International Students and Visa Pathways

Employer Sponsored visas

In March 2018, the Australian visa rules will undergo further change. Theses changes will impact on visa pathways for international students who hope to apply for one of the following visas after they have completed their studies:

  • The Subclass 457 visa (4 year employer sponsored temporary work visa) will disappear and will be replaced by the Temporary skills Shortage visa (TSS visa)
  • International student graduates will require at least 2 years relevant work experience before they can become eligible to apply for a TSS visa.
  • This means that in most instances, new graduates will not be able to apply for a TSS visa upon completion of their studies.
  • The subclass 186 visa (employer sponsored permanent residence visa. This visa is also called the Employer Nomination Scheme or ENS visa)
  • International student graduates will require at least 3 years relevant work experience before they can become eligible to apply for a 186 visa.
  • This means that in most instances, new graduates will not be able to apply for a 186 visa upon completion of their studies.
  • The subclass 187 visa (employer sponsored permanent residence visa that is available in regional parts of Australia. This visa is also called the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa or RSMS visa.)
  • International student graduates will require at least 3 years relevant work experience before they can become eligible to apply for a 187 visa.
  • This means that in most instances, new graduates will not be able to apply for a 187 visa upon completion of their studies.

A small number of international students (and many of these will be mature students) may be able to obtain a sponsorship at the end of their studies if they gained sufficient relevant work experience in a particular field before coming to Australia to study and can also meet the relevant visa requirements.

Permanent and Provisional Residence visas that do not require an employer sponsor

The subclass 189 visa (Skilled Independent visa)

  • This is a points tested visa that does not require State or Territory nomination.
  • The application process requires an intending visa applicant to submit an Expression of Interest in a government online system called SkillSelect.
  • SkillSelect is a fully automated system that analyses data electronically and issues invitations to submit visa applications on the basis of points scored and occupation ceilings. The highest point scores are given priority. Federal and State government policy may also affect the selection and invitation process.
  • The minimum points required to receive an invitation to submit a 189 visa application is 60 points, but the reality is that many intending visa applicants will need to be able to score 65, 70 or even 75 points to receive an invitation. This is often achievable with careful planning.

The subclass 190 visa and 489 visa

  • These are points tested visas (EOI and Invitation) that require a State or Territory nomination.
  • Western Australia offers sponsorship to a variety of medical professionals and nursingprofessionals.
  • The minimum points required to receive an invitation to submit a 190 or 489 visa application is 60 points, but the reality is that many intending visa applicants will need to be able to score 65, 70 or even 75 points to receive an invitation. This is often achievable with careful planning.

Choosing to study in a State or Territory that offers nomination to international students does not guarantee that an international student will be able to apply for a permanent or provisional residence visa at the completion of their studies. Many international students will not be able to achieve the points needed for permanent residence at the completion of their studies. These students may need post study work experience to gain extra points and may need to move up an age bracket (often from 24 to 25 years) in order to be able to achieve the additional points required for permanent residence purposes.

The Subclass 485 visa (The Temporary Graduate visa)

The Australian government introduced the Subclass 485 visa to enable international students to spend an extra 2, 3 or 4 years working in Australia at the end of their studies. This can help international students to build up the points required for permanent residence purposes. Completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree can provide an international student with an opportunity to spend an extra 2 years in Australia; a Master’s Degree (by research) can provide an extra 3 years in Australia and a PhD can provide an extra 4 years in Australia as long as the international student can meet the subclass 485 visa requirements.

The beauty of the subclass 485 visa for an international student who can meet the subclass 485 visa requirements is that they will be granted a visa that gives them an opportunity to:

  • find a good job and gain work experience in their field of study (to get extra points)
  • improve their English test result (to get extra points)
  • move into another age bracket (usually 24 to 25 years) (to get extra points)
  • move to another State or Territory for work and 190/489 nomination (to get extra points) OR
  • secure a 457 sponsorship once they have the required work experience

Migration planning can play a critical part in an international student’s journey to permanent residence.

It is critical that international students think very carefully when choosing an Australian university. The quality of a student’s education; employment opportunities; the cost of living and a student’s personal safety are more important than ever. Careful migration planning is more important than ever.

The quality of a student’s education is important to employers. An international student who has studied in Western Australia can have have a much better chance of getting a good job in Western Australia.

Why study in Western Australia?

  • Western Australia’s economy is growing quickly
  • Western Australia’s unemployment rate is falling and 40,000 new full time jobs have been added since the beginning of this year
  • Many Western Australian employers love international students because they are hard working
  • There are hundreds and hundreds of graduate jobs currently being advertised in Western Australia
  • Western Australian universities are amongst the very best in the world
  • Graduates from Western Australian universities are highly respected by employers
  • Perth is amongst the safest cities in the world
  • Western Australians enjoys the best weather and lifestyle in Australia
  • Perth is currently one of the cheapest Australian cities to live in
  • Studying at a top Western Australia university gives international students a great opportunity for academic and personal development in a safe, high quality student environment
  • Western Australia is a happy and incredibly multicultural State. According to The Economist, Perth is now the 6th most liveable city in the whole world! Now that takes some beating!

At the end of their studies, the 485 visa gives an international student graduate an opportunity to sample the other States and Territories of Australia … but lots of international students find good jobs in Western Australia, become permanent residents in Western Australia and choose to bring up their families families in Western Australia. Western Australia is a great place to study!

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