Transitioning from a Student visa to a PR visa

Some international students have embraced the Australian culture and are considering living in Australia permanently.  However, they usually do not know where to start and they are unaware of their possible options.  This article intends to provide an overview of Permanent Residency (PR) visa options for international students in Australia.

PR visas under the General Skilled(GSM) Migration stream

To be eligible for the GSM stream the visa applicant\’s nominated occupation should be on the Department of Home Affairs\’ skilled occupation list, the visa applicant should have a total of at least 65 migration points, and all the visa criteria should be satisfied by the visa applicant.  The skilled occupation list can be accessed on the link below:

To identify your nominated occupation, find the matching occupation on the skills list that is highly related to your qualification and/or your work experience.  For example, if you are studying a packaged course of Certificate III and IV in Commercial Cookery and Diploma of Hospitality, then your nominated occupation is a Chef.

The total migration score is calculated based on applicant\’s age, level of education, English language capability, work experience, and others.  More information about the migration points test can be found on the link below:

There are three different visa options under the GSM stream.  The Skilled Independent 189 visa lets you live anywhere in Australia and does not require a state sponsorship approval.  The Skilled Nominated 190 visa requires a state sponsorship approval, and the visa holder is required to live in the sponsoring state for at least two years.  The Skilled Work Regional Provisional 491 visa is for applicants who are currently living and working or for applicants who intend to live and work in a designated regional area. This is a provisional visa that can lead to a Permanent Residence Regional 191 visa after holding a 491 visa for three years.

Employer Sponsored visas

To be eligible for Employer Sponsored visas, applicants should have an employer who is wiling to sponsor them, the applicants’ nominated occupation should be on the relevant skilled occupation list, and all the visa criteria should be satisfied by the applicant.  

There are two Employer Sponsored visa options, these are: the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) 186 visa and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Provisional (SESR) 494 visa. The ENS 186 visa is a PR visa and can be applied under the Direct Entry stream or the Transition stream (for eligible TSS 457 or TSS 482 visa holders).  The SESR 494 is a provisional PR visa that can also lead to Permanent Residence Regional 191 visa after holding a 494 visa for three years.

Partner visa

This is an option for international students who have a de-facto partner or spouse who is an Australian citizen or an Australian PR visa holder, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.   The key requirement in applying for this visa is proving the genuine relationship between the sponsor and the visa applicant.  For de-facto relationship, you can either register your domestic relationship in the state where you or your partner is located or provide evidence of living together with your sponsor for at least twelve months.  

The information provided above enlists only the key requirements for each of the visa options.  It is suggested to seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer should you want to discuss your case and the options applicable to your unique circumstance.