Getting your PR - A Guide for International Students (Part 3) Choosing the Right Course

This article has been updated. Click Here for the new Guide for International Students 2013.

by Mark Webster, Acacia Immigration, November 13 2009

Many international students wonder what the best course is to choose if they are interested in staying on permanently after they finish. We have compiled a list of our top 5 tips in making the choice:

1. Study Something You are Genuinely Interested In

Many students are tempted to study a course only because it improves their chances of qualifying for permanent residence. This is in general not a good idea for the following reasons:

  • Study in Australia is expensive - you might as well study something which is going to be useful to you in your future career
  • It's very difficult to pass a course you have no interest in
  • You obtain extra points if you work in your occupation after completion of your course

2. 2 Years Study

To get the full benefit of study in Australia, you will need to complete a course or courses which are registered for at least 92 weeks on CRICOS. If you are studying a one-year course, you may consider studying a second year to complete the 2 years of study, but the courses must be closely related to your occupation

3. Closely Related Studies

There are a couple of issues to consider in looking at closely related studies:

  • The subject matter needs to be relevant to your occupation; and
  • The level of the qualifications needs to be appropriate to your occupation

In terms of subject matter, the Department of Immigration is relatively flexible when it comes to generic business and IT courses - for example if you are studying a trade such as hairdressing, it may be possible for you to count business studies on the basis that the business studies will be useful to you in starting a business as a hairdresser.

In terms of the level of the qualification, you can run into trouble if your qualifications are at a very different level - for example, if you do a certificate qualification in hairdressing, then do a Masters in IT, the Department of Immigration may not accept that a Masters level qualification in IT will be useful to you in your career as a hairdresser.

4. Right Qualification Level

Only the following qualifications can be counted towards the 2 year study requirement:

  • Degrees: this includes Bachelor degrees, Graduate Diplomas, Masters and PhDs
  • Diplomas: generally this would be a 2-year qualification
  • Trade certificates: Certificate III or higher in a trade occupation (Group 4 in ASCO)

Completion of the following qualifications would not in themselves suffice for the 2 year study requirement:

  • Graduate Certificates (In general, these are 6-month courses and are equivalent to half a graduate diploma)
  • Associate Degrees (2 year qualifications leading towards a degree)
  • Certificates I and II in trade occupations (eg Certificate II in Hairdressing)
  • Certificates I, II, III and IV in non-trade occupations (eg Certificate IV in Business)

However, if you have completed lower qualifications on the way to completing a qualification which can be counted, the period of study at the lower level might be counted towards the 2 year study requirement. For example, if you have completed a Certificate IV in Business and this gave credits towards completion of a Diploma in Business, then it may be possible to count the time taken to compete the Certificate IV towards the 2 year study requirement.

5. Masters or Honours Years

If you are completing a bachelor degree in Australia, then you may consider completing an honours year or masters qualification after you finish. This could give you 10 additional points, but you need to be aware of the following:

  • The total period of study in Australia needs to be at least 3 years
  • The masters or honours year needs to be at least 12 months
  • If your degree is awarded at the honours level (eg law, engineering), this can also give you the 10 points
  • The honours needs to be at the 2nd Class, First Division level or higher
  • All qualifications need to be closely related

For more information please contact us

Want More?

Go to Part One - Getting Your PR 2009

Go to Part Two - Getting Your PR 2009

Go to Part Four - Getting Your PR 2009

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