How to Obtain a Permanent Residency Visa as an Australian International Student

Australia offers world-class education and a vibrant lifestyle, attracting thousands of international students annually. Several pathways are available if you are an international student in Australia and wish to transition to permanent residency. This article will provide a step-by-step guide to obtaining a permanent residency visa as an Australian international student.

Step 1: Choose the Right Permanent Residency Program

As an international student in Australia, you have several options when applying for permanent residency. Some popular immigration programs for students include:

  1. Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189): This visa is for skilled workers not sponsored by an employer, family member, or nominated by a state or territory government. You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect and be invited to apply for the visa.
  2. Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190): This visa is for skilled workers nominated by an Australian state or territory government. Like the subclass 189 visa, you must submit an EOI through SkillSelect and receive an invitation to apply.
  3. Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485): This visa allows recent graduates from an Australian educational institution to temporarily live, work, and study in Australia. After gaining work experience, you may become eligible for other permanent residency programs, such as the Skilled Independent or Skilled Nominated visas.

Research each program to determine which one best aligns with your qualifications, work experience, and future goals.

Step 2: Meet the Eligibility Requirements

Each permanent residency program has specific eligibility criteria, including age, education, work experience, and language proficiency. Ensure that you meet the requirements for your chosen program before starting the application process.

Step 3: Gather Required Documents

Collect all necessary documents to support your permanent residency application. Some standard documents include:

  • Passport or travel document
  • Birth certificate
  • Educational transcripts and diplomas
  • Language test results (IELTS, PTE Academic, or TOEFL iBT)
  • Employment records, including job offer letters and pay stubs
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Medical examination results

Ensure all documents are translated into English, if necessary, and obtain certified copies when required.

Step 4: Submit Your Expression of Interest (EOI)

You must submit an EOI through SkillSelect, Australia’s online application system for Skilled Independent and Skilled Nominated visas. This will include your skills, work experience, and other relevant factors. Based on your EOI, you will be assigned a score using a points-based system. If your score is high enough, you may receive an invitation to apply for a visa.

Step 5: Apply for Your Chosen Visa

Upon receiving an invitation to apply, submit your visa application and all required documents and fees. If you apply for a Temporary Graduate visa, you can apply directly without submitting an EOI.

Ensure you complete all forms accurately, provide all required documentation, and pay application fees.

Step 6: Wait for a Decision

Processing times for permanent residency applications can vary depending on the program and the number of applications received. Regularly check the status of your application and be prepared to provide additional information or documentation if requested by immigration authorities.

Step 7: Prepare for Life as a Permanent Resident

While waiting for your application’s decision, research your rights and responsibilities as an Australian permanent resident. This includes understanding the healthcare system, taxation, and Australian values.

Upon receiving permanent residency, you can live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely and access social benefits like healthcare and education. As a permanent resident, you can apply for Australian citizenship after meeting specific residency and eligibility requirements.

Step 8: Maintain Your Permanent Residency Status

As a permanent resident, it is essential to maintain your status by complying with the conditions of your visa. This includes not engaging in criminal activities and ensuring you meet residency requirements. Failing to meet these conditions could jeopardize your permanent resident status.

Step 9: Consider Applying for Australian Citizenship

After living in Australia as a permanent resident for a specified period, usually four years, and meeting other eligibility requirements, you can apply for Australian citizenship. Becoming an Australian citizen grants you additional rights, such as voting, running for public office, and holding an Australian passport. It also gives you a sense of belonging and commitment to the country.


Obtaining a permanent residency visa as an Australian international student can be a complex process, but with careful planning and research, you can successfully navigate this transition. Following this step-by-step guide, you can take the necessary steps toward becoming a permanent resident and, eventually, an Australian citizen. Embrace the opportunities and challenges of living in Australia and enjoy the benefits of permanent residency in this beautiful and diverse country.

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