How student can improve chances of gaining Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia after Study in Australia

Many international students studying in Australia stay in the country with the hope that one day they will become permanent residents and carry on their stay in Australia for good. However students should remember that General Skilled Migration rules keep changing. This is an uncertain path and there is no guarantee to get Permanent residency after Study in Australia. On these guidelines, our intention is to provide an easy-to-understand outline of the main things that international students need to be aware about General Skilled Migration and possible ways to maximize their chances of gaining Permanent Residency (PR).

The most common pathway for students is to get Post study work visa after completion of studies and then they can apply for General Skilled Migration to achieve Permanent Residency (PR). There is a lot of information on General Skilled Migration / Immigration / Permanent Residency (PR) on the internet. However sometimes it’s difficult to figure out about your chances for Permanent Residency (PR) and what you need to do next. Many students ask a friend who has applied before, but the rules changes so quickly that this can be dangerous. For example many students discuss about SOL list and CSOL list. However The SOL list has been replaced by the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and CSOL list has been replaced by the combined list of eligible skilled occupations.

Summarized tips to improve chances of gaining Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia after Study in Australia:

  • Apply for Post Study work visas / Graduate Temporary Visas first, after completion of your studies.
  • Related Work Experience during Post Study work visas / Graduate Temporary Visas is most important. Work Experience before study in Australia is useful in certain circumstances.
  • Choose a course with possible outcome of occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Next best approach is to choose course with possible outcome of occupation in a combined list of eligible skilled occupations. These lists keep changing every year. Please keep in mind your Interest and skills as well. Demand is important but Interest and skills are also important for Potential employment.
  • Make sure to choose course of 2 academic year’s duration to fulfill the requirement of study in Australia.
  • Keep improving English and IELTS Score. This is most important to increase EOI score and chances of Permanent Residency.
  • State nomination can be very advantageous for international students.
  • Students completing 2 years of study in a regional campus receive 5 extra points.
  • Keep looking for possibility of employer sponsorship as well.
  • Think about professional year if required to get enough points.
  • Use Bridging Visa wisely.
  • Understand Skill selection criteria and keep yourself update with the changes.

Detailed information to improve chances of gaining Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia after Study in Australia:

After study, apply for Post Study work visa / Graduate Temporary Visas first. This can be helpful in following ways:

    • Obtaining extra points for study, work, professional year or doing further English testing
    • Better prospects of obtaining sponsorship by an employer
    • Ability to move interstate to increase chances of obtaining a state nomination
    • Bridging visa after completion of studies to facilitate lodgment of a GSM visa

This visa is for international students who have recently graduated from an Australian Educational Institution. It lets you stay in Australia temporarily after you have finished your studies. The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily after you have finished your studies. Students are only able to access the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) once as a primary applicant.

This visa has two streams:

1. Post-Study Work stream – This is for international students who graduated with a higher education degree from an Australian education provider, regardless of their field of study. A visa in this stream can be granted for 2 to 5 years after Bachelors Degree, Bachelors Degree with Honors, Masters by Coursework Degree or Masters (extended) Degree.
2. Graduate Work stream – This is for international students with an eligible qualification who graduated with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). A visa in this stream is granted for 18 months from the date of grant.

Both streams require applicants to have completed a qualification mark taking at least 2 academic years of study in Australia and must have fulfilled English language ability requirement (Overall score of at least 6 Band in IELTS with a minimum a score of 5 in each of the four test components OR Equivalent in TOEFL / PTE / CAE etc…). You must be seated for the English language test in the three years before you apply, and the results should be lodged with your application.

For more information about Graduate Temporary Visas (Graduate Work / Post Study Work), Click on this link:

The first step for General Skilled Migration applicants is to choose which occupation to nominate and pass skills assessment in. To apply for a Points Tested Skilled Migration visa, at time of invitation you must nominate an occupation that is on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations. You must provide evidence that your skills have been assessed as suitable for your nominated occupation by the relevant assessing authority. The criteria for skills assessment are different for each occupation, and generally depend on qualifications, work experience, English language ability, registration or a combination of all of the above.

