Australian study requirement satisfied with “only” 78 weeks?

Tribunal: One of the components of the Australian study requirement (ASR) is that the applicant must have completed one or more courses that "were completed as a result of a total of at least 2 academic years study". It is commonly said that the duration of the course/s must be of 92 weeks. Is that correct? In this decision, the Tribunal accepted that 2 concurrent courses of 78 weeks each were sufficient to satisfy the ASR. We explain why.

Subclass 485 visa applicants need to satisfy the Australian study requirement (ASR), among other criteria. The ASR is also relevant for the purposes of points-tested GSM visas.

Reg 1.15F of the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) relevantly provides as follows:

Reg 1.15F    Australian study requirement

(1)  A person satisfies the Australian study requirement if the person satisfies the Minister that the person has completed 1 or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications for award by an Australian educational institution as a result of a course or courses:  

(a)  that are registered courses; and 

(b)  that were completed in a total of at least 16 calendar months; and  

(c)  that were completed as a result of a total of at least 2 academic years study; and

(d)  for which all instruction was conducted in English; and

(e)  that the applicant undertook while in Australia as the holder of a visa authorising the applicant to study.

Note:    Academic year is defined in regulation 1.03.

(2)  In this regulation: 

completed, in relation to a degree, diploma or trade qualification, means having met the academic requirements for its award. 

Note:   The academic requirements for the award of a degree, diploma or trade qualification do not include the formal conferral of the degree, diploma or trade qualification. Therefore, a person can complete a degree, diploma or trade qualification, for subregulation (2), before the award is formally conferred.

degree has the meaning given in subregulation 2.26AC(6). 

diploma has the meaning given in subregulation 2.26AC(6). 

trade qualification has the meaning given in subregulation 2.26AC(6). 

LIN 19/085 defines an academic instrument as follows:

For the purposes of the definition of academic year in regulation 1.03 of the Regulations, an academic year is at least a total of 46 weeks, being the duration of a course or courses.

It follows that 2 academic years are "at least a total of [92] weeks, being the duration of a course or courses".

Does it mean that the actual duration of the course/s must be of at least 92 weeks? The Federal Circuit Court answered that question as follows:

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