Genuine Temporary Entrant Australia (GTE)

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria for International Student's for Australian Student Visa

Genuine Temporary Entrant meaning for Student Visa Australia

Subclass 500.212 prescribes the Genuine Temporary Entrant criteria for Student Visa Australia.

Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement for International Students Australia

What is Genuine Temporary Entrant Criteria Overview

A genuine temporary entrant statement is for a student visa applicant whose circumstances support a genuine intention to enter and remain in Australia temporarily, notwithstanding the potential for this intention to change over time to an intention to remain in Australia for an extended period or permanently. The decision maker will need to be satisfied that the applicant genuinely intends a temporary stay in Australia, having regard to the applicant’s circumstances, the applicant’s immigration history and any other relevant matter. An applicant who does not satisfy the decision maker that they are a genuine temporary entrant cannot satisfy criteria for grant of a student visa and the visa will be refused.


  • Secondary applicants for a student visa must also satisfy the requirement that they genuinely intend a temporary stay in Australia.
  • Primary (but not secondary) applicants for a student guardian visa must also satisfy the decision maker that they genuinely intend a temporary stay in Australia.

The GTE Section 499 Direction

There are six factors that must be considered while addressing the genuine temporary entrant criterion for student visa applications:

  • The applicant’s circumstances in their home country.
  • The applicant’s potential circumstances in Australia.
  • The value of the course to the applicant’s future.
  • The applicant’s immigration history.
  • If the applicant is a minor - the intentions of a parent, legal guardian or spouse/de facto partner of the applicant.
  • Other relevant matters.

Although all factors must be considered, it is not to be used as a checklist; the applicants must use their judgement to weigh all the circumstances to address the criteria of Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) for their Student Visa Australia Subclass 500 Application.

Impact of Streamlined and Regular Evidentiary Requirements on the Assessment of GTE

Streamlined and regular evidentiary requirements under the country and provider immigration risk model refer only to a student’s likely financial capacity and English language proficiency requirements. These factors do not have any specific bearing on the assessment of GTE statement for student visa.

Circumstances in Which Further Scrutiny of an Application May be Required

The department may request further information. There are four circumstances in which further scrutiny may be appropriate:

  • Information in statistical, intelligence and analysis reports on migration fraud and immigration compliance compiled by Home Affairs indicates that further scrutiny is required.
  • The applicant or a relative of the applicant has an immigration history of concern.
  • The applicant intends to study in an unrelated field to their previous studies or employment; and
  • Inconsistencies in information provided by the applicant in their application.

The mere fact that an applicant matches the characteristics of information in statistical, intelligence and analysis reports or that a relative of the applicant has an immigration history of concern is not grounds for visa refusal. These situations merely alert the decision maker to the need for additional scrutiny to assess whether the applicant is a GTE; they are not a legislative basis for refusing a visa. All applications will be considered on their own merits taking into account all the relevant information and supporting documentation provided by the applicant.

Interviewing and Requesting Additional Information to Assess GTE for Student Visa Australia

Decision makers can consider the following while assessing GTE criteria:

  • What types of evidence they require.
  • Whether information can be obtained at interview.
  • Whether they require documentary evidence to satisfy themselves that the applicant is a Genuine Temporary Entrant; and
  • Whether a referral or further investigation is necessary.

Additional Documentary Evidence Can be Requested to Assist in Assessing Whether The Applicant is a Genuine Temporary Entrant or Not

  • Evidence of the applicant’s economic situation, which may include evidence of employment for at least the previous 12 months, evidence of an offer of employment on their return home, tax returns or financial statements.
  • Evidence of financial and personal ties to their home country, such as evidence of assets in that country consistent with their family background, family or social ties that would provide sufficient inducement for them to return to their home country at the end of their visit.
  • Evidence of claimed previous study.
  • Letter from their current employer or statement from the applicant attesting to a need by the applicant for (improved) skills for the purposes of their employment or career prospects.
  • Evidence of a range of professional or academic outcomes supporting the applicant’s need for a new career direction.

In requesting additional documentary evidence from applicants, officers will be mindful that students at undergraduate level or below may not have been in employment, nor will they usually hold many assets.

