Staying in Australia with a Degree in IT
Skills assessments for IT professionals with Australian degrees
What are your post study visa options if you are currently engaged in an IT course? The graduate visa (subclass 485) buys you time in Australia to look for either an employer sponsor or to lodge an application for a general skilled migration (GSM) visa (subclass 189 or 190).
There are two streams under the graduate visa – the post study work stream and graduate work stream. The first main difference in these two streams are that the graduate work stream allows diploma holders and holders of trade qualifications to gain a graduate visa where their qualifications are a close match to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL) . However the level of qualification cannot be of significance to you as a IT professional looking to stay in Australia will need a minimum of a degree. The next main difference is when you have applied for your visa.
Graduate Visa 485: Graduate Work Stream
If your first student visa was applied for and granted before 5 November 2011, you will be on the graduate work stream (valid for 18 months) and you will need a skills assessment for a nominated occupation on the SOL to apply for this. Yikes, now how do you get that?
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the assessing body that does skills assessments for migration purposes for IT professionals. There are several types of assessments that ACS offers but we’ll be focusing on the application you will need holding an Australian IT degree – if you are looking to attain a skills assessment for a graduate stream 485 visa, ACS provides a kind of ‘provisional’ assessment specifically for this purpose (see application type – temporary graduate 485 in the table above) as fresh out of school, you would have no work experience. You would apply for your skills assessment online and it will set you back by $475.
ACS Suitability Criteria Temporary Graduate – 485 Skills Assessment
- This skills assessment can only be used to apply for a subclass 485 visa.
- Only nominated occupations which appear on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) are applicable to a Temporary Graduate – 485 skills assessment.
- You will require to have completed an Australian Bachelor degree or higher with a major in ICT which is closely related to the nominated occupation (ANZSCO) to meet the suitability criteria.
Graduate Visa 485: Post Study Work Stream
If your first student visa was applied for and granted after 5 November 2011, you fall under the post study work stream and this does not require a skills assessment. Awesome! You’ve already qualified for a post study work stream 485 visa and this visa is valid for between 2 to 4 years, giving you plenty of time to sort out your permanent visa.
Now let’s look a little beyond that graduate visa to your permanent residency; it’s all about the end game after all. Should you be applying for a GSM visa and in certain cases with employer sponsored visas, you will still need a full skills assessment (ACS calls this a Post Australian Study Skills Assessment). This Post Australian Study Skills Assessment requires a year’s work experience (as table above). If you are unable to find work, you could consider doing the ACS Professional Year Program (PYP) , which is designed to equip you with workplace skills in your nominated occupation. Do note that any work done during study cannot be considered – it is a requirement for your full skills assessment that the year’s work experience is completed after the completion of your degree. This application costs $500.
ACS Suitability Criteria Temporary Graduate – Post Australian Study Skills Assessment
- This application is only if you have completed an Australian Bachelor degree or higher and you would like a skill assessment for migration purposes in general.
- You will require an Australian Bachelor degree or higher with a major in ICT which is closely related to the nominated occupation (ANZSCO) plus one of the following requirements for a suitable skills assessment:
- 1 year of relevant work experience completed after the completion date of the relevant Australian degree, or
- Completion of an ACS Professional Year Program.
Post Australian Study Notes:
- The skill level requirement date for the Post Australian Study Skills Assessment will be noted as the completion date of the relevant Australian degree. Suitable employment completed after the completion date of the relevant Australian degree will be eligible for points under the skilled migration points test.
- Relevant work experience can be overseas experience or experience in Australia for the Post Australian Study Skills Assessment but must be after the relevant Australian degree
Imaginary Jesse studied a Bachelor of IT (Network Security) at TAFE Meadowbank . Like many of us, Jesse fell in love with his life here in Sydney and decided that he needed to stay. On graduating, he discovered that as his first student visa was applied for and granted in January 2012, he could easily apply for a post study work stream – graduate 485 visa which doesn’t require a nominated occupation on the SOL. Hurrah for Jesse! However to apply for a GSM visa down the road, Jesse would need a suitable skills assessment for an occupation on the SOL which requires a year’s work experience. But poor Jesse struggled to find any work and decided to enrol in the ACS Professional Year Program (PYP), where he would be working toward his visa and be picking up job skills. On completion of his PYP, Jesse made a successful GSM application with:
- His nominated occupation being  Computer Network & Systems Engineer on the SOL, As being most closely related to his study
- A suitable ACS Post Australian Study Skills Assessment from having a degree in IT combined with a PYP certificate
- Having met the points test and fulfilled other GSM requirements
Jesse lived happily ever after in Australia. The end.