Matthew Halliday MARN 0701626
The Western Australia Government has confirmed through a notice on their Education Training International website today that from 2015, all 457 visa holders with children attending WA public schools will need to begin contributing to the costs of educating their children in Western Australian.
This is a break from the existing policy where WA had been providing free public education to dependants of 457 visa holders.
The Western Australia government has stated that it will charge families the sum of $4,000. The good news is this amount is not paid per child and is instead paid per family meaning 457 visa
holders with more than 1 child are at a slight advantage in terms of the costs.
The reasoning behind this change is that Western Australian government believes that this is a fair contribution given that the estimated cost of educating a student at a public primary in 2014-15 is $14,833 and $19,363 in a public secondary school.
While it may be fair enough for any new 457 visa holders enrolling children, the imposition of fees is like to be an unwelcome surprise to families already doing it tough and who did not have the chance to factor in this new cost during their initial contract negotiations. The notice does mention however that parents will be able to apply for a waiver where they can prove they are experiencing financial hardship although the exact procedure required has not yet been released.
It should be noted that few other states or territories in Australia currently charge dependants of 457 visa holders school fees.
For more information see: http://www.eti.wa.edu.au/your-study-options/study-at-school/dependants-of-457-visa-holders