GTE Requirement - The Applicant’s Circumstances in Their Home Country

‘The applicant’s circumstances in their home country’ examines reasons for not undertaking studies in their home country or region and whether the applicant’s economic situation, personal ties, military service commitments, in the home country would support a temporary stay in Australia. It also considers whether there is any civil or military unrest in the home country that would not support a temporary stay in Australia.

Five examples of circumstances in which further scrutiny and consideration of the factors may be required are:

  • There are a wide variety of similar courses available within the applicant’s region.
  • The income earned in the home country is far below the cost of living in Australia or there are high unemployment levels in the home country. Although applicants also need to meet financial capacity requirements, these are important factors that can be considered under GTE. These factors also go to the value of the applicant’s course.
  • There are military service commitments that have an adverse impact on the applicant’s right or willingness to return to their home country. This may lead to the applicant remaining in Australia indefinitely.
  • The political or geographical circumstances (such as the climate change related issues) in a student’s home country would indicate they might not want to return. Officers must consider the applicant’s own circumstances when looking at this factor - for example, unrest or upheaval might not affect certain areas of a country or certain social groups. Decision makers will take into consideration the changing circumstances in the applicant’s home country and the influence these may have on an applicant’s motivation for applying for a student visa.
  • The applicant has no employment, community, or family ties in their home country.

These situations could present as an incentive for the applicant to remain in Australia indefinitely, however, the applicant’s circumstances in total will be considered.  

Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement - The Applicant’s Potential Circumstances in Australia

‘The applicant’s potential circumstances in Australia’ examines the incentives an applicant may have to remain in Australia, and the applicant’s knowledge of living in Australia. Applicant’s strong community or family links do not necessarily indicate that the applicant is not a genuine temporary entrant and will not depart at the end of the authorised temporary stay in Australia. In fact, family connections to Australia may be a positive factor and could have legitimately influenced the student’s decision to study in Australia. If there are family members with adverse immigration histories, closer examination will be done. However, mere existence of such a factor is not a basis for Genuine Temporary Entrant refusal. It is the individual (and all their circumstances) that will be assessed against the requirement.

When considering the applicant’s knowledge of living in Australia and their proposed study, applicant’s all circumstances will be weighed up, including previous study and qualifications. The level of knowledge an applicant could be expected to have about their course of study, education provider and standard of living in Australia as is realistic given their age, culture and other circumstances. This may also involve level of research the applicant has undertaken into their proposed course of study, as well as living arrangements.

Consideration will be given to if the student visa is being used to maintain ongoing residency in Australia. The applicant’s immigration history and study history are relevant to this factor, especially where students:

  • have spent long periods outside Australia.
  • did not complete courses.
  • are studying unrelated topics.

GTE - The Value of the Course to the Applicant’s Future

‘The value of the course to the applicant’s future’ examines whether the course that the applicant seeks to study is relevant and appropriate to their current employment and education background. This factor also examines the applicant’s future employment or career prospects. It will be considered if the proposed study is relevant to past education or employment. For example, there is a clear progression from high school to a bachelor or vocational sector course. It may, of course, also be appropriate in many situations to undertake a vocational training course after completing a degree, in order to enhance specific skills or knowledge relevant to employment or the prospect of employment.

An example of where further scrutiny of the applicant’s individual circumstances is required is where the applicant is seeking to undertake a course that is inconsistent with their educational and employment background - for example, the applicant is seeking to undertake a course unrelated to their education and employment backgrounds and unconnected to their future. Decision makers will, however, also note that reasonable changes to career or study plans are acceptable and should not negatively impact on the GTE Assessment for Australian visa, and student’s motivation behind the choice of course will be a relevant factor.

When assessing whether an applicant satisfies the GTE requirement, the GTE Section 499 Direction requires to consider whether the course will improve the applicant’s employment prospects in their home country. If an applicant is seeking to undertake only a course that does not progress towards improving employment prospects, this may require a closer examination - for example, if an applicant is pursuing a course or series of courses that have low value in terms of improving employment prospects, or undertaking courses as a hobby or out of interest and not to improve employment prospects.

The GTE Section 499 Direction also requires to consider the remuneration an applicant could expect to receive in the home country using their qualifications. Depending on the applicant’s circumstances, Decision makers may also wish to consider remuneration the applicant could receive in other eligible countries of residence at the time of decision.

