Whether you're an international student or a working professional, this guide is designed to make the complex permanent residency (PR) application journey easier to understand and navigate.
Australia's excellent education system, cultural diversity, and strong economy make it an appealing destination for individuals looking to settle Down Under permanently.
In this blog, you will learn how to get permanent residency (PR) in Australia, including an overview of the SkillSelect migration program, the eligibility criteria for PR, qualifications, work experience needed, skill assessments, point tests, visa options, cost, and more.
1. What Is The Australian Migrating Program?
The Migrating Australian program welcomes individuals of all backgrounds without any form of discrimination based on gender, ethnic origin, religion, or color.
If you are a non-resident seeking to live, study, or work in Australia, you'll be pleased to discover a wide range of visa options available to you. These include skilled visas, sponsored work visas, business visas, and student visas.
To identify the most suitable Australian visa for your specific requirements, the Visa Finder tool offered by the Department of Home Affairs can assist you in finding the appropriate visa.
2. What Is A Permanent Resident (PR) in Australia?
A permanent resident of Australia has many entitlements and rights of a citizen, but there are a few differences - A citizen can enter and leave Australia anytime. However, if PR citizens choose to travel overseas, they must ensure that they have a permanent visa with a valid travel authority.
Citizens can also vote in Australian Government elections, but PR visa holders cannot. The government agency gives eligibility for Australian services and benefits for both citizens and non-citizens.
3. Migrating To Australia Through The SkillSelect Migration Program
International students often seek permanent residency in Australia upon graduation, leading them to consider migrating through the SkillSelect program.
Now, let's explore what the SkillSelect migration program entails and how it facilitates the path to becoming a permanent resident in Australia.
4. What Is SkillSelect?
SkillSelect is an online government system that enables aspiring migrants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). An EOI is not a visa application. It is proof that you want to be considered for a skilled visa to migrate to Australia.
With the help of SkillSelect, you can either be invited by the Australian government to submit a visa application or nominated for a skilled visa by various Australian employers or state governments. SkillSelect simplifies the visa application process and improves skilled migrants' employment prospects.
5. Steps To Get Australian PR Through The Skilled Migration Program
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
The first step is to identify the occupation you fall under and whether your profession is on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSO). The visa you choose depends on where your occupation is listed there. It must correspond to your chosen profession.
If the MLTSSL or STSO list doesn't list your occupation, you can not apply for a General Skilled Migration Visa. We know it can be complicated to understand, so you should consult an experienced migration agent.
Only these professionals can identify your situation can help you find the best migration pathway for your circumstances.
Step 2: Skills Assessment
The next step is determining if you need a positive Skills Assessment for your chosen occupation. It is also called "career validation" or recognition. This is a crucial step, as each discipline has its Skills Assessment Authority.
Engineers – Engineers Australia
Nurses – Australian Nursing & Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC)
IT Professionals – Australian Computer Society (ACS)
Each skill assessment authority has specific requirements that you must meet to be eligible. Some of these include qualification checks, work experience, and having a high level of English, meaning reaching a high score in either the ILTES or PTE English test.
We recommend familiarising yourself with your skill assessment authority, which depends on your chosen occupation. Knowing the minimum requirements is essential before applying for any visa.
Step 3: Points Test
The Skilled Migration Visas (189, 190 and 491) are point test vias, meaning you must meet specific requirements to receive points for each category.
The Department of Home Affairs uses this system to identify which applicant has the skills and experience they need to advance the country. They know in which industry there is a skill shortage and try to close this gap by selecting only candidates meeting their standards.
You need to reach at least 65 points to be eligible to submit an expression of interest through SkillSelect for any of the three visas we mentioned before.
Step 4: English Test
Anyone applying for these permanent residency visas in Australia must show evidence of at least Competent English, scoring at least 6 in each English test band: Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking.
The department of immigration is accepting the following English test: IELTS, Cambridge, TOEFL and PTE. You are not required to sit an English exam if you have a UK, US, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand passport.
If you need more than 65 points for your nominated occupation to receive an invitation from SkillSelect, you can try achieving a higher score on your English test, which can help. For example, if you score 7 in each IELTS or PTE test component, you will receive 10 points; for a score of 8, you will receive 20 points.
Step 5: Expression of Interest
Even if you meet all requirements to receive an invitation from the Australian Government through Skill Select, there is no guarantee for a skilled migration visa invitation. You can only apply for a PR visa when you have received an invitation and not before.
The Australian Government must invite you first for the following visas: 189 Skilled Independent visas, Skilled Nominated Visa 190, or Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491).
You must submit an expression of interest via Skill Select to receive an invitation.
It is an online system that automatically selects people based on the points they have achieved in their submitted application. The higher the point count, the better their chance of receiving an invitation for a PR visa.
This is why you should always aim for more than 65 points (the minimum score for an application). Some occupations are in high demand, and you might never receive an invitation if you only have 65 points. The Skilled Independent 189 Visas are the most sought-after ones and are also the most competitive.
Step 6: Applying For a Visa
When you finally receive an invitation from SkillSelect, the last step before getting your permanent visa in Australia is lodging a visa application.
