How To Get PR in Australia: Visas, Eligibility & Application

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International Students want to know how they can get Australian PR.


Australia consistently ranks among the world's most desirable places to live due to its dynamic cities, stunning natural beauty, and thriving economy.


Becoming a permanent resident (PR) is the key to integrating into Australian society and building a future here. While the process takes dedication, this comprehensive guide will simplify the journey and equip you with strategies.



1. What Does It Mean to Be a Permanent Resident of Australia?


As a permanent resident, you can enjoy many of the same rights as citizens:


  • Indefinite Stay: Live and work in Australia without time limitations.

  • Study Opportunities: Access Australian educational institutions with potential eligibility for certain student loans.

  • Healthcare Access: Benefit from Medicare, Australia's subsidised healthcare system.

  • Social Support: Receive some social security benefits (subject to eligibility).

  • Sponsorship: Bring eligible relatives to Australia through sponsorship pathways.

  • Pathway to Citizenship: Apply for Australian citizenship after fulfilling specific residency requirements.


Important Note: Even with PR, you must maintain a connection to Australia. Extended stays outside the country might require a Resident Return Visa to preserve your status.



2. The Primary Paths to Australian Permanent Residency


Australia's immigration policies create diverse avenues for eligible individuals to gain permanent residency:


  • Skilled Migration: The most common path to attract skilled workers who meet Australia's workforce needs.

  • Family Stream: Prioritises family unity, enabling spouses, partners, parents, and dependent relatives of citizens or PRs to join them in Australia.

  • Business/Investment: Aimed at successful entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals contributing significantly to the Australian economy.

  • Humanitarian Program: Offers protection and permanent residency to refugees or those facing persecution in their home country (this pathway is limited).



3. Let's Deep Dive: The Skilled Migration Path


Let's explore the skilled migration pathway in detail:


  • Skilled Occupation Lists: Start by checking if your profession is on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). These lists are updated to reflect Australia's changing economic demands.


  • Skills Assessment: Each profession has a designated Skills Assessing Authority. Contact the relevant authority for your field to understand their specific requirements, which often involve document verification, work experience validation, and sometimes exams.


  • The Points Test:  Australia's points-based system favours applicants with in-demand skills, strong English proficiency, relevant work experience, and other advantages. Key factors for high scores include:


    • Age (ideal range is 25-32 years)

    • English Proficiency (aim for superior scores on recognised tests like IELTS or PTE)

    • Educational Qualifications (higher-level degrees garner more points)

    • Overseas and Australian Work Experience (relevance to your nominated occupation is crucial)

    • Partner Skills

    • Studying in Regional Australia

    • Professional Year Program Completion


  • Expression of Interest (EOI):  Submit an EOI through the SkillSelect online system. This signals your desire to be considered for a skilled visa, but it is not a formal application.


  • Invitations: The Australian government or state/territory governments might invite you to apply for a skilled visa if your EOI profile is competitive. Receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is a significant step!



4. Understanding Your Skilled Visa Options


The skilled migration stream offers three main visa subclasses:


  • Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa: Designed for those with exceptionally in-demand skills who don't have state/territory or employer sponsorship. Competition is high, so ensure your points total far exceeds the minimum.

  • Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated Visa: State or territory nomination boosts your candidacy by an additional five points. Research which regions are actively seeking your skills.

  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional Visa: Requires commitment to living and working in a designated regional area. Often provides a faster track to permanent residency.



5. The Detailed Application Process


After you receive an ITA (Invitation to Apply ), it's time to take these actions:


  1. Gather Documentation: Prepare extensive evidence supporting the claims made in your EOI, including qualification certificates, employment records, identity documents, and more.

  2. Complete Medical Exams: Applicants must undergo health screenings by designated doctors to meet Australian health standards.

  3. Obtain Character Checks: Secure police certificates from any country where you've lived for substantial periods to demonstrate good character.

  4. Lodge Your Visa Application: Submit all required forms and supporting documentation to the Department of Home Affairs. Pay the applicable visa fees.

  5. Potential Interview: In certain cases, you might be called for an interview with an immigration officer.

  6. Visa Decision: The Department of Home Affairs is carefully reviewing your application. Approval typically takes several months.



6. Processing Timeframes


The timeframe for obtaining PR through skilled migration varies. Here's a general breakdown:


  • Skills Assessment: 45-60 days on average, depending on the authority.

  • EOI: Processing time depends on your points score and the demand for your skills.