As with all factors, Decision makers will need to weigh up the value of the course to the applicant’s future against any other relevant factor set out in the GTE Section 499 Direction and any other relevant matters to make an overarching assessment of whether the applicant’s circumstances support a genuine intention to temporarily stay in Australia.

GTE for Australian Student Visa - The Applicant’s Immigration History

‘The applicant’s immigration history’ examines whether there is anything in the applicant’s immigration history that would not support that the applicant intends a temporary stay. An indication of this could include:

  • An applicant was previously refused a visa in Australia and now seeks to prolong their stay by entering into a relationship with a student visa holder primarily to extend their stay in Australia.
  • An applicant’s compliance with previous visa conditions.
  • An applicant undertaking a series of short, inexpensive courses designed to prolong a person’s stay in Australia - for example, if a course is structured to include only short term periods of study and the maximum allowed break in between study periods.
  • A student visa holder who has been in Australia for extensive periods of time either without having successfully completed a qualification, or who has moved education providers on numerous occasions and has failed to finish a course of study (Decision makers will request reasons from the applicant as to their failure to complete courses).
  • An applicant who has maintained ongoing residence in Australia on a range of short term temporary visas.
  • An applicant who has a history of visa refusal, or non-compliance with immigration requirements in another country.  

GTE criteria Australia and Other Relevant Matters

Decision makers will consider whether there are any other matters that are relevant to the applicant’s intentions for a temporary stay in Australia. The decision record will show that there was consideration as to whether there are other relevant matters, this includes information that may be either beneficial or unfavourable to the applicant.

Genuine Temporary Entrant Australia Criteria as Basis for Visa Refusal

An applicant who does not satisfy the decision maker that they are a genuine temporary entrant cannot satisfy criteria for grant of a student visa and the visa will be refused. Decision makers may refuse a visa on one of the other requirements if there is clear evidence upfront that the applicant intends to reside temporarily but does not plan to attend an education course – for example, ‘intention to comply’ if the applicant intends to work. Decision records will clearly show the decision maker’s thinking and how they formed their judgement based on the information and evidence before them.

GTE Australia Procedural Fairness

The Department of Home Affairs’ is under obligation to present applicants with relevant information that may lead to the decision to refuse a visa, and to give the applicant the opportunity to comment on it.

Complex Cases

GTE and Long Term / Permanent Residence Pathways

Although many overseas students make a decision to apply for permanent residence or a temporary work visa upon completing their studies, this is a separate process and there is no guarantee that, on the basis of having held a student visa, a person will meet the requirements to be granted permanent residence or a temporary visa. 

The student visa is primarily intended for persons who wish to study a CRICOS - registered course in Australia and to gain an education. If it appears that, at the time of decision, an applicant’s primary purpose for applying for a student visa is to obtain a permanent migration outcome or to maintain ongoing residence, and not to obtain an education, consideration may be given to refusing the applicant a visa under this criterion. However, an intention to apply for another visa after completing studies is not, by itself, sufficient to determine that the student does not meet the GTE requirement. This circumstance would warrant further scrutiny; for example, what other options will be available to a student if a further visa is not granted. 

Similarly, the fact that a student has applied for a permanent visa (whether in or outside Australia) does not in itself mean that the same person applying for a student visa does not intend to leave Australia at the end of any authorised period of temporary stay.

Applicant Has Applied for Protection Visa

If an applicant has made a protection visa application that is either currently under consideration or was refused, this may demonstrate that there are significant incentives for the applicant not to return to their home country. Officers will check if the applicant’s previous claims for protection and should be satisfied that these claims no longer reflect the applicant’s current or future circumstances. If the applicant’s circumstances have not changed, they may not be intending to reside in Australia temporarily.

If the Course is Available in Their Home Country

The benefits of studying in Australia are well established however, if a similar course is available in the applicant’s home country, a decision maker will consider whether the applicant has sound reasons for not undertaking the study in their home country. For example, applicants intending to study an English language course may legitimately want to study in an English speaking country regardless of whether there are cheaper courses available in their home country. A GTE refusal must not be based solely on the availability of the course. An officer may wish to ask the applicant to identify the advantages of studying in Australia.

GTE Australia Student Visa and Minors

In assessing the Genuine Temporary Entrant criterion for minors, decision makers will consider the intentions of a parent, legal guardian or spouse/de facto partner. This is because a minor might not have the maturity to be capable of making decisions, including forming intentions in relation to immigration matters.

