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School Fees for TSS Visa Holders

If you are intending to bring your family with you to Australia under the TSS Visa, you will need to know about school fees. Depending upon the state or territory you move to you may be required to pay school fees.

Who needs to pay school fees?

If your children are included on your visa and are over the age of 5 years, they will need to go to school in Australia.

You can enrol your children into public schools quite easily. Where you live in Australia determines whether you need to pay fees or not. If you do need to pay fees, these will vary from state to state. It is important that you look at school fees in each state when looking into potential jobs. Some states have quite high school fees.

What do school fees cover, and what do they not cover?

School fees cover tuition costs and student support services for your child. The fee also includes:

  • Access to the state’s curriculum program
  • Textbook hire
  • Student welfare and counselling services
  • Access to TAFE subjects if eligible, and within the curriculum requirements

If your child’s first language isn’t English, they will be able to use EAL/D (English as an Additional Language or Dialect). This will help them succeed in their education in an English-speaking country.

The following items are not included in school fees. You will need to pay extra for these items:

  • Cost of any potential school excursions
  • School uniforms
  • Student medical expenses
  • Additional fees may be required for certain subjects or optional extension activities, e.g. sport
  • Subsidised travel under the School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS)

Which states do not charge school fees?

Public schools in the following states do not charge school fees:

  • Northern Territory (NT)
  • Queensland (QLD)
  • Tasmania (TAS)
  • Victoria (VIC)

Which states charge school fees?

Public schools in the following states do charge school feels. The amount will depend upon where you live.

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
  • New South Wales (NSW)
  • South Australia (SA)
  • Western Australia (WA)
Costs per state

The following table tells you the annual school fees per child. WA is an exception, and charges per family. South Australia doesn’t have set fees but instead calculates fees depending on family income and how many children you have.

The amounts in the table below are what you will be expected to pay.

State School Fees 2018 Cost $AUD
ACT Preschool

Primary School

Junior High School

Senior High School





NSW Primary School

Junior High School

Senior High School




SA Primary School

(Maximum fees)*

Secondary School

(Maximum fees)*




WA Per family $4,000

When do I have to pay the fees?

All fees are in Australian dollars. The fees are generally paid at the start of each year for the duration your children are at school, and you are holding a TSS or 457 visa. Some states may allow for payments to be made in instalments so it is worth checking when registering your child.

Are there any possible exemptions to school fees?

It is possible for an exemption or discount. Each state has different rules.

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – You can receive a fee exemption if your nominated occupation is on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  • New South Wales (NSW) – You can apply for an exemption if your family has a low income. To do this, you need to make a written appeal to the Exemption Review Panel. Each case is decided upon individually
  • Western Australia (WA) – You can apply for an exemption if your combined gross family income is $75,000 or less per year. You can also apply if there are any financial circumstances that impact on your ability to pay school fees
  • South Australia (SA) – There are several possibilities here for exceptions and all are decided upon a case by case basis.
    • If your combined family income per year is under $58,000
    • If you have more than one child attending public school then the eldest child will pay full fees. The others will receive a 10% discount
    • If your gross family income falls into any of the following categories:
      • Family with 1 child      – income less than $78,000
      • Family with 2 children – income less than $88,000
      • Family with 3 children – income less than $98,000
      • Family with 4 children – income less than $108,000
    • If your financial situation impacts your ability to pay your child’s school fees. This includes serious illness, unemployment, changes in your employment or financial circumstances, family breakdown, or death

How long are school fees paid for?

You will pay these whilst you are on the TSS visa. You no longer need to pay fees if you go on to become a Permanent Resident or Australian Citizen.


When deciding on the area of Australia you wish to reside in, school fees should be something which comes into your decision. School fees can be quite high and may impact your financial situation. Doing your research before looking for jobs in any particular area is therefore vital.

Your child’s education is the most important thing to consider. This means looking into quality schools within the area, exploring the curriculum, and considering whether any extra programmes may be required to help your child learn and develop.


Visa Jobs is an independent company and has no association with the Australian Department of Immigration. The information in this article should not be used as legal advice. It is based on public guidelines available at The Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs’ website.

Every visa application is assessed on a case by case basis. We strongly recommend your documents and personal situation be assessed by a Registered Migration Agent who is bound by the MARA code of conduct before submitting any visa applications.

Updated on May 20, 2019

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