Benefits in studying in regional Australia

For most people who have not been to Australia, their preference is to visit Australia’s major city centres such as Sydney and Melbourne.  Potential international students who do not have friends or relatives in Australia usually have the same preference.  However, studying in regional Australia offers many benefits.  Here are some of them.

Relaxed environment

Living in regional areas does not mean you will be isolated, and also does not mean that you will not have access to facilities available in major cities.  Cafés, restaurants, shopping centres, service providers, and commercial precincts are available in regional areas as well.  Some universities in regional areas offer accommodation to students in a spacious area with beautiful sceneries and a relaxing environment that is very conducive to learning.

Most regional areas look like smaller versions of major cities where people are not in a rush and are more friendly.  The adjustment of newcomers can come in handy because in regional Australia, they can feel the community spirit rather than being a stranger in a crowded city.  This also works well for international students who are used to living in a regional area in their home country.

Higher chance of getting a student visa grant

The decision in approving a student visa application will depend on how the applicant satisfies the criteria for this visa.  However, the Australian government is pushing for international students and migrants to live in regional areas instead of going to highly populated cities.  With this direction, student visa applicants who choose to live in regional areas may have a better chance in getting a positive decision from the Department of Home Affairs than those who choose to live in either Sydney or Melbourne.

Longer stay in Australia for students who are eligible for a Temporary Graduate 485 (Post Study stream) visa

Students who have completed a degree from Higher Education (Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) with at least a two-year course are eligible to get a Temporary Graduate 485 (post study stream) visa.   Holders of this visa can stay for two years if they have completed a Bachelor’s Degree/Master’s Degree (coursework), three years if they have completed a Master’s Degree (research work) and four years if they have completed a Doctorate degree.

Starting in 2021, international students who are eligible for a Temporary Graduate 485 (post study stream) visa, who have completed their studies in a regional area and have lived in a regional area while on their first Temporary Graduate 485 (post study stream) visa, are eligible for a second 485 visa.  The length of stay on the second 485 visa will depend on the category of the area where the international students completed their studies.  See the table below:



Duration of second 485 visa


‘Major Cities’ of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

No incentive


‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ of Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart

1 year


‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’

2 years

See the link below for the list of designated regional area postcodes:

Increased chance of getting a Permanent Residency(PR) visa

Completing at least two years of study in regional Australia and satisfying the Australian study requirement give potential PR visa (GSM stream) applicants an additional five marks on their total migration points.  Some states also offer incentives for graduates who live in a regional area or for people who find a job in a regional area for state sponsorship under the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491).

Unfortunately (at the time of writing this article), most state nominations have not fully opened and the criteria for sponsorship have not been published yet.  However, if state nomination rules will prove consistent with the government’s direction to attract migrants to regional areas, applicants who are living in these areas will have an advantage over people who are living in big cities.

In summary, if you want the lifestyle that regional areas offer and have plans of staying longer in Australia, studying in regional Australia is the way to go.