Bringing your family with you - Section contents

If you're coming to Australia to study and you want to bring your family with you, there are a range of things you'll need to consider.

The cost of supporting a family in Australia is high, so if you're planning to bring your family to Australia with you it’s important to make sure that you have sufficient funds to support them financially. More information about the cost of living in Melbourne can be found on our Financial Aid page.

You should also consider how your family will adjust to life here:

  • how would the presence of your family impact your studies?
  • how would your family cope with life in Australia?
  • can your spouse communicate confidently in English?
  • how would your spouse deal with potentially limited employment opportunities?
  • are you the primary carer for your children?
  • are you able to secure school or childcare arrangements for your children?
  • has the cost of insurance, health care and education for your family been budgeted for?

Visas for your family

Your student visa will usually permit you to bring your family with you to Australia. To learn more about bringing your family with you, please visit our visas for your family page.


Schooling

The Department of Home Affairs requires dependants of international students to attend school in Australia. Children must be five years old or turning five before 30 April of that calendar year to be eligible to start school in Victoria. For more information about schooling, refer to the Victorian Government Schools International Student Program website.

Before your children enter Australia, you will need to provisionally enrol them in a school. When choosing a school, many parents ask about the curriculum, extracurricular activities, whether there is an English as a Second Language (ESL) program available, and school fees and additional costs. The Diplomatic Mission in your country can advise you on which schools are registered to take on international students.


Childcare

Childcare can be expensive and difficult to secure. You should research childcare options and costs before you arrive. It is difficult to find places for children under 24 months of age, but places for children 3 – 5 years old are easier to obtain.

To learn about different childcare options, you should approach childcare centres directly. Most have long waiting lists, so you should register on several waiting lists. Some centres charge an application fee.

We suggest that you visit the childcare centres before making a final decision. This childcare checklist can be helpful.

Childcare at the University

The University of Melbourne offers a range of children's services, including long day child care, sessional care, evening care and pre-school programs. See our Children's Services website for more information.

Childcare outside the University


Immunisation

Under Victorian law, all children must be fully vaccinated to be enrolled in childcare or kindergarten. You are encouraged to check Australia's National Immunisation Program and arrange for any further vaccinations before leaving home. If possible, obtain your child's immunisation records in English.

To finalise enrolment in an early childhood service when you arrive in Australia, you'll need to provide an Immunisation History Statement that shows your child is up-to-date with their vaccines. Our Health Service can assist you to get this document.


Language support

Our Language Support and Professional Development Program is free for international students, their spouses, and visiting scholars.

The program includes:

  • everyday English lessons
  • professional support activities
  • excursions to places of cultural and historical interest.

Lessons cover topics including family and friends, health, shopping, employment, and current affairs. Professional support activities include seminars on finding work in Australia, preparing a resume, and visits to university and local libraries.

Everyone is welcome, even if you’re a native English speaker. Feel free to bring along your children under 5!

For more information on language support, contact us.