If an interview is to be conducted to seek further information or clarification for the assessment of the intentions of a parent, legal guardian or spouse/de facto partner, it is the parent, legal guardian or spouse/de facto partner who should be interviewed. If necessary information can be obtained only by interviewing the minor, the parent, legal guardian or spouse/de facto partner should be present for the interview, and care should be taken with questions directed at the minor.

GTE for Student Visa and Primary School Students

Further GTE scrutiny of primary school student and guardian applications will occur based on internal risk analytics. Generally, a student seeking to reside and study in Australia for 12 years, for example, commencing primary school in Year 1 and seeking to continue into Year 12 senior secondary school studies and beyond would not meet the GTE requirement. Consideration should be given to the likelihood of a child reintegrating into their home country in the absence of substantial education in their own language during their formative years. Consideration may also be given to the intentions of a parent or custodian in sending a child to study in Australia if they intend to accompany the child. This is to ensure that the integrity of the program is maintained and to prevent the facilitation of long-term temporary residency of minors as a pathway to permanent residence.

Genuine Temporary Entrant Student Visa and Contrived Relationships

There are two key issues in relation to secondary applicants relating to contrived spouse or de facto partner relationships:

  • The applicants might be in a non-genuine relationship - an assessment of the genuineness of the relationship should be undertaken if there is any concerns about the relationship.
  • The relationship might be genuine, but the applicants have non-genuine intentions, For example, if the primary and secondary applicants alternate between being the primary and secondary applicant to extend their period of stay in Australia; or an applicant who had previously unsuccessfully sought to satisfy the primary criteria now seeks to satisfy the secondary criteria.

If relationships are assessed as genuine but the persons’ intentions in Australia are not, these applicants could be considered for refusal under GTE. If the applicants are found to be in a non-genuine relationship, the secondary applicant would not satisfy requirements to be a member of the family unit as a spouse or de facto partner.

Student Visa Genuine Temporary Entrant Risky Profiles

Information in statistical, intelligence and analysis reports on migration fraud and immigration compliance compiled by Home Affairs, even if the client would otherwise be a strong candidate as a genuine student, can be considered as part of the genuine temporary entrant assessment.

Although the information is not in itself grounds for a visa refusal, the applicant will need to demonstrate that their circumstances support that they intend to stay temporarily in Australia and can be considered against the various factors set out in the ‘GTE Section 499 Direction’ - for example, the applicant may be required to provide additional evidence of incentives to return to the home country, such as evidence of financial, personal and community ties.

GTE Criteria for Applicants Studying at a Lower Level

 Although an applicant enrolled to study at a lower level than previous studies undertaken in their home country could be an indicator of need for further scrutiny, consideration will also be given to the fact that:

  • It can be quite common in some regions / countries for a student to hold a qualification that has been taught through a less rigid educational system than Australia and therefore a lower level of study in Australia is more suitable.
  • The applicant is accepted only for a lower level course in Australia; and
  • A lower AQF level course in Australia may be more specific than their previous studies at a higher level.

Independent ELICOS Applicants with No Previous English Studies

ELICOS students might not have undertaken English studies prior to seeking to travel to Australia for a short period (12 months) to study English. The ELICOS industry in Australia is world class and offers overseas students the opportunity to enhance their English language skills. While often packaged with other courses, some students choose to study ELICOS in isolation or need to improve their English before enrolling in other courses. Studying English in an English speaking environment is beneficial for students. As such, consideration will be given to the fact, that there are advantages to study English in an English speaking country. The GTE criterion looks at the applicant’s circumstances as a whole, which may also include consideration of whether the course has been structured to minimise study periods and maximise breaks.

Lengthy Standalone or Packaged ELICOS Courses

Although there is no legislative limit as to how much ELICOS study may be undertaken, further GTE scrutiny would generally be applied to applicants who enroll in:

  • Standalone ELICOS for more than 12 months.
  • Heavily packaged courses that include more than 12 months of ELICOS prior to their main course of study.

Mature Applicants Who are Near Retirement Age

It is open for applicants to re-educate themselves and gain additional skills and knowledge. Decision makers will have regard to the value of course to the applicant’s future and consider what level of remuneration the applicant could expect to receive after they have completed their study.