That's where you must prove everything you claimed at the points test stage and Expression of Interest.
If you plan to migrate to Australia, we recommend working with a Registered Migration Agent. Some students are fine doing all the work since all information is publicly available to achieve permanent residency.
However, others prefer the help of migration agents who take up the work for them. Hiring migration agents are costly. Try to do everything by yourself if you feel confident enough.
6. What Are The Most Popular Australian PR Visa Options For International Students?
The Work-stream Permanent Residence Visas are the most popular options for international students. This visa category is for people with the skills Australia requires or those seeking sponsorship from an Australian employer to work in Australia.
International students can apply for any one of the following permanent visa options under this workstream:
7. The Skilled Independent Visa Points Test
The visa applicants must pass the point test mark to get permanent residency in Australia. The minimum number of points needed to receive an invitation for the Skilled Independent Visa application is 65.
However, the minimum points to receive an invitation depend on your chosen occupation. Some professions on the skilled occupation list are more competitive than others.
Usually, it is easier to receive an invitation for PR with an occupation in very high demand where not many people have the qualifications and skills needed.
The Skilled Visa Applicants May Score Points According To The Following Criteria:
Age (between 18 years to 45 years)
Educational qualification level (for example, diploma, bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctorate).
Overseas or Australian skilled employment experience in a nominated skilled occupation or closely associated field.
It is mandatory to complete a two or more years course in Australia.
Living and studying in regional Australia
Certification in one of the community languages in Australia.
Completing a government-authorized Professional Year Program (PYP) in Australia.
The total points determine your eligibility for PR. Remember, the higher you score, the better your chances of being invited to apply for PR.
You can find below all possible ways to acquire points to gain Australian PR:
Points You Can Receive For Your Age:
|18 but less than 25 years||25|
|25 but less than 33 years||30|
|33 but less than 40 years||25|
|40 but less than 45 years||15|
Points You Can Receive For Your English Skills:
Overseas Employment Experience Points - (Outside of Australia):
Number of Years
|Less than 3 years||0|
|At least 3 but less than 5 years||5|
|At least 5 but less than 8 years||10|
|At least 8 years||15|
Australian Employment Experience Points - (Inside of Australia):
Number of Years
|Less than 1 year||0|
|At least 1 but less than 3 years||5|
|At least 3 but less than 5 years||10|
|At least 5 but less than 8 years||15|
|At least 8 years||20|
Educational Qualifications - Points
|When you have a Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or from another institution that meets recognised standards.||20|
|When you possess either a Bachelor's degree from an Australian educational institution or a Bachelor's qualification from another educational institution with a recognised standard.||15|
|A diploma or a vocational (trade) qualification obtained from an educational institution in Australia.||10|
|Obtained a qualification or award recognised by the appropriate assessing authority as appropriate for your nominated skilled occupation.||10|
Note: You will receive points for your highest qualification only. (Applicable to points-based migration)
Specialist Education Qualification Points
|A Masters's degree in research or a Doctorate from an Australian educational institution that includes at least two academic years of study in a relevant field.||10|
Note: The postgraduate degree by research must be from an Australian education institution. Also, the degree must be after at least two academic years of study.
Australian Study Requirement - Points
|You must have at least one degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution that meets the Australian study requirement.||5|
Professional Year in Australia (PYP) - Points
|You completed a Professional Year in Australia||5|
Note: You must have completed the Professional Year (PYP) when applying for the visa. To receive these points, the PYP must have been in Accounting, ICT / Computing or Engineering and:
In your nominated occupation or a related occupation
Completed over at least 12 months
Completed in Australia before you are invited to apply for a visa
Credentialled Community Language - Points
|Have a recognised qualification in a credentialled community language||5|
Study In Regional Australia - Points
|You have completed at least one degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution while living and studying in an eligible regional area of Australia.||5|
Partner Skills - Points
Your partner must also be an applicant for this visa. They must meet the age, English and skill criteria.
Your partner must apply to the same visa subclass to receive the points. They also can not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.
You also will need to provide proof that when you received the invitation to apply for this visa, your partner:
|Your partner must not be an Australian permanent resident or citizen to receive these points. Your partner must also be part of this visa application. They need to have competent English.
|You are single, or your partner is a permanent resident or Australian citizen,||10|
8. Eligibility Criteria To Apply For A Skilled Independent Visa
You need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect and wait until you receive an invitation to apply for the visa.
When invited to apply for the visa, your age must be under 45.
You must go through a medical examination and fulfil the minimum health requirements.
You need to nominate a skilled occupation based on your qualifications and skills. The occupation you choose must be listed on the Skilled Occupation List. You must also get an appropriate skills assessment for your nominated occupation before creating an EOI.
You must also provide a valid English test to demonstrate your proficiency in English.
Once you receive an invitation for the visa, you need to prove that you are of good character. You must sign an Australian values statement and submit police certificates, qualification evidence, skills assessment, and other essential documents.
