Bringing your family

If you’d like to bring your family (spouse/de facto partner and/or children) to Australia as dependents, you’ll have lots to consider before making the move.

Contact the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) office in your country to see if you’re eligible to bring your family with you.

If the DIBP approves your application, your dependents will need to be included on your visa application – even if they don’t travel at the same time as you.

Finances and living expenses

Bringing your family with you is a big decision, so it’s worth talking about all the challenges and costs of moving overseas, such as:

  • childcare
  • school fees
  • health insurance expenses
  • additional living expenses
  • adjusting to a new environment/culture
  • responsibility of caring for children while studying.

Living costs will vary depending on your accommodation, lifestyle and many other factors.

The minimum living cost per year in Australia is:

  • You - $19,830
  • Partner or spouse - $6,940
  • Child - $2,970.

Arriving in Australia

You may find it easier to arrive in Australia first and bring your family later.

Some students prefer to bring their family with them to avoid visa delays. You may need to check if any rules apply to these arrangements.

Employment for your spouse

It can be challenging to find a job in Australia so employment opportunities for your spouse may be limited. If your spouse would like to work, make sure their visa allows for employment in Australia.

Take some time to look through Seek, one of Australia’s leading job search websites, for the types of job opportunities available in Melbourne.


If both you and your partner will be busy with study and work, childcare is an option you will want to explore. Childcare in Australia is sometimes difficult to gain and can be expensive.

Costs for childcare at a private or government-run centre can range from AUD$80 - $120 per day.

Other options include family day care which can cost AUD $6 - $10 per hour, or occasional care at a government-run centre.

There are often long waiting lists at private and government-approved childcare centres so contact a few providers before you arrive to check vacancies.

VU offers childcare and kindergarten for children aged from three months to six years. We offer these services at three of our campuses, with priority given to children of VU staff and students.

School for your children

Children over the age of five are legally required to attend school while in Australia. School aged children (generally age 6-17) can enrol and attend at a Victorian Government school for a set fee for the duration of a parent's visa. Additional school fees are usually required at Catholic and independent schools.

You will need to enrol your child/children in a school before you arrive in Melbourne.

When choosing a school, you may like to ask about:

  • the school's curriculum
  • the size of individual classes
  • whether there is an English as an Additional Language (EAL) program offered
  • school fees and any additional costs.

It will be easier for you if the school is close to where you plan to live or near your university campus.

The embassy or consulate in your country can also advise which Victorian schools are registered to take international students.

Information about schools is available from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

School fees

You’ll need to factor the cost of attending school into the family budget. As well as school fees (unless exempt), other costs include school uniforms, books, stationery and excursions.

Your children may be exempt from school fees at a Victorian government school if you:

  • are a postgraduate research student enrolled in a doctoral (PhD) or masters by research course, and you have a subclass 574 visa
  • you receive a fully-funded award or scholarship from the Australian government.