If an applicant is nearing retirement age, the qualification might not provide any significant benefit to their future employment prospects. However, in these cases it is important that the circumstances of the applicant, including their reasons for study, are considered. The relevant question in any GTE assessment is whether the circumstances of the applicant indicate that they intend to stay in Australia temporarily.

Extended Study Breaks or Poor Educational Outcomes in Home Country

If an applicant has a history of extended study gaps and / or poor educational outcomes in their home country, this would likely raise concerns about their reasons for wanting to undertake study in Australia. Further scrutiny should be given to such cases.

Intention to Comply with Visa Conditions

In addition to GTE, the genuine applicant for entry and stay as a student requires that the applicant intends to comply with any conditions for which the visa was granted, such as:

  • The applicant’s record of compliance with conditions of a visa or visas previously held;
  • The applicant’s stated intention to comply with conditions for which the visa is granted.

Student visa conditions are designed to ensure that international students act in a manner that is consistent with the purpose for which their visa is granted, such as maintaining enrollment in a registered course of study and maintaining appropriate health insurance etc.

Any Other Relevant Matter

After the ‘GTE’ and ‘intention to comply with visa conditions’ criteria are satisfied, further consideration is given to whether the applicant is a genuine applicant for entry and stay as a student having regard to the catch all criterion of ‘any other relevant matter’. It requires that the applicant is a genuine applicant for entry and stay as a student, having regard to ‘any other relevant matter’. In most cases there will not be any other matters that are relevant to the student’s specific circumstances.

This criteria is designed to cover matters, such as, if the study plan for a school student (under 16 years old) is in appropriate:

  • Generally, a school student would be considered to have an inappropriate study plan if they were seeking to undertake studies not related to school studies while of an age at which school education is compulsory in Australia.
  • A visa may be refused under ‘any other relevant matter’ if, for example, a student under 16 years old seeks to undertake studies outside of the school sector (for example, ELICOS, non-award course) and no evidence has been provided that they intend to go on to school studies in Australia.

GTE for student visa extension

If you are applying for student visa extension to complete the same course for which you was granted the visa then your GTE should be based on reasons for the delay in the original duration of the course.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Statement of Purpose is the letter statement for genuine temporary criteria. SOP for student visa is a requirement for Australian Student visa in all streamlined processing streams. The application will have high chances of refusal if a SOP is not submitted. You may refer to SOP sample for student visa below.

Genuine Temporary Entrant Sample

You can check the Genuine Temporary Entrant example statement here. This GTE statement sample must not taken as exhaustive and will vary depending on the circumstances of the individual student.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GTE in Australia student visa?

GTE is the Genuine Temporary Entrant criteria in Australian Student Visa Law and Policy. This criteria is defined in Migration Regulations 1994 and Ministerial Direction 499 and empowers Department of Home Affairs (Australia) to check if an applicant applying for student visa is genuine student or not.

How to write GTE for student visa?

This page defines detailed policy that should be addressed while writing the Statement of Purpose (SOP) addressing GTE. When you engage us to provide you assistance with your student visa then we will assist and guide you to address this criteria in detail.

How long does it take for GTE approval?

The GTE is not approved separately but is assessed as part of your Australian Student visa application.

Is GTE Australia compulsory?

Addressing GTE is compulsory for Australian Student visa application; and not addressing this criteria will give your application reasonably high chance of refusal.

What is GTE Requirements?

GTE requirement is defined in Australian student visa Law and Policy to check whether an applicant applying for Australian Student visa is a genuine student or not.

What is the difference between GTE and SOP?

GTE is the criteria defined in Australian Student Visa Law and Policy, whereas statement prepared to address that criteria is SOP (Statement of Purpose).

What if I fail in GTE Interview?

Students must address GTE criteria as written statement in their student visa application. The Australian Department of Home Affairs staff or staff processing student visa application is Australian Overseas missions may call a student to check the facts presented in their application. If case officer is not satisfied in interview your application might be refused.

Disclaimer: ‘Atlantis International Pty Ltd’ and its associates are independent consulting entities which are not associated in anyway with the Australian ‘Department of Home Affairs’ (DOHA). Information on this website does not constitute personal migration advice. For a customized migration advice based on your personal circumstances, please call and talk to one of our Immigration Consultants or register your interest with our Associates.

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