For more information on different permanent residency visa options, visit the Department of Home Affairs website in the SkillSelect section.
9. How To Apply For A Skilled Independent Visa?
If you are planning to apply for a Skilled Independent Visa, then you need to take the following steps:
Prepare all information and arrange supporting documents such as English language test results and skills assessments.
Check if your occupation is listed on the Skilled Occupation List.
Confirm that you meet the basic requirements and score the minimum point test mark.
Submit the EOI for the Subclass 189 Visa online through the SkillSelect website.
After completing the EOI process, the system will give results or score points based on your claims. SkillSelect will further process your claims, and then if you are invited to apply for the visa, you’ll receive an invitation from SkillSelect.
You’ll get around 60 days to create a valid visa application online. After 60 days, the invitation will expire. It’s essential to keep in mind that not everyone who submits an EOI will receive an invitation to apply for the Skilled Independent Visa.
Your Expression of Interest will stay in the SkillSelect database for two years. In that period, you can update your EOS and make any changes - for instance, adding qualifications, work experience, or another English test to gain more points to support your application.
10. Skilled Independent Visa Cost
The cost for the Skilled Independent Visa 189 application starts at AUD 4,240. Additional charges apply to those visa applicants who want to bring their family along to live in Australia.
Other costs may be associated with the Skilled Independent Visa, such as the police certificate, medical examinations, skills assessments, translated documents and certification, and English language tests.
There is also a different visa option, similar to the skilled independent visa 189, the Skilled Nominated Visa 190, which can bring you the same results through state sponsorship. When a state in Australia is willing to sponsor you, this visa allows you to gain an additional five points. You can select this type of visa on SkillSelect before submitting your EOS.
Note: fees are subject to change at any time. To stay updated, visit the SkillSelect website.
11. The Skilled Independent Visa Subclass 190 Visa
Subclass 190 visa is particularly for aspiring individuals with the skills required in specific territories or states of the country. Applicants under this visa must be able to meet a point score of 65 points or more. One of the most significant advantages of applying for the Subclass 190 visa is that it gets processed quickly.
The subclass 190 visa is points-based, allowing skilled employees nominated by an Australian territory or state to live and work in Australia. This visa is for skilled tradespeople and experts in high-demand occupations in Australia’s labour market.
Eligibility Criteria To Apply For The Subclass 190 Visa
Your age must be between 18 and 45 years.
After submitting the EOI, you must be nominated or sponsored by an Australian territory or state.
You must have experience in one of the nominated occupations listed under Australia’s Skilled Occupation List.
You must score a minimum of 65 points on the points test.
You must fulfil the basic requirements for Skilled Migration, which include health, English language proficiency, and character checks.
You need to complete the skills assessment with the relevant assessing authority for the occupation chosen by you.
Benefits of Applying For The Subclass 190 Visa
Subclass 190 is a permanent visa that lets you stay in Australia for an unlimited time. However, with this visa, you can travel in and out of Australia as often as you like, but only five years from the date the permit is issued.
After five years, you will require an RRV (Resident Return Visa) to re-enter or return to Australia as a permanent resident.
The Subclass 190 visa allows you to do the following:
Apply for Australian Citizenship.
Work and study in Australia without any restrictions.
Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent or temporary visas.
Subscribe to the universal healthcare scheme of Australia.
Stay in Australia for an indefinite period.
This visa has obligations, such as the need to live in a nominated territory or state for at least two years. After two years, you can apply for a status change and work or live anywhere in Australia.
12. General Eligibility Requirements To Get PR In Australia
You can apply for PR under several visa categories with different eligibility criteria. However, some standard eligibility requirements are as follows:
13. How Long Does It Take To Get Your PR Visa Processed?
PR visa processing can be divided into different stages. The processing time for each step may differ due to vast differences in structure.
Here is the complete analysis of the time taken at each stage:
Note: The total PR visa processing time depends on the time taken to complete each stage.
14. Gaining Permanent Residency With The Temporary Graduate Visa
You can also apply for the Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass 485 to obtain a permanent residency later. This visa enables eligible international students to temporarily live and work in Australia after completing their two-year studies.
Suppose you cannot fulfil the Skilled Independent Visa requirements. In that case, a Temporary Graduate Visa offers an excellent opportunity to stay in Australia to improve your English Language ability or gather professional work experience. This can improve your chances of gaining permanent residency after some time has passed.
When applying for the Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass 485, you need to consider the following points:
The visa applicant needs to have completed a course with a minimum duration of two years in Australia.
Two work streams are associated with the Temporary Graduate Visa - The Post-Study Work Stream and the Graduate Work Stream.
Visa applications are submitted directly through the DIBP.
For more information on the Temporary Graduate Visa, visit the Department of Home Affairs.
15. Other Permanent Residency Visa Options
Australia provides a range of other options to apply for a permanent residency visa.
Depending on the requirements and eligibility, you can pick the best option. Here are two other popular Visa options to obtain PR in Australia:
Now that you know everything about how to get a Permanent Residency in Australia, you can follow the above points carefully and start with the application process, keeping in mind all the essential details.
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