Getting Your PR - Top 10 tips for International Students 2013 (Part One)

webster By Mark Webster
Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Back in 2009, Acacia created an article on Getting your PR - Top 10 Tips for International Students.

The 2009 article proved to be one of our most popular articles.

However, Migration Regulations have changed significantly since 2009 and so we have created a top 10 list for 2013 to keep you updated on the best tips for getting your Australian PR.

The article is broken into three parts:

1. Skills Assessment

The first step for most General Skilled Migration applicants is to choose which occupation to nominate and pass skills assessment in.

The criteria for skills assessment are different for each occupation, and generally rely 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 Skilled Occupations List (SOL). There are only 190 or so occupations on the SOL, but if you can pass skills assessment in an SOL occupation, you can potentially apply for any General Skilled visa.

Next best is to pass skills assessment in a Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL). There are over 600 occupations on the CSOL, giving you a much wider range of occupations. However, if your occupation is not on the SOL, you will need to have sponsorship by either a State or Territory Government, or an employer.

2. Know How SkillSelect Works

All applicants for permanent or provisional General Skilled Migration visas must pass through the SkillSelect system. Under the SkillSelect system, applicants must first lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI), and receive an invitation from the Department of Immigration 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, 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 lodgement of the EOI. Every 2 weeks, the Department of Immigration 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 mark for the skilled migration points test (currently 60 points).

For each occupational grouping, a maximum number of invitations is 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. In 2012-13, a number of IT and engineering disciplines hit the occupational ceiling and the signs for 2013-14 are that ceilings for these occupations will be met even faster.

3. Graduate Temporary Visas

Graduate Temporary (subclass 485) visas give you an extra 18 months or more to work and live in Australia after your studies.

There are two streams of Graduate Temporary Visa:

  1. Graduate Work: an 18 month visa which requires applicants to pass skills assessment in an occupation on the SOL
  2. Post Study Work: lasts between 2 years (for people completing a bachelor degree) to 4 years (for doctorate holders). Does not require skills assessment, but is only available only to students who applied for their first student visa on or after 5 November 2011.
Both streams require applicants to have completed a qualification taking at least 2 academic years of study in Australia and to have at least competent English (IELTS of 6 or more in all 4 components).

Whist in Australia on a graduate skilled visa, you can work full time and have study rights also.

Having a graduate skilled visa can be very handy for international students because of the following factors:

  • 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 lodgement of a GSM visa

Need Help With Your Visa?

If you would like a personalised assessment of your best pathway, please contact Acacia for a consultation. We will provide you with an immigration roadmap which goes through all your options, costs and processing times so that you know where you stand.

Onto Part Two - Getting your PR in Australia

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