­­­Planning your permanent visa options as an overseas student does not have to be an impossibility if you have received the right guidance at the appropriate stage and plan accordingly.  Below we have curated a list of what we think are some important considerations when thinking about applying for Australian permanent residency:

1. Thinking one step ahead prior to packing

Before boarding your flight to Australia, familiarise yourself with some basic information about the General Skilled Migration Program (‘GSM’).  As the Nominated Occupation is key to GSM, your choice of what degree you will study will be the first and one of the most important steps of your journey to Australian Permanent Residency.

As immigration policies change from time to time, it is important to seek professional advice on the most up-to-date policies and occupation list.  If you have already commenced your study in Australia, you can always explore opportunities to transfer your degree to ensure you are on the right track.

2. Location is important

There are some prestigious tertiary education providers based in regional areas of Australia.  Studying there may allow you to explore the ‘real stralia’ and provide you with a 5 point advantage over others when you apply for your GSM visa

3. Be a good student and visa holder

Prior to your arrival in Australia, know the conditions imposed on your visa and make sure not to breach any of the conditions when you are on your student visa.  Don’t work too hard that your work hours exceed 40 hours per fortnight or fail to attend the classes as prescribed by the visa conditions and in accordance with school policy.

4. Be prepared!  Plan early in the game

Obtain professional immigration advice in the penultimate year of your study.  Get professional and accurate advice regarding the eligibility requirements to apply for visas alongside a potential Skills Assessment, as early as possible.

The degree and qualification you study is important with obtaining a positive Skills Assessments.  However, it is not the only factor. Depending on your Nominated Occupation or the relevant assessing authorities’ requirements, the type of subjects you study may, in some cases, affect the result of your Skills Assessment.

5. Be greedy!

Get as many points as possible prior to the completion of your study.

Take GSM as an example – preparation work for some of the items include English Language points, Community Language points, and Partner Skill points.  These can all be commenced prior to the completion of your study.  You can attend tutoring schools in preparation for NAATI tests or English language tests during semester breaks.  If you wish to include your partner or spouse in the application, it is wise to seek professional advice on qualifying evidence or documentation which can prove the ongoing relationship and start preparing them accordingly.

6. It’s good to be in a relationship

If you are in a romantic relationship or de facto relationship, it’s a good idea to get professional advice regarding the evidence required when including your partner or spouse in your future permanent resident visa application and information in regard to how your partner may assist you to claim 5 extra points under Partner Skill Qualifications.

7. Keep yourself updated regarding the immigration framework in Australia

The policy and rules on Australian immigration may change from time to time.

It’s important for you to maintain contact with professional immigration lawyers to obtain updates, immigration insights and proactively prepare for any potential changes.

8. Keep working hard! You are almost there!

The subclass 485 visa is specifically designed for international students. It allows you to stay in Australia for another 2 to 4 years (depending on the qualifications you complete) after your student visa ends.

Do your best to achieve Proficient English or even Superior English, pass the Credentialed Community Language Test and complete a Professional Year Program (if available).

Lodge your Expression Of Interest (EOI) and visa application as soon as applicable.  The timing of lodging your EOI and visa application could also affect the result of obtaining your Australian permanent residency.

9. Permanent residence, now what?

Congratulations! You have been granted an Australian permanent resident visa! Your hard work has finally paid off.  Make sure you enrol your Medicare and convert your international driver licence into an Australian driver licence if you haven’t already.

It’s time to give back to your family who has been supporting you through your journey.  With your Australian permanent residence status, you may be able to sponsor your parents or your partner / spouse for Australian permanent residence visa.

10. Always have a Plan B

It is very reasonable, especially for undergraduate students, to pursue a higher qualification in the same or different areas.  This gives you the opportunities to continue to accumulate points or study in another degree which offers you a pathway to Australian permanent residency.

Get professional advice on other visa options’, such as employer sponsored visas (subclass 482 visa, subclass 186 visa, or subclass 187 visas) and partner visas (subclass 820/801 visas) as a Plan B of your pathway to acquiring Australian permanent residency.

If you would like to explore more, please contact Gilton Valeo on (02) 8234 8400.