If possible, it is best to nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). There are only about 200 occupations on the MLTSSL, but if you can pass skills assessment in an MLTSSL, you can potentially apply for any General Skilled visa. Next best approach is to pass skills assessment in a combined list of eligible skilled occupations. There are over 450 occupations on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations, giving you a much wider range of occupations. However, if your occupation is not on the MLTSSL, you will need to attain sponsorship by either a State or Territory Government authority, or an employer.

Applicants for General Skilled Migration are required to nominate an eligible occupation from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSL). 
Applicants for the following visas can nominate an occupation from the MLTSL:
  • (Subclass 189) Skilled—Independent visas; and
  • (Subclass 489) Skilled—Regional (Provisional) visas by applicants who are not nominated by a State or Territory government agency; and
  • (Subclass 485) Temporary Graduate visas.
Applicants applying for Skilled Nomiated Subclass 190 visa, Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa (state nominated), Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 visa, Temporary worker (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa and Training Subclass 407 visa- Occupational Training Stream must nominate an occupation on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)

All General Skilled Migration visas require competency in English (6 or more in each of the 4 components of IELTS). One of the best ways to improve your chances of qualifying for general skilled migration / Permanent Residency (PR) is to achieve a level of English higher than competent English. If you can obtain a score of 7 or more in each component or the IELTS, or a “B Pass” in the Occupational English test, this will give you 10 points. A score of 8 or more in each component of IELTS, or an “A Pass” in the OET will give you 20 points. With a low level of English; it is difficult for an international student to achieve a passing score in the points test.

We recommend you to undertake IELTS preparation courses. The IELTS test is not just about how well you communicate in English – it also understands how the test works for you.

Up to 20 points are available for work experience in Australia. Work experience up to 10 years old can be counted. Instead, both work experience in Australia and overseas can be counted. For instance, if you have worked prior to studying in Australia, your work experience might give you some more points.

To be able to count work experience, the following criteria must be followed:

      • Closely Related: For points, your occupation related work experience will be counted. In addition, closely related skilled occupation can be counted as well.
      • Post Qualification: Work experience must be after completion of the relevant entry level qualification. This would generally be a bachelor degree, diploma or trade certificate depending on your occupation. Work whilst studying in Australia would not get counted, unless you had already completed an entry level qualification in your home country prior to studying here.
      • At least 20 hours per week: only weeks wherein you have worked for at least 20 hours can count as skilled.
      • In compliance with visa conditions: if you have breached visa conditions (E.g. by breaching the 40 hours per fortnight student visa condition 8105), your work experience will not be counted.

Qualification completion in Australia can assist greatly in meeting the pass marks. For instance:

        • 2 Academic Years: if you complete a qualification taking at least 2 academic years of study in Australia, this will give you 5 points and open the possibility of obtaining a Graduate Temporary Visa.
        • Degree Level or Higher Qualification: Many Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) occupations require a degree for skills assessment. Completing a degree or higher in Australia is also necessary for the Post Study Work stream of the Graduate Temporary Visa.
        • Regional Study: students completing 2 years of study in a regional campus receive 5 extra points. This also gives better access to state nomination opportunities for states and territories which require studies to be completed locally (E.g. Northern Territory).

Watch out for Exemptions: if you have exemptions or academic credits for overseas studies, these can affect whether you have enough points to apply. Avoid academic credits if possible if your course length is of 2 years.

State nomination can be very advantageous for international students because:

          • Extra points: 5 for sponsorship to live in a metropolitan area and 10 to live in a regional area.
          • Wider List of Occupations: students can nominate any occupation on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations rather than the shorter MLTSSL.
          • Skill Select Priority: students obtain an invitation as soon as the state or territory government completes the nomination, rather than having to wait for the fortnightly automated invitation rounds.

