What does enrolling in a Professional Year Programme (PYP) do for you visa application? 

Have you noticed that the points test awards you 5 points for the completion of something called the professional year?


(from the DIBP website)

The Professional Year Programme (PYP) is a 44 to 52 week job-read iness course that aims to equip students with professional workplace skills. These courses are hands on and include internships for some real-world application of your skills. Available only to IT, engineering and accounting professionals and the courses are called Australian Computer Society (ACS) Professional Year Program , Engineers Australia’s Professional Year in Engineering  andSkilled Migration Internship Program – Accounting (SMIPA)  respectively. The assessing bodies developed and regulate, but do not conduct these courses. They have approved partners, which you will find through their respective sites.

The PYP includes coursework as well, and broadly covers Australian workplace culture and environments, business and communications, workplace skills, and professional skills specific to your field. You will not be able to gain a student visa in doing the PYP, and will usually need to either already be on the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) or on a bridging visa in relation to a lodged 485 visa application.

Why take a professional year though? Well first of all it gives you 5 points on general skilled migration (GSM) visa (subclasses 189, 190 and 489). Higher point expressions of interest (EOIs) are always invited first. Also, if the competition in your category is high, as it usually is for these professions, then the minimum cut off point value will naturally be higher. Read more about GSM invitations here.


IT: Australian Computer Society (ACS) Professional Year Programme

Most recent Australian university graduates who enroll into the PYP IT programs are those looking to meet the full skill assessment requirement, either a successfully completed PYP course or 12 months of work experience in a relevant IT occupation. Of course the PYP will also give you the 5 extra points but also the 12 month work experience gained in Australia to meet the skill assessment requirement should give you 5 extra points as well. The 485 visa will be used to complete the PYP.

However finding the right job is a little daunting so if you would just like to get straight into it, the professional year is the way to go. You also will not need to prepare extensive work experience documents with a PYP certificate to gain the extra 5 points. The IT PYP requires a minimum IELTS score of 6 overall, with no band below 5, or equivalent (see end of article).


Engineering: Engineers Australia’s Professional Year in Engineering

In engineering, you only need an engineering degree to gain a full skills assessment . As such


engineering graduates who engage in a PYP do so to gain the extra 5 points.  If for example, for example if you are under 25 and cannot the maximum age points of 30 or do not fulfil the Australian Study Requirement (ASR), which is worth 5 points, and you needthat extra 5 points boost, then the PYP will be your answer. You will need a full ski lls assessment from Engineers Australia to start the PYP, a requirement quite different to the Accounting and IT PYPs. As you have already gained your positive skill assessment as an Engineer you would already meet the English language requirement. Again the PYP provider will be looking for evidence that you hold a 485 visa or have applied for this visa. 476 visa holders  are also eligible to do a PYP.


Accounting: Skilled Migration Internship Program – Accounting (SMIPA)

Most recent Australian university graduates who have studied accounting should meet the academic requirements to obtain the full skill assessment as an Accountant. However the additional English requirement can be a struggle for some. If you are unable to meet the English requirement  of a minimum IELTS score of 7 in each of the four english test modules – listening, reading, writing and speaking – or the equivalent of the IELTS score in CAE, TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic, you will not qualify for a full skills assessment. The SIMPA PYP eliminates the English level requirement – doing a professional year will grant you a suitable skills assessment even if you cannot meet the minimum score of 7 (or equivalent) in each module.

Full Skills assessment English Test Score Requirement

Provisional Skills Assessment English Test Score Requirement

(from the CPA website)

(from the CPA website)



Jesse has a degree in accounting but for the life of him, cannot seem to be able to achieve a minimum score of 7 in IELTS. This unfortunately means that he will not be able to apply for a full skills assessment, and cannot submit a valid Expression of Interest (EOI). He discovers that in taking the accounting PYP course, SMIPA, he will not only gain useful workplace skills and knowledge, get his full skills assessment and a further 5 points for the completion of a PYP. A definite yes for Jesse!

Jesse applies for his 485 visa using the post study work stream, then enrols in the SMIPA with Education Centre Australia (ECA) , which provides three free additional workshops, IELTS classes (which while helpful, he doesn’t really need anymore), and even help with his job search and placement! His total points score is kicked up by 5 points and when he finally submitted his EOI, he received his invitation in the very next invitation round.Jesse lived happily ever after.

If you would like help enrolling in a PYP, Australian Immigration Law Services know all about not just the programmes, but how it affects your visa application as well! If you’d like to get in touch, call +61 2 8054 2537 or email sydney@australiavisa.com