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 a lot to consider before making the move.

Contact the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs office in your country to see if you’re eligible to bring your family with you.

You may find it easier to arrive in Australia first and bring your family later. If the Department of Home Affairs 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.

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

Living expenses & employment

Family living expenses

Living costs in Australia are relatively high, and will vary depending on your accommodation, lifestyle and many other factors.

Costs of moving overseas include:

  • flights
  • childcare
  • school fees
  • health insurance expenses
  • accommodation
  • additional living expenses.

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, to see the types of job opportunities available in Melbourne.


VU offers childcare and kindergarten for children aged from three months to six years, at some of our campuses. We offer weekly and daily rates, with discounts for VU students. Priority is given to children of VU staff and students.

Costs for childcare at a private or government-run centre vary, but may vary from AUD$80 to $185 per day*.

Other options include family day care which can cost AUD$6 - $17 per hour*, or occasional care at a local government-run centre. Find occasional care.

There are often long waiting lists at private and government-approved childcare centres, so contact a few care providers (external link) before you arrive to check for vacancies.

*Costs taken from Live in Victoria (Government website), 2021.


Attending school in Australia

Children over the age of five are legally required to attend school while in Australia.

School-aged children (generally ages 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 religious (eg Catholic, Muslim) and other 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.

School location

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 Training.

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 500 visa
  • receive a fully funded award or scholarship from the Australian government.