  • Visa Application: 3-5 months is typical, but complex cases can take longer.



7. Additional Pathways to Permanent Residency


While the skilled stream is highly popular, explore these alternatives if they better suit your circumstances:


  • Family Stream Visas: If you are a close relative (spouse, partner, parent, dependent child) of an Australian citizen or PR, you might be eligible for a family-based visa.

  • Business/Investment Visas: Australia welcomes entrepreneurs and investors. Meet specific financial and business experience requirements to qualify for visas linked to business establishment or significant investment.



8. Tips for a Successful PR Journey


  • Start Early: Immigration processes take time. Begin your research well in advance.

  • Seek Professional Guidance: While independent applications are possible, Registered Migration Agents offer expertise, especially for complex cases.

  • Stay Updated: Australian immigration policies can change. Consult the Department of Home Affairs website for the latest information.

  • Attention to Detail: Meticulous organisation and accuracy are critical for visa applications.



9. Unique Pathways to Permanent Residency


Employer-Sponsored Permanent Residency:  For those who secure a job offer in Australia, there are specific pathways toward permanent residency:


  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186): Designed for skilled workers nominated by an approved Australian employer. This visa offers a direct pathway to permanent residency.

  • Temporary Residence Transition (Subclass 186) Stream: This option is available to holders of the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa or the subclass 457 visa. After working for their employer in a nominated position for a certain period, they may become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

  • The Distinguished Talent Visa (Subclass 124 and 858): This pathway is for internationally recognised individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent and achievements in their field, which could include professions, sports, the arts, or research. It offers benefits like a streamlined application process and the potential for fast-tracked permanent residency.



10. Strategic Considerations for a Successful PR Journey


  • The Power of Regional Migration:  Living and working in designated regional areas of Australia can significantly improve your chances of securing permanent residency. Many skilled visas offer regional pathways with reduced points requirements or faster processing times. Research programs like the Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) to understand the opportunities available.

  • Maximising Partner Contributions: If you're applying for a skilled visa, your partner's qualifications, skills, and English language abilities can add valuable points to your application. Carefully evaluate how your partner's attributes can strengthen your candidacy for permanent residency.



11. Insider Tips for PR Success


  • Be Aware of Occupation Ceilings:  Australia sets limits on the number of skilled visas granted within certain occupations each year. If your occupation is subject to a ceiling, strategise your application timing carefully to maximise your chances of being selected.

  • Invest in Skill Development:  Even if you currently meet the points requirement, proactively gaining additional skills, qualifications, or work experience can make you a more competitive candidate in the long run. It helps future-proof your application should Australian immigration priorities change.

  • Stay Informed on State Nominations:  Each state and territory has unique skilled occupation lists and requirements for their nomination programs. Be sure to consult the latest information on their websites to discover which regions are actively seeking your skills.


Disclaimer:  Australian immigration policies are subject to change. Always refer to the official Department of Home Affairs website ( for the most up-to-date and accurate information throughout your application process.



12. Success Story: From Skilled Migrant to Proud Australian


Sarah, a software engineer from the UK, always dreamed of living in Australia. She meticulously prepared for her skills assessment, invested in English test preparation, and maximised her points. After receiving an ITA for the Skilled Independent Visa, Sarah's complete and well-organised application ensured a smooth process. Within a year, she held her Australian PR visa and now calls Melbourne home.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  • Can I work on a skilled visa before I get PR? Some skilled provisional visas allow you to work in Australia while your PR visa is being processed.

  • How long is the commitment for regional visas? Typically, you must live and work in a designated regional area for a set period (usually 2-3 years) before becoming eligible for a permanent regional visa.

  • Do I need a job offer for a skilled visa? Specific visas require sponsorship, but others, like the Skilled Independent Visa, don't necessitate an employment offer beforehand.



Your Australian Dream Awaits!


Becoming a permanent resident of Australia opens doors to opportunity, adventure, and a fulfilling life.


While the journey demands careful preparation, the rewards are truly exceptional. With the knowledge and strategies outlined in this guide, you're well-equipped to begin building your new future.



Helpful Resources


  • Department of Home Affairs: The primary source for all visa, policy, and procedural information:

  • SkillSelect: Explore requirements, submit your EOI, and find details on points calculation:

  • State and Territory Nomination Programs: Discover which areas are actively seeking your skills; each region has its own website.

  • Registered Migration Agents: The Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) provides a searchable list:



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