)
- an Award Finder to help you find your award (the legal document that sets your hours, pay rates and other entitlements)
- a Record My Hours app to help you keep a record of your working hours
- information for visa holders and migrant workers to help you understand Australia’s workplace laws.
What to do if you’re having problems at work
We know that students may fear speaking to government agencies because they’re on a student visa, or because they may be paid in cash or have worked overtime. If you’re being exploited, however, you should always go to the FWO to discuss your case.
The FWO has an arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) to support visa holders, including international students, who come to the FWO. Visa holders can seek help without fear of visa cancellation, even if they’ve breached their work-related visa conditions. This arrangement is called the Assurance Protocol.
What is the Assurance Protocol?
Under the Assurance Protocol, Home Affairs usually won’t cancel your visa if you have breached your work-related visa conditions because of workplace exploitation, and:
- you have sought advice or support from them and you’re helping them with their inquiries
- there is no other reason to cancel your visa (for example for national security, character, health or fraud reasons)
- you have committed to following your visa conditions in the future.
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 updates related to Safety and Emergency, please visit CDU Safety and 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.
Support with complaints and appeals
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.
Give us your feedback
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.
Letter of completion
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.
Confirm my status as a student
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.
Reduced study load
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.
Letter of release
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.
Extension of fee payment deadline
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.
Apply for a refund
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.
Supplying appropriate documentation
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.
Australian Awards Scholarship Student Forms
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