International students from all over the world choose to study in Australia. This country has so much to offer; from vibrant, multicultural cities, to a relaxed and fun-loving culture. It’s no wonder that many students are keen to stay in Australia when their studies end. How realistic is this? What steps do you need to take to achieve permanent residence?
Living in Australia for the long term is perfectly possible with some forward-planning before you finish your course. In this blog post, we’ll give you some useful hints and tips if you’re an international student considering permanent residence (PR) in Australia:
Apply for a Graduate Temporary Visa
Applying for permanent residence takes time and a Graduate Temporary Visa is a useful way to extend your stay in Australia. Holding a Graduate Temporary Visa can also help your chances of obtaining PR.
You could use this visa to enable you to undertake a year of professional study to help you gain points for skilled migration and increase your chances of a professional job offer. Or, this visa has full work rights and could be used to help you find skilled work, which will also help you to gain extra points or may lead to employer sponsorship.
Obtaining a Graduate Temporary Visa gives you an opportunity to move elsewhere in Australia if you’re considering state nomination. It also gives you extra time to improve your English language skills, which also helps with skilled migration.
Extend your studies
When you’ve completed your first course, you could improve your migration opportunity by undertaking further studies in Australia:
- Complete a Bachelor level (or higher) qualification – many occupations included on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) require a Bachelor-level qualification and this also boosts your points score for skilled migration,
- Undertake a Research Masters or PhD – if you complete a PhD or Masters by Research in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) qualification you can gain additional points for skilled migration. Qualifications at this level can also help you with state nomination.
- Study in a regional area of Australia – this helps your chances of obtaining state nomination and leads to extra skilled migration points.
Start your career in Australia
Starting a professional career in Australia is an ideal way to increase your migration opportunities. You can gain access to a range of employer sponsored visas, as well as gaining points for your work experience. Some Australian states also look for prior Australian work experience before they nominate you.
If you're an Engineering, IT or Accountancy student, you could undertake a 'professional year', which includes an internship and may lead to a future job offer.
Consider state nomination
Australia is a big country and there are plenty of places to explore – don’t restrict yourself to one city. State nomination leads to additional opportunities, including:
- Priority for a SkillSelect invitation – when your nomination is completed, you’ll immediately receive an invitation,
- Additional points for skilled migration,
- Access to a larger list of available occupations,
- Avoiding occupational ceilings if you have a ‘pro-rata’ occupation.
Take some time to familiarise yourself with the criteria for each state and territory before making your decision, as each one has its own list.
If you’re willing to move away from Australia’s larger cities, you could widen your opportunities and gain access to regional visas.
Get to grips with SkillSelect
To apply for General Skilled Migration you need to go through the SkillSelect system and receive an invitation first.
SkillSelect lists 'pro-rata' occupations - these occupations receive more ‘Expressions of Interest’ (EOIs) than the number of places available. The waiting time for pro-rata occupations may be longer and the points level higher.
To boost your chances with SkillSelect, you need to choose the right occupation and try to obtain the maximum number of points. It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on SkillSelect updates on your qualification and the points level required.
Boost your SkillSelect points score
Pro-rata occupations are particularly competitive and it’s often necessary to obtain more than 60 points for an invitation through SkillSelect. Ways to improve your points score include:
- Gaining skilled work experience in Australia,
- Extending your studies,
- State nomination,
- Maximising your English language score,
- Undertaking a ‘professional year.
If you’re married or in a relationship with a ‘de facto’ partner, your partner could also contribute points if they’re 18-49 years old, can pass a skills assessment and have competent English language skills.
If you have excellent English language skills, you could consider taking the NAATI Translator or Interpreter test – this will give you additional points.
Think about skills assessment
It’s a good idea to get some advice before you start your skills assessment process. Skills assessment requirements vary depending on your occupation.
SkillSelect is very competitive for some occupations and it can be more difficult to receive an invitation. You may be able to use more than one skilled occupation for skills assessment. Think carefully about this, as when your application is lodged it can’t be changed.
There are also various state nomination opportunities, as each state has its own nomination list and criteria. Choosing the right occupation may open up extra opportunities.
It can take several months to process a skills assessment, so try to start this process as early as possible.
Gain points for your English Skills
Strong English skills are vital for meeting the pass mark for skilled migration and are also required by some skills assessing authorities.
English test results are valid for 3 years for migration purposes. It makes sense to prepare for your English test early to avoid disappointment. It’s also a good idea to:
- Research the various English language tests and opt for the one that best suits you,
- Consider English language courses or one-to-one tutoring to improve your English test score,
- Bear in mind that higher levels of English may be required by some skills assessing authorities and they may only accept certain tests.
Need help with your visa?
There are many different routes to permanent residence and it can be difficult to know which one to choose. FastVisa can help you with your move towards a long-term future in Australia and ensure the whole process goes as smoothly as possible. Get in touch with our friendly team today: