Many international students studying in Australia dream of one day becoming permanent residents and staying on in Australia for good. The most common pathway for students is to apply for General Skilled Migration on completion of their studies.
Whilst there is a lot of information on immigration on the internet, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out in practice what your chances are and what you need to do next.
You could ask a friend who has applied before, but the rules change so quickly that this can be dangerous. As the processing time for General Skilled Migration gets longer, chances are you won’t find out that you’ve made an error in your application for a year or more after lodgement.
This guide is intended to provide an easy to follow outline of the main things international students need to be aware of in applying for General Skilled Migration.
We begin with the top 10 tips for international students thinking of applying for General Skilled Migration:
1. Graduate Skilled Visa: the 18-month Graduate Skilled visa (subclass 485 and also commonly called “TR”) is a very useful way of helping you get enough points to apply for your permanent residence.
2. Critical Skills List (CSL): If you are thinking about choosing a cours 海外留學 e, think about doing a course which would allow you to pass skills assessment in a CSL occupation
3. Watch out for Exemptions: if you have exemptions or academic credits for overseas studies, these can affect whether you have enough study to apply. Avoid academic credits if at all possible
4. Work Experience: work experience can give you extra points – however, it has to meet certain requirements in terms of skill level, salary paid, hours per week etc. The Department of Immigration looks very carefully at work experience claimed by international students, so your employer can expect a call or site visit for verification
5. Further Study: if you are completing a bachelor degree in Australia, you can get 10 extra points if you do an honours year or masters
6. Professional Year: professional years are available for IT, Accounting and Engineering. Aside from extra points, your application may be processed more quickly if you complete a professional year.
7. State Nomination: states publish lists of occupations in demand and for which they will consider nominating people for temporary or permanent skilled visas. These days it is difficult to get a state nomination, but if you do have one, it means that you don’t need as many points to qualify for migration and your application is processed at the highest level of priority.
8. English Testing: most students will need to do the IELTS test of English language ability (ielts.org). Unless you get at least 6 in all 4 components of the IELTS, it will be very difficult to apply even for the skilled graduate visa. You need to think ahead as you may need to wait 3-4 months for a test date – the test is valid for 2 years so you can do it well before you are ready to apply.
9. Bridging Visas: if you lodge an onshore application you will receive a Bridging A visa which gives full work rights in Australia. However, the Bridging A visa ceases if you leave Australia. If you want to travel, you’ll need a Bridging B visa – this costs $90 and you will need to show evidence of the reason you need to travel.
10. Keep up to Date: the rules change constantly, and the Department of Immigration is currently looking at revising the whole General Skilled Program.
Mark Webster is the director and founder of Acacia Immigration and President of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) NSW and ACT.
Mark is a contributing author of the current edition of the Immigration Kit (Federation Press), the definitive text on migration law. He wrote the chapters on General Skilled Migration and Temporary Workers.