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Overseas students

Overseas students applying for permanent residence in Australia

Can I stay in Australia after I finish my course?


In many cases, you still can. The latest changes to the skilled migration program have certainly made it a lot harder to make the transition from student to permanent resident, but there are still "pathways" available, to use the government's term.

Who is eligible?


Generally speaking, you may be eligible if you have, in the past six months, completed a professional or trade course in Australia over a period of two academic years, or if you hold a subclass 485 (see below) or 476 visa.

Other information you may need to know is whether your occupation is on the "Skilled Occupations List" (SOL) and how many points it is worth:

Failure to comply strictly with all of the application requirements could mean that your application is treated as invalid and will be sent back to you, although this may take several weeks and by the time you get it back it could be too late for you to apply again.

How do I apply?


You will need to apply for your skills assessment, medicals and police checks as quickly as possible and then lodge an application for one of three types of permanent visa:

  • Skilled - Independent (subclass 189)
  • Skilled - Sponsored (subclass 190)
  • Skilled - Regional (subclass 887)

If you do not satisfy the criteria for a permanent visa immediately, you may also apply for a Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This will give you up to 18 months to complete the requirements or gain any necessary work experience. 

More information about skilled migration requirements, and the new SkillSelect system.

Can I stay in Australia while the application is being processed?


Yes, if you satisfy the requirements for applying onshore you can stay in Australia while the permanent visa is processed. You can also work and travel in and out of the country.

What if I don't meet the requirements for an onshore application?


There are several other possibilities open to students who are studying in Australia, before and after finishing their courses. You may be able to lodge a skilled migration visa as an offshore applicant even while you are physically in Australia, providing you have some other legal visa that allows you to stay here -- such as another student visa or a temporary resident visa. When the visa is ready for approval you will have to make a short trip overseas, either to your home country or somewhere else like New Zealand, to collect it.

Where can I get help?


You might be excused for thinking that the rules about applying are deliberately made so complicated in order to ensure that only people with a high IQ can work them out. Unfortunately, just getting one detail wrong in the application can be disastrous.

If you think you need some help, either with the whole application or just to make sure you've got it right before sending it off yourself, contact us to talk about how we can help you.

Copyright 2013 Michael Jones ~ Solicitor. All rights reserved.