This is a guest post that I think it’s is very relative to any international student studying in Australia that wants to stay on after graduation. If you are interested in contributing to SMG please read through my terms and conditions.

Last month I published my usually Mailbox Monday post about a student that was planning on moving to Australia for school but was also interested in staying on after graduation. In my reply I suggested getting a 457 visa that way she would have a job and visa sponsorship.

After that post went live, I got a message from Garrett of The Sydney Noob Food Blog, a fantastic foodie blog you should definitely check out. He pointed out that I had missed something pretty major. She could apply for a 189 Visa and stay in Australia permanently instead of trying for temporary visa sponsorship.

How did Garrett know this? Because that was exactly what he had done.

Below, Garrett has mapped out how every international student can start their visa application process before their graduation ceremony.

Here’s Garrett:

If you are an international student in Sydney, staying on after graduation is a viable option and the current point test does make it quite feasible.

In this blog post, as a former international student and now Australian resident, I will go through the steps from graduation to a PR visa using the points test as a reference point.

From Graduation to Skilled Migration Visa

  1. Nominated occupation from the skilled occupation list: 0 points

    While this requirement does not carry any points, graduating with a qualification that is on the skilled occupation list is a compulsory requirement to even lodge an Australian visa application.
    This step is sometimes straightforward but might be confusing if your qualification and/or degree does not exactly match the occupation on the list.

    This was my case: I graduated with a Bachelor of IT (Multimedia Applications major) however the closest matches on the list are ‘Analyst Programmer’ or ‘Developer Programmer’.

    Skills Assessment for Your Visa

    This brings me to the next step, once you pick your occupation, you have to apply for a skills assessment to the assessing authority for your qualification to be valid for a visa.

    In my case, I applied to the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the catch is that you have to apply for a particular occupation.

    For example, I applied to be skills assessed for the occupation ‘Developer Programmer’ instead of the ‘Analyst Programmer’ occupation.

    Keep in mind, the ACS will not advise which occupation you are most eligible for a positive skills assessment and thus you will need to reapplying to see if you qualify for another occupation.

    This step should be done when your academic transcript is available. Please note this is different from the grad ceremony date. My application to the ACS took about 4 weeks which left me basically limbo not knowing if I was going to be able to stay in Australia or not.

    If your occupation is not on the list, applying for a PR visa becomes significantly difficult and even impossible.

    Please check this link which will help you understand which resources you can read to predict which jobs will be on the list.

  2. English language ability: 10 or 20 points

    This depends on your language ability or ability to learn to pass an exam. In the past, the IELTS test was the only acceptable test but now they accept OET, TOEFL, PTE, CAE.

    Speaking for the IELTS test, getting 10 points is fairly achievable however 20 points is more challenging. Read about my IELTS journey and tips to get all 8s here.

    This step should be done as soon as you complete your last uni exam to see how you score and give yourself time to retake the exam if needed. Just bear in mind that the skills assessment and English test results have an expiry date.

  3. Age: 25 points

    If you start uni directly from high school, you get 25 points just for being young.
    If you are in the next bracket of 25-32 years old you get 30 points.

  4. Qualifications: 10 – 20 points

    Points vary from diploma (10), bachelor/master(15) or PhD(20).

  5. Australian study requirement: 5 points

    You get 5 points for graduating from an Australian institution.

    If your campus was in an area considered regional, you can claim 5 more points for being far from the city. Look up the postcode of your campus here.

  6. Missing points?

    The pass mark is 60 points, however having more points does give your priority in the SkillSelect system.

    If you can’t get to 60 points, the other ways to obtain more points are:

    • 5 points – Credentialed Community Language Qualifications If you know a foreign language well enough to be a translator or interpreter you will receive 5 points after passing an exam at National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
    • 5 points – Partner Skills If your partner has also graduated and has an occupation on the list, you can get 5 points and your partner is included in your application.
    • 5 points – Professional Year A 12-month professional year program in the same occupation you will be applying for. This is normally costly.
    • 5 points – Skilled Employment in Australia If you find a job that is closely related to your nominated skill assessed occupation while on your graduate visa for example, you can claim 5 points after 1 year of experience.

Notice: This information is based on an interpretation of information from the Department of Home Affairs website and purely anecdotal. Please do your own research or use a registered migration agent.

About the Author: Nowadays, after obtaining his PR, Garrett enjoys blogging about food places around Sydney at If you have any questions, connect @thesydneynoob.

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