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Planning Guideline to Permanent Residency


Migrating to a different country is arguably the most important decision of one’s life. Given its importance, the earlier you begin your preparation, the higher your chances of successfully achieving Permanent Residency. At Visa Plan, we have separated the process into 4 steps to help you understand the relevant migration scheme.

  1. What occupations?
  2. What are the necessary qualifications and experience?
  3. What are the available PR pathways?
  4. What is the specific criteria for each pathway?
  • What occupations?

Given its geographical size and economic potential, Australia’s population cannot independently source all necessary human capital. It therefore relies on overseas migration. Australia devises various lists of occupations that it needs.

For the occupations, refer to https://www.visaplan.com.au/491-occupations-list-2019/

  • What are the necessary qualifications and experience for the chosen occupation?

Different occupations require different qualifications and experience. One important component may relate to a requisite level of English proficiency for your skills to be recognized by relevant bodies. Furthermore, there may be registration requirements for certain occupations. When you have decided on the occupation, you should refer to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSCO) and start planning your academic pathway towards satisfying the criteria for your chosen occupation.

  • What are the available PR pathways?

PR pathways are dependent on various factors. Most applicants want to apply for permanent residency upon graduation, but in the current climate, this is often not feasible. The majority of graduates apply for a temporary graduate visa, on which they can freely work in the field to which your qualification relates. If you have graduated and worked in a regional area, you are often at a great advantage as concessions are afforded to those living and working in regional areas.

  • What is the specific criteria for each pathway?

Subclass 189 – Skilled – Independent

This is the primary points tested visa, available for people with the highest priority occupations. Each month, the Federal Government will invite the highest point scorers to apply. Maximizing points can be achieved through strategic planning of education and work experience, as well as several other options. Visa Plan Summary on Subclass 189 – https://www.visaplan.com.au/independent-skilled-pr

Subclass 190 – Skilled – Nominated

This visa allows Australian states and territories to nominate prospective applicants. Each state and territory maintains their own occupation list, extracted from the MLTSSL. Different states and territories may apply additional criteria, such as additional work experience requirements or residency requirements. It is important to check the criteria for each jurisdiction before seeking a nomination. Visa Plan Summary on Subclass 190 – https://www.visaplan.com.au/state-nominated-skilled-pr

Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)

This visa offers permanent residency to a wider number of occupations in exchange for a commitment to reside in regional Australia for up to 3 years. Much like Subclass 190, applicants must be nominated by a state or territory, each with their own requirements and occupations lists. As labour conditions in regional areas differ from metropolitan Australia, a much wider selection of occupations are eligible for this visa subclass. After living and working in a regional area for 3 years, applicants can transition to Subclass 191, a future permanent residency visa to be introduced in 2022. Visa Plan Summary on Subclass 491 – https://www.visaplan.com.au/regional-skilled-visa

Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme

This visa allows applicants with the highest priority occupations to be sponsored for permanent residency by an Australian employer. To qualify, applicants must have a minimum 3 years work experience or 3 years work experience and hold a temporary employer sponsored visa for 3 years before applying. Visa Plan Summary on Subclass 186 – https://www.visaplan.com.au/employer-nominated-pr

Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)

This visa allows applicants to be sponsored for permanent residency by an Australian employer located in a regional area. As labour conditions in regional areas differ from metropolitan Australia, a much wider selection of occupations are eligible for this visa subclass. This visa offers permanent residency to a wider number of occupations in exchange for a commitment to reside in regional Australia for up to 3 years. After living and working in a regional area for 3 years, applicants can transition to Subclass 191, a future permanent residency visa to be introduced in 2022. Visa Plan Summary on Subclass 494 – https://www.visaplan.com.au/regional-employer-sponsored

Common Mistakes

As migration solicitors, we have spoken to countless people struggling to achieve their Australian dream. Sadly though, many people wait until the last minute to receive professional advice, giving us no choice but to turn them away. Based on our experience, here are some common mistakes we see prospective migrants make again and again.

  • Acting on outdated or anecdotal advice

Just because someone you know became a PR 5 or 6 years ago, it doesn’t mean they know how to do it now. Many people base their decisions on things they hear from family, education agents or classmates.Don’t make critical decisions based on things you’ve heard here and there. Book a consultation with one of our migration lawyers and find out where you really stand.

  • Relying on an Employer Sponsor

With independent visas becoming harder and harder to achieve, many people simply assume they can find an employer sponsor. The Australian job market is competitive, and it will cost your employer thousands of dollars just to sponsor you. Furthermore, it is important to protect yourself. If you have been offered a sponsorship, make sure you your employer is reputable. Stay away from agents offering to find you a sponsor, as you may find yourself exploited and stuck on a temporary visa.

  • Picking an Occupation that You Hate

It is always tempting to choose an occupation because it is in the occupations list. You will not need to work in that area once you are a PR but you will need to complete the qualification and obtain the minimum work experience to satisfy the requirements of that occupation. Unfortunately, a good occupation today may become an ineligible occupation tomorrow. The last thing you want is to be qualified for a job you hate and be left with no pathway to PR. Whilst we always hope for the best, you must also consider what your life will look like if you need to return to your country of citizenship.

  • Wasting your Graduate Visa

Most international students who finish a tertiary qualification in Australia will be eligible for the Subclass 485 Graduate visa. This visa offers up to 2 years of full work rights in Australia. Too often, Subclass 485 visa holders fail to take advantage of this. Instead of gaining valuable Australian work experience in their occupation, they spend two years driving an Uber or delivering food. For a prospective PR applicant, the Subclass 485 is like gold and should never be wasted.

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