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Where To Study In Australia

August 9, 2018
Myer Lipschitz

If you know some of the pitfalls in the process, student visas can be a useful pathway to not only acquiring an Australian qualification but potentially a pathway to obtaining permanent residence. However the location of your studies in Australia is as important as the subject matter of your studies.

Of course you have to satisfy a number of requirements including a genuine temporary entry criteria relating to student visas, talk to immigration advisers and have to have sufficient funds to pay for your studies which can be quite pricey as an international student.

A student visa does allow you to work for 40 hours per fortnight as well as your spouse or partner and you have unlimited work rights when your course is not in session. This can help offset some of the living costs as well as gaining work experience in the Australian environment.

There are some advantages to studying towards a degree in Australia (two years of study required) or studying for a course that is on the medium to long-term skills shortages list. As either option could entitle you to either a two-year post study work visa (in the case of a degree) or at least an 18 month graduate work visa in the case of studying for a suitable course in an occupation on the medium to long-term skill shortages list.

While the Government does not endorse Australian study as a pathway to permanent residence, progressing from temporary work visas to permanent residence is largely dictated by where you study in Australia.

There are two ways to obtain permanent residence, either:

  1. through nomination by your employer in one of two schemes, the employer nomination scheme or regionally sponsored migration scheme or
  2. through general skilled migration visas which are points tested and don’t require you to obtain an offer of employment.

This blog is largely focused upon pathway 2 above i.e. the pathways that are available under general skilled migration visas.

Because of the very high pass mark for the independent general skilled migration visa (the type of general skilled migration visa that does not require state sponsorship) more and more applicants for general skilled migration visas are relying upon state sponsorship as a pathway to securing permanent residence.

There are eight states or territories that produce lists of occupations that they will sponsor depending upon the needs of the economy of that particular state. However, because the pass mark for the independent general skilled migration visa is so high (in the region of 70/75 points for most occupations) more and more people are relying upon state sponsorship to obtain permanent residence.

As we don’t know in advance which occupations will appear on state sponsorship lists or what the quota is for a particular occupation should an occupation appear on a state sponsorship list, it’s impossible to know what qualification you should be studying that will improve your chances of gaining residence.

There are three states that will consider you for state sponsorship irrespective of whether your occupation appears on a state sponsorship list. These states are South Australia, ACT, and Tasmania although Queensland does have a separate list for those who have studied in Queensland in certain occupations.

To give you a practical example Betty is a 23-year-old student traveling to South Australia to complete a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She completed a diploma level qualification in Singapore in marketing and will be studying for at least two academic years towards a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

At the end of her studies, she can apply for a post-study work visa. It will be valid for a period of two years and having this visa will enhance her employment options because most employers in Australia would prefer to employ those who have work rights. Once she completes one year of work experience in Adelaide she can then obtain a positive skills assessment as a marketing specialist if her year of employment is a close match for a marketing specialist.

Even if the occupation of marketing specialist doesn’t appear on the South Australia state sponsorship list she can nonetheless apply for state sponsorship for South Australia (assuming that she scores 65 points, has adequate English language ability and meets other requirements of a general skilled migration visa). This is greatly advantageous because the occupation of marketing specialist very rarely appears on state sponsorship lists.

She wouldn’t be able to do this if she studied for the same qualification in New South Wales. New South Wales does not give credit to those people studying for occupations that don’t appear on state sponsorship lists like some other states. It is critical to not only study for a qualification that is going to benefit you from a career perspective, but careful consideration of where you study in Australia is important if your end goal is to obtain permanent residence via the general skilled migration visa route.

Studying in Australia does not guarantee that you will get residence, and policy changes on a regular basis, so it’s preferable to try and avoid having to study in Australia if one can possibly obtain permanent residence without it. But if you are going to study in Australia, choosing the correct course and the correct location in Australia could be a useful pathway for those young enough with sufficient resources to have a pathway to permanent residence in Australia.



Myer Lipschitz

Myer Lipschitz was born in Johannesburg and is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1985 he was conferred the degree Bachelor of Laws. Myer completed his Articles of Clerkship with Ivor Trackman, Attorneys and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1988. Myer immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 and was admitted to practice law in New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand...

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