On the 27th October last year the DOHA announced that Perth and the Gold Coast would be included in the new Designated Regional Area list. The Immigration Minister Mr Coleman stated;

“We have had advocacy from governments from all sides of politics in relation to those two places and decided to include them in our program because close to 70 per cent of our total population growth is in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

Including these two regions on the list is all well and good but how easy it is for international students to get sponsorship from these regions if you go and study there?

Gold Coast

As it is an area outside Brisbane, the Queensland Government’s generic regional requirements apply to the Gold Coast, which for international students are very limited.

Firstly you need to complete either a Masters or PhD degree only. There is no scope for Bachelors or Vocational study. Why is a two years Masters degree better than a three years Bachelor Degree or a Vocational Trade course? Yes one has to wonder.

If you’re a Masters student not only do you have to complete your course in Queensland but also need to be fortunate enough to get a full time job offer in your occupation (or closely related). The offer also needs to be for at least 12 months.

If you’re a PhD graduate, then you are luckier with no job offer required.

However it then gets worse. There are only 94 occupations to choose from the Queensland Alumni list and you had better pray (to any God) they don’t modify this list before you finish your course.

So who would recommend an international student who is considering a Masters or PhD degree to go the Gold Coast to study? Absolutely nobody in their right mind.

It’s a shame that the Gold Coast will gain very little benefit from the international student visa residency pathways. The only real benefit they may gain is the influx of 491 visa holders who have gained their visas from sponsorship from other states/territories.


Like Queensland you can only use the WA centralised government processing centre. They publish their Graduate Occupation List (GOL) but occupations are limited (138). It does have Accountant at least but not the major IT occupation groups. It does have most of the Engineer occupations. Be warned however in January this year the WA government released an announcement that they are looking to modify this list already. Not very confidence inspiring is it?

There are also a number of somewhat negative aspects of WA’s graduate stream requirements;

1) For all professional occupations you need Proficient English. Interestingly if you have an UK, Canada, USA, Ireland or N.Z passport you get exemption from demonstrating your English. Somewhat racist you may say? I agree since the DOHA requirement is that these passport holders are deemed as having Competent English. Why the WA government deems they are worth the higher English Proficient tag will remain a secret I guess.

2) Even when you finish your two years of living in WA and completed your 2 year course, then you also need to demonstrate 6 months work experience in your nominated occupation (or closely related) or a 6 month employment contract.

3) On top of these you also have to show settlement funds! It seems not enough that you have lived 2 years and settled there already and have managed to find a find a job for 6 months. You have demonstrate money as well? OMG, seriously! Doesn’t the fact you may have spent $50K, most of your hard earned savings meeting the two year study requirement count for anything? Seems not.

So let’s see why would you not go to Perth to study. Perhaps the fact they can change their list of occupations at will with no transitional arrangements to be put in place. Perhaps because your Canadian classmate gets accepted with out an English test as an Accountant professional when you will not be without a Proficient English result. Perhaps because getting a job offer in your professional role may take a while to occur. Perhaps because you have spent all of your money to study there you cannot show another $30 K of funds for you and your wife.

Clearly Perth must be close to capacity already for they don’t seem to want many students to go and study there. Why make the song and dance to included on the RDA list then?


There you have it then, the only major benefit these regions may enjoy is letting the other regions do the sponsorships and then hope 491 visa holders are attracted to their cities so they can get jobs. More on how 491 visa holders can mover from region to region without worry.

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