Many international students come to Australia to study and while they are here, fall in love with our beautiful country.
For many years the Subclass 457, 186 (in a few instances) and 187 visa programs have provided viable pathways for many international students to remain in Australia after their studies were completed. These pathways have been impacted by a number of recent and impending changes to these visa programs:
- The list of occupations which can be used for the 457 visa has been reduced
- Certain 457 occupations are now only eligible for a 2 year visa with one 2 year renewal onshore and no pathway to permanent residence
- Since March 2017 the Western Australian State government is no longer accepting new applications to certify positions in the Perth region for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – 187 visa.
- From March 2018, two years full time work experience will be required in order to be eligible apply for the TSS visa (which will replace the 457)
- From March 2018 the 186 and 187 visa programs will both require an occupation on the MLTSSL.
- From March 2018, three years full time post qualification work experience will be required in order to be eligible to apply for a 186 or 187 visa
These changes will make it impossible for the majority of international students to use any of these visa pathways immediately after course completion.
Considering other potential visa pathways will become increasingly important for international students keen to remain in Australia after the completion of their studies. These pathways could include:
- Training Visa (Subclass 407)
- Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)
- Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) or Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)
- General Skilled Migration visas (Subclasses 189, 190 and 489)
If your objective is to become an Australian permanent resident and you don’t have a Australian partner then the visas in the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program may provide a viable option. The GSM visa program requires you to submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect and then wait for an Invitation to submit a visa application. Not everyone is invited! These visas are points tested. A minimum of 60 points is required, with some occupations requiring higher scores because of competition with other applicants (the highest scoring applicants will be invited first). Points are awarded for a variety of things, including:
- Your level of English – up to 20 points can be gained for your ability, so work hard on this!
- The level of qualification you complete (e.g. PHD, Masters, Bachelors, Diploma, Trades)
- Where you study in Australia (eligible Regional study is worth extra points)
- How long you study in Australia (2 years full time minimum to gain points)
- Your post-qualification work experience. (More experience = more points)
Many students will not be eligible to apply for a General Skilled Migration visa on completion of their course of study, as they will not have enough points.
If you need points from work experience then the 407, 485, 417 or 462 visas may be available to you at the end of your studies depending on where you come from, if you have held one of these visas before and how old you are.
For most students, careful planning will be needed to create a viable pathway. The earlier you start, the better your chances of success!