If you’re approaching the end of your studies in Australia, it’s a good time to start considering applying for your permanent residency. The transition from student to permanent resident is definitely not smooth sailing, owing to a number of tight rules introduced by the Australian government.

There are a number of factors that you should consider as soon as you commence your final semester:

Language Requirements

English is a key requirement in your first step towards obtaining your permanent residency. Unless you hold a passport from the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand, you will be required to complete an English proficiency test. The IELTS and TOEFL English tests are now accepted by all immigration authorities and a score of 6 on the IELTS test has become a minimum.

Your Options

The best route to take would be to apply for a Temporary Graduate 485 visa. This visa is probably the easiest and the most straightforward route towards getting your permanent residency. You need to meet a minimum period of study requirement in Australia of either 96 weeks or two years. Despite the fact that this is not a permanent visa, these 18 months can be instrumental in helping you complete the skill assessment process, in addition to giving you an opportunity to gain work experience. This can be the deciding factor in your permanent residency application.

Skill assessment is different for different occupations, and because a positive skills assessment goes a long way in boosting your case for a permanent residency, it is best to weigh your options and get started immediately. This can take three months or more, so the sooner you take some advice from your migration agent and get started, the better.

What can I do to strengthen my application?

The best way to strengthen your application is through professional work experience, which carries a lot of weight. However, there are also several other ways to increase the success of your application:

  • If you have studied in a regional area, consider seeking employment in that area.
  • If you hold a job for 12 months, then you can be eligible for the Skilled Regional Visa ( Subclass 887).
  • You could also complete a professional year, this is a program, combining formal education and work experience. This program runs for 12 months and adds five extra points to your application, which could be the difference in the end.
  • Age is also a factor in your application. If you are completing your bachelors studies then you have a significant advantage, because your age is most likely between 25 and 32 and helps you to obtain a total of 30 points.
  • You could also apply for a state nomination. This step, however, is quite tricky because state nominations are given very rarely and are quite difficult to obtain. However, with the help of your migration agency you may be lucky enough to get one, which gives you a significant edge over other permanent residency applicants.


To be successful in applying for permanent residency, the key is to plan ahead. Getting a registered migration agent also helps as they have navigated these waters many times before and know what to do.

Content sourced from Migration Alliance.