Chief smilingAustralia is one of the world’s most popular destinations for immigration. Abundant opportunities and a growing economy make it one of the best places to study, work, and build a future.

With a relatively complex immigration system, some hopeful migrants can find it difficult to identify a pathway to permanent resident status. One way to uncomplicate the process is to study a trade in Australia, which can lead to a recognised qualification, full time work, and eventual eligibility for residency.

Here you can learn about the skills gap in Australia, the jobs that are in demand, and how you can go from being an international student to a permanent resident.

It All Begins with an Australian Student Visa

Before you can legally live and study in Australia, you will need to obtain a student visa. International students can apply for the Student Visa (Subclass 500).

Read: All you need to know about the Student 500 Visa

Key requirements for obtaining this visa include:

  • Hopeful students must provide evidence of funds to cover tuition and living costs. Students must be able to demonstrate the means to pay at least $20,290 AUD in yearly living costs.
  • Students applying from a non-English speaking country need to have completed English proficiency tests like IELTS, IBT, TOEFL, or Cambridge Advanced English (CAE).
  • A health examination may be required for some students. This requirement is at the discretion of the Australian immigration department. It may be necessary to take a medical exam with a doctor approved by the Australian government.
  • Students must also meet character requirements. Criminal records will be checked and assessed before a Student Visa (Subclass 500) is awarded.

With a student visa, you can enter Australia 90 days before you begin study.

Studying with the Intent of becoming an Australian Permanent Resident

Not every field of study is an ideal pathway to permanent residence. Australia is pushing to fill its skills gaps, many of which exist in the trades industry. Studying a trade course will allow you to develop key skills that are currently in demand.

Trade courses differ significantly from university qualifications and are typically completed within two years (some trade certificates can be completed in a shorter period). Courses offer classroom training combined with vocational training in a related industry.

Two-year trade courses for international students award the same qualifications given to Australian citizens and residents who complete four years of apprenticeship training.

The Trade Courses That are Most Likely to Lead to Permanent Resident Status in Australia

Not every trade course is guaranteed to result in Australian permanent resident status. However, there are several areas of study that can increase your chances of success. These courses provide benefits and training for fields where there is a shortage of skilled labor.

  • Plumbing: There’s high demand for qualified plumbers in Australia to support new commercial, residential, and industrial construction development. The skills shortage creates strong employment opportunities for qualified plumbers, with competitive salaries available.
  • Wall and Floor Tiling: The growing construction sector in Australia has created high demand for wall and floor tiling professionals. Students who study a trade certificate in this field will learn how to read and interpret plans, operate equipment, repair and install tiles, and safely navigate a job-site.
  • Fabrication Trade: An engineering trade certificate can lead to work in the fabrication trade as a professional fabricator or welder. Topics covered throughout the certificate can include the use of handheld and industrial power tools, technical drawing interpretation, project computation, occupational health and safety, and sheet and plate assembly.
  • Carpentry: Qualified carpenters can find strong job opportunities in the construction industry. A trade certificate covers material handling, setting out, wall and ceiling framing, measurement and calculation techniques, and a range of construction procedures.
  • Automotive Technology: Australia has a robust automotive industry and a growing population. This creates a high need for automotive electricians. A trade certificate in automotive electrical technology is a strong pathway to permanent resident status. Students learn about technologies and service/repairs related to charging systems, air conditioning, instrument and warning systems, engines, soldering, and battery systems.
  • Commercial Cookery: Australia’s booming hospitality industry has created a skills shortage for qualified cooks and chefs. Studying commercial cookery teaches various aspects of hospitality cost analysis and planning, meal planning and dietary requirements, environmental sustainability, and specific cooking skills and techniques.
  • Automotive Mechanical Technology: Heavy vehicles are used throughout the Australian mining and construction sectors. A certificate in automotive mechanical technology will develop skills in fault diagnosis, heavy vehicle service and repair, light engine service and repair, transmission building and service, and all aspects of suspension, steering, brake, and electrical components. Graduates typically go on to work as automotive technicians.

Note that the skills shortage can change over time. Some fields may become less likely to result in permanent residence if the skills gap is filled. Unlisted fields could become likely pathways to residency as the labor market changes.

Read: The AILS Complete Occupation List Guide

The fields listed above were the most likely to lead to permanent residency as of September 2019.

Graduate Visa and Permanent Resident Visa After Completing Two Years of Study

Completing a trade qualification does not immediately lead to permanent residency. You will need to apply for a graduate visa to legally stay and work in Australia.

Read: Temporary Graduate 485 Visa – Your Full Guide: Part I
Read: Your Full Guide To The Temporary Graduate 485 Visa: Part II

A graduate visa is valid for 18 months and can be extended to your partner and dependents. This visa is awarded to applicants who have completed a trade qualification that is relevant to the current skilled occupations list maintained by the Australian government. Applicants cannot be over 45 years old. The Graduate Work Stream 485 visa is for those who can nominate an occupation that is on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and who has a degree, diploma or trade qualification that is closely related to the nominated occupation. It allows its holder to stay in Australia for up to 18 months.

There are no restrictions on where you can live and work with a graduate visa.

Necessary work experience will lead towards your gaining a full suitable skills assessment. It is required that you complete 1725 hours of paid employment in your nominated occupation (or closely related) over at least 12 months from the start of your JRE in an Australian workplace approved by TRA.

Read: Job Ready Programme with Trades Recognition Australia

There are several options available.

  • The 191 Skilled Regional Residence Visa allows you to live and work in Australia permanently if you have a year of work experience and meet general eligibility criteria.
  • The 189 Skilled Independent Residence Visa allows you to live and work in Australia permanently without the need for government or private employer sponsorship. You will need a year of work experience in a high-demand field.
  • There are still options if you don’t qualify for a permanent resident visa after your graduate visa expires. A 491 Regional Sponsored Visa can offer a pathway to permanent status. This visa allows employment in specialised regions for 5 years.

You must score at least 65 points against points test factors to be eligible to be invited to apply for your visa.

Read: NSW 190 Sponsorship Work And Residency Requirements
Read: Introducing The New Regional Provisional 491, 494 Visas And The New 191 PR visa
Read: The 482 Australian Work Visa – Part 1
Read: The AILS Guide: Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482) – Part II

Study a Trade to become an Australian Permanent Resident

The trades industry is the most likely path to residency for international students. Australia’s skills shortage has created real opportunity for migrants. You can obtain a world class education while developing in-demand skills and qualifications that will gain you recognition in a broad range of industries.

Australia’s highly developed economy, and high standard of living both make the country a top tier destination where you can create stability and security for your future.

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) lists all Australian education providers that offer courses to people studying in Australia on student visas and the courses offered.

That has been a lot of information. We hope this has been helpful and lease reach out to us to help with your visa applications. Australian Immigration Law Services has serviced a great number of successful clients through all types and complications of trade related applications. Contact us today to start your future in Australia. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.