You can migrate to Australia based on your overseas qualifications and work experience or based on Australian qualifications.
If you are not eligible for a Skilled Migration visa based on your overseas qualifications you can study in Australia for 2 years and then apply for a Skilled Migration visa.
International students (and family members) who complete a 2 year diploma, degree, or trade qualification in Australia may apply for a Skilled Migration visa at the end of the course. This application may be for a Graduate, Provisional or Permanent Skilled Migration visa depending on the factors set out below.
The factors that directly affect the ability to apply for a Skilled Migration visa at the end of your course include:
- the duration of the course;
- whether the studies are related to an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) or an occupation in demand in one of the Australian states;
- whether you have previous work experience in the occupation;
- the sector of the course (ELICOS, trade certificate, bachelor degree, postgraduate diploma, master’s degree or doctorate);
- the physical location of the institute;
- your age and level of English at the time of graduation; and
- the level of your studies.
On applying for a Skilled Migration visa at the end of your studies you will be granted a bridging visa while your skilled visa is being processed. This bridging visa will allow you to work full time in Australia until your Skilled Migration visa is granted.
A Graduate visa allows you and your family to live and work in Australia for 18 months after finishing your Australian studies, and then to apply for a further provisional or permanent visa. A Graduate visa puts you directly on the path to permanent residence and Australian citizenship.
To be eligible for a Graduate visa after your studies you or your partner (including same sex) must:
- complete a two year diploma, degree or trade certificate in an occupation related to an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (there are about 190 occupations on the List);
- speak reasonable English (score at least 6 out of 9 on each band of the General IELTS);
- be provisionally accredited in an occupation on the Medium and Long‑term Strategic Skills List related to your studies; and
- be less than 45 years old.
A Graduate visa allows you and your family to live, work without restriction or study anywhere in Australia for 18 months. After this time you may be able to apply for a further provisional or permanent skilled visa.
Applying for a visa after the Graduate visa
To be able to apply for a further Skilled visa after your Graduate visa you must work in your occupation for 12 months after graduation. The bridging visa and Graduate visa combined will give you about 2 years to gain this work experience. This Australian work experience will enable you to satisfy the work experience criteria for a Skilled Migration visa and score additional points on the points test.
In some cases depending on the course you study and your points test score, you may also be able to apply for a permanent visa after completing your course.
International students (and family members) who complete a two year degree or trade qualification in Australia may also apply for a Post Study Work visa at the end of the course.
Graduates of a Bachelor or Masters degree receive a two year work visa, Masters Research Students receive a three year work visa, and PHD graduates receive a four year work visa. These visas do not lead to Skilled Migration but give the holders a chance to live and work in Australia and potentially be sponsored by an Australian company or a state government. These visas are not open to trades or diploma level occupations.
The advantage of the Post Study work visa is that you can study any Masters course, for example courses that are not closely related to an occupation on the SOL, and in effect receive a two year work visa at the end of the course. This would mean you would be in Australia for four years.
The disadvantage of the Post Study Work visa is that it does not put you on an independent path to applying for a permanent visa at the end of your studies. This means the fate of your migration to Australia will not rest in your hands but in the hands of potential business sponsors.
To discover whether you are eligible for a Student Work visa or to receive your personalised Study to Migrate strategy we advise you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration agents.