ECU and recent changes to Australian migration policy

As part of the recent changes to Australian migration policy, Perth has been reclassified as a 'regional' city, making ECU an even more attractive prospect for international students! The changes come into effect on November 16, 2019.

"This announcement is great news for students from around the globe who are looking to learn, live and launch their careers in our wonderful city," says Phil Payne, executive director of StudyPerth.

To discuss your study options at ECU, including an indication of how likely you are to get a scholarship, contact Study Options as soon as possible!

Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.What do the changes mean for international students?

Following the changes, international students in regional areas will be able to access an extra year on the post study work visa (subclass 485) after they finish their courses. Those looking to remain in Australia longer-term will also get an extra 5 points in the Skilled Visa calculator for studying in a regional area.

Students already planning their move to ECU are thrilled about the changes. "It gives me even more confidence, just thinking that this is definitely the best move for me," says Andy, who is about to apply to ECU to study the University’s well-regarded Bachelor of Nursing. "It means that I’ll be able to stay in Australia and work for three years on the Post Study Work Visa after I finish at uni, rather than two. I was originally planning to do my nursing degree in Melbourne, as that’s where I spent most of my time when I was on my Working Holiday Visa and that’s where most of my mates are, but I’d only get two years Post Study Work there. I want to build my career in Australia and Perth feels like the safer option, long-term."

Costs and Scholarships

Andy is one of many students also being drawn to Perth by the generous bursaries currently offered by ECU. The University considers all international undergraduate applicants for a bursary which could reduce tuition fees by 20% for each year of study.

Fees without the bursary for the Bachelor of Nursing are approximately A$33,000 per year, so around A$100,000 for the three-year degree. With the bursary, however, those costs are reduced to A$26,400 per year, or A$79,200 in total. "I'm crossing everything that I get a bursary," agrees Andy. "It would make a massive difference to me."

The average salary for nurses in Western Australia is around A$80,000 per year, so Andy is also hopeful he can earn back the money he will be investing in his degree within a few years of working.

Moving as a family

For Cath and her husband Jonny, the ECU bursary is also important, but they are also being drawn to Perth by other factors. Currently working as a teaching assistant near their home city of Birmingham, Cath is planning to train as a primary school teacher in Perth and will be applying for the ECU Master of Teaching (Primary) to start in 2021. She’ll be going with Jonny and their two children, aged 6 and 9.

If she is successful in getting one of ECU’s postgraduate bursary, she’ll get a 20% reduction in her tuition fees for the first year of the two-year M Teach. “That’s about $6,000 off, which of course would be amazing,” says Cath. “To be honest, though, what really makes the difference for us is that we won’t have to pay fees for the children to go to school in Western Australia, because I’m going to be doing a Masters.”

Western Australia is the only state in Australia to offer free schooling to the children of international Masters students – in all other states and territories, international students must pay for their children to attend school (whether state or private) and the costs can be considerable – annual fees range from around A$6,000 per year, per child right up to A$14,000 per year, per child. Full details on the Australian Visas for Partners and Families page.

"Given the age of our kids, that makes such a difference to us," says Cath. "Also, because I’m going to be doing a Masters, Jonny will be able to work full time – well, as much as he can with looking after the kids too! – on my student visa. So we’ll hopefully have some money coming in while I’m doing my training."

Cath and Jonny aren’t the first to spot the opportunities that Perth offers to young families – read about Maria and Jamie Hardcastle’s journey to ECU here.

Edith Cowan University campus. Photo credit: Edith Cowan UniversityAbout ECU

Established in 1991, ECU is a modern university with exceptional facilities and is highly-ranked for teaching quality and student experience.

In the 2019 QILT (Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching), ECU received the top teaching quality rating of all public universities in Australia – for the fourth year in a row.

The University has also been given five-star ratings for teaching quality over the past twelve years, along with consistently high ratings for overall education experience and skills development, by the Good Universities Guide.

The University is home to more than 30,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and welcomes close to 6,000 international students to its campuses each year.

The University offers more than 250 courses across eight Schools: Medical and Health Sciences; Engineering; Arts and Humanities; Education; Business and Law; Nursing and Midwifery; Science; and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. ECU programme highlights include:

  • Teacher education The School of Education is the most popular and longest-established school of its kind in Western Australia, regularly producing award-winning teachers.
  • ECU has the largest school of nursing in Western Australia. ECU’s state-of-the-art health and wellness building has simulated practice wards for both nursing and midwifery that provide a safe, authentic environment for clinical skills development. These provide students with the opportunity for experimental hands-on practice, learning skills in a variety of simulated scenarios, and designed to increase their confidence and competence.
  • Sports Science ECU has been ranked among the top 25 universities worldwide for sports science by the 2018 Shanghai Rankings.
  • Cyber Security ECU is recognised as a national leader in cyber security training and research, and is the home of Australian Cyber Security Cooperation Research Centre.
  • Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts WAAPA is considered one of the world’s leading performing arts academies, with Hugh Jackman among its famous alumni.

For more about ECU, you can visit their profile page here.

To discuss your study options at ECU, including an indication of how likely you are to get a scholarship, contact Study Options as soon as possible!


Australia’s recent migration policy changes do not affect Western Australia’s Graduate Pathway for Skilled Migration, which remains the same. For more on the WA pathway for international students graduating from universities in the state, please read this article about the pathway.

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