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Applying for Permanent Residency while on a Student Visa

The Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa, otherwise known as the 457 Visa, was one of the most popular working visas in Australia. One factor that made it popular was the flexibility it offered – up to 4 years residency in Australia for jobs listed on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Mostly it only required the applicant to be sponsored by an approved business.

For anyone looking to transition to Permanent Residency, gaining this visa easily provided the required 3 years of full time work experience needed to apply for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186.

It was not only available to overseas workers, but also to students already in Australia under a Student visa (Subclass 500) or a Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa.

This all changed on March 18th, 2018, when the 457 Visa was discontinued for new applicants and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (Subclass 482) Visa. Like the 457 visa, the Medium Term Stream of the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa is available to applicants applying for jobs on the MLTSSL. However, unlike the 457 visa, it requires that you have at least 2 years prior work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field to apply.

This means that most students looking to transition to Australian permanent residency will not be eligible to apply for the TSS Scheme.


Students Studying

What are the options for current students looking for Permanent Residency?

According to the Department of Home Affairs website, the Post-Study Work Stream of the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa offers between 2 and 4 years temporary residency in Australia. It allows you to live, study and work in Australia after you complete a CRICOS-registered course and also allows you to bring family members with you.

485 Visa Eligibility

The Department of Home Affairs website says you need to satisfy all of the following criteria to apply for the Post-Study Work Stream of the 485 Visa:

  1. You must be under 50
  2. You applied for and were granted a student visa on or after November 5, 2011 (read the Home Affairs page for further details)
  3. You have met the Australian Study Requirement for the 485 visa
  4. You hold an eligible degree in a CRICOS-registered course
  5. You can prove sufficient English language proficiency either by passing one of the approved tests in this list or by being a citizen of an eligible country (United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland)
  6. You must have an approved Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) policy as required under visa condition 8501. You can compare the best OVHC policies by on our homepage
  7. You meet the Department of Home Affairs health requirement
  8. You meet the character requirement
  9. You have read the Life in Australia booklet and have signed the Australian Values Statement
  10. You do not have any debt owing to the Australian Government
  11. You have not previously had a visa cancelled or application refused

Which occupation should I choose to obtain Permanent Residency in Australia?

You can search the Department of Home Affairs’ Skilled Occupation List HERE. However, it is worth noting that some eligible occupations cannot provide the required 3 years of relevant work experience under the terms of the 485 visa. Choosing this kind of occupation will therefore not provide a pathway to permanent residency as you will be ineligible to apply for the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the ENS (186 visa).

Therefore, we highly recommend that you consult one of our recommended Migration Agents to assist you in choosing the right path to Permanent Residency.