Many states and territories tend to require students to have studied in the area and/or have a job offer there.

There are two GSM visas which states and territories can nominate for:

            • Skilled – Nominated Subclass 190: A permanent visa, allowing you to live anywhere in the state or territory.
            • Skilled – Regional Provisional Subclass 489: A 4-year provisional visa required you to live and work in a regional area for 2 years to obtain permanent residence.

Many students find employer sponsorship as a good alternative to General Skilled Migration Visa. In general there is no skills assessment required; rather a wider range of occupations (Combined list of eligible skilled occupations) and a lower English requirement is enough.

The main options are:

            • 457 Temporary Work (Skilled)
            • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
            • Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS)

Many students are using the employer sponsored options. Among all, the RSMS option is the most attractive one for students who are willing to look for work outside the major capital cities.

Professional years are available for Accounting, Engineering and IT students. Students can complete a combination of classroom and on-the-job training sessions after completion of their main course, generally whilst holding a Graduate Temporary visa. This provides 5 extra points, as well as an English language concession for accounting students. Aside from extra points, your application may be processed more quickly if you complete a professional year.

Bridging visas can be a particularly tricky area for international students – getting this wrong can mean that you could end up being in Australia, illegally. Below are some of the most important things about bridging visas:

            • Lodging an Expression of Interest does not give you a bridging visa: you do not receive a bridging visa until you have received an invitation and lodge your GSM application.
            • Most students will not have enough time to lodge a GSM application prior to expiry of their student visa: as a result, many opt to apply for either a further student visa or a Graduate Temporary visa to maintain their status in Australia whilst they prepare for their GSM application.
            • Overseas Travel: overseas travel is possible whilst carrying on a bridging visa. However, you need to apply for a Bridging B visa prior to your travel. This involves payment of a fee and you will need to explain the reason for your travel.
            • Work Rights: students in general get full work rights on their bridging visas whilst awaiting for the outcome of their GSM application.

All applicants for permanent or provisional General Skilled Migration visas must pass through the Skill Select system. Under the Skill Select system, applicants must first lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI), and receive an invitation from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection before they can make an application for their General Skilled Migration visa.

Prior to lodging an EOI, it is highly recommended that you complete skills assessment and English language testing. This is because these requirements, as well as most of the points test criteria’s, operate on a “time of invitation” basis. That is, your eligibility is calculated as of the date you receive your invitation to apply.

For independent and family sponsored applicants, all EOIs are ranked by points score, then by date of lodgment of the EOI. Every 2 weeks, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection issues invitations to the highest ranked applicants via an automated process (automated rounds). For state nominated applicants, an invitation is issued automatically by the system as soon as the State or Territory Government completes the nomination.

To receive an invitation, you must meet the pass marks criteria for the skilled migration points test (currently 60 points). For each occupational grouping, a maximum number of invitations are set for each financial year (1 July to 30 June). Once this “Occupational Ceiling” is met, no further invitations can be issued for that financial year.

Australian immigration law is constantly changing. The following resources may assist in keeping on top of the changes:

    • Skill Select – DIBP Website: updates on EOI invitation rounds (
    • Migration Blog- DIBP: updates on changes to immigration laws (
    • ComLaw: migration legislation and updates (
    • Procedures Advice Manual: the Department of Immigration’s policy manual, not publicly available
    • State Migration Plans: Each state and territory government produces a list of occupations in demand in their area.
    • Skills Assessment Authorities: Each skills assessment authority has their own criteria. We recommend that you monitor the site for your occupation to pick up any changes.

We provides a number of resources for international students to keep on top of the changes, for instance: Our website will do the needful.


The above information sets out some of the most important factors that international students should bear in mind while thinking about applying for permanent residence.

Need Help?

If you would like a personalized assessment of your best pathway, please contact us for consultation through migration lawyer. Migration lawyer will provide you with an immigration roadmap which goes through all your options, costs and processing times so that you get to know where you stand.

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