Getting your PR - A Guide for International Students (Part 2) Skills Assessment

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

By Mark Webster, Acacia Immigration Australia Pty Ltd, 09 September 2009

Many international students studying in Australia dream of one day becoming permanent residents and staying on in Australia for good. The most common pathway for students is to apply for General Skilled Migration on completion of their studies.

Whilst there is a lot of information on immigration on the internet, sometimes it's difficult to figure out in practice what your chances are and what you need to do next. You could ask a friend who has applied before, but the rules change so quickly that this can be dangerous. As the processing time for General Skilled Migration gets longer, chances are you won't find out that you've made an error in your application for a year or more after lodgement.

This guide is intended to provide an easy to follow outline of the main things international students need to be aware of in applying for General Skilled Migration.

Nominated Occupation

The first decision you will need to make is which occupation to nominate in your application. You will need to pass skills assessment in this occupation. Your occupation must be on the skilled occupations list. You will be awarded a certain number of points for your occupation - either 40, 50 or 60 points.

Choosing the right occupation is very important for the following reasons:

  • You have to be able to pass skills assessment in the occupation
  • To lodge an "onshore" application and stay in Australia during processing, you must nominate a 50- or 60-point occupation
  • Your studies must be "closely related" to your nominated occupation
  • Some occupations are in demand for state nomination, which makes the application much faster and more likely to succeed
To apply for skills assessment, you must make an application to the relevant assessing authority for your occupation. The assessing authority will then evaluate your qualifications and in many cases work experience and give an assessment as to whether your skills are suitable for migration in your occupation.

40- and 50-Point Occupations

These occupations are assessed based on qualifications only:

  • 40-point occupation: this in general requires you to have a qualification at the level of an Australian diploma
  • 50-point occupation: you would need a qualification equivalent to an Australian degree
It may seem strange, but the assessing authority is only interested in the level of the qualification for 40- and 50-point occupations. The actual subject matter of the qualification and your work experience does not matter for assessment in these occupations.

60-Point Occupations

Requirements for 60-point occupations vary widely depending on the occupation:

  • Trades (eg cook, hairdresser, graphic pre-press): you either need to have an Australian certificate III plus 900 hours of relevant work experience, or overseas qualifications and a significant amount of work experience
  • Accounting: you need a degree covering at least 9 of the 12 core accounting subjects, or membership of a recognised overseas accounting body
  • Computing/IT: you would need a degree, masters or graduate diploma in IT from an Australian university. If you have overseas qualifications, you would need at least 4 years and in some cases up to 8 years of work experience
  • Teaching: graduate diploma in education, or overseas qualification and high level of English (7 in Academic IELTS)
  • Nursing: degree in nursing, plus high level of English (7 in Academic IELTS)
  • Manager: 5 years of experience at a very high level of management
Timing of Skills Assessment

The timing of skills assessment will depend on whether you are applying for an onshore skilled visa or an offshore skilled visa. For offshore skilled visas, you must have a positive skills assessment before you apply for the visa.

For an onshore skilled visa, you need to have lodged your application for skills assessment before you apply for your visa. The skills assessment does not need to be finalized before you apply, but you will need a positive skills assessment before you can be granted the visa (even for the skilled graduate temporary visa).

For more information on skills assesments please contact us

Want More?

Go to Part One - Getting Your PR 2009

Go to Part Three - Getting Your PR 2009

Go to Part Four - Getting Your PR 2009

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