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Talking skilled migration at the NSW International Student Festival

Last Sunday, Department of Immigration and Citizenship representatives from the skilled migration policy areas joined our colleagues from the NSW Student Visa Centre at the NSW International Student Festival.

Our stall was one of the busiest, with students from across the state enquiring about Student visas,

Post-Study visas, Skilled Migration visas and in particular, SkillSelect. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to talk directly to students and receive their feedback on our Student visa and Skilled Migration programs.

There was a lot of interest in skilled migration among the students we talked to. Many of the students were in their final year of study and were considering their options for permanent migration to Australia. While we welcome this interest it is important for student visa holders to be aware that a Student visa is a temporary visa and there is no guarantee of a permanent migration outcome.

Skilled migration to Australia is highly competitive. It remains possible for students to compete for a place in the program, however to do so you must meet the eligibility requirements in place at the time you lodge your application. Students who do not meet the requirements for another visa should make arrangements to depart Australia before their visa expires. There are serious consequences for overstaying your visa that may affect any future visa applications you may make.

It is also important to remember requirements for skilled migration can change from time to time. For this reason students should choose their field of study based on their academic interests and not in the hope of achieving a particular migration outcome.

With SkillSelect being introduced on 1 July 2012 it was great to see so many students taking an interest in how the new system will affect the Skilled Migration program.

The festival allowed us to answer some of the key questions around SkillSelect. Some of the most common SkillSelect questions we received were:

Will I be granted a Bridging visa when I lodge my expression of interest (EOI)?

No. The EOI is not a visa application and you will not be granted a Bridging visa. A Bridging visa would only be considered once a valid visa application is lodged.

If you do not receive an invitation to apply before your student visa expires you will need to apply for another visa if you want to remain in Australia, or leave Australia before your visa expires.

Can I submit an EOI at any time?

You may submit an EOI from 1 July 2012. However, in order to submit a complete EOI you must meet the necessary requirements for the visa you are expressing an interest in.

Will SkillSelect be able to find me a job?

SkillSelect is not an employment service and will not be able to help you find a job.

If, in your EOI, you choose to be considered for an Employer Sponsored visa, employers will be able to access some of your details in SkillSelect (such as your occupation, work experience and English ability). This information will assist them to consider you for employment. In this way SkillSelect may be able to assist you in finding an employer sponsor.

For more information on SkillSelect, please visit our previous blogs or visit the SkillSelect website .

Some of the other skilled migration questions we received over the course of the day were:

What visa options are available within the Skilled Migration program?

Within the Skilled Migration program there is a range of permanent and temporary visa options. For an overview of the different Skilled Migration visa categories see our fact sheet.

We advise students looking to progress to a Skilled Migration visa to confirm the requirements of the visa they wish to apply for before they lodge their application or submit an EOI.

What are the new post-study work arrangements for students?

Graduates of an Australian Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree will have access to a new post-study work visa scheduled to be introduced in early 2013.

Further information is available on our website.

Do I need to use a migration agent to lodge a skilled migration application or EOI?

No. You do not need to use a migration agent to lodge your application. However, a registered migration agent can advise on visa requirements, help you lodge a visa application and deal with the department on your behalf—usually for a fee.

You can choose to use a migration agent to assist you in submitting an EOI. However, you will only have one login to access your EOI account. You can only specify one email address to be contacted by SkillSelect about any invitations or messages in relation to your EOI account. All email notifications will be sent to your nominated email address and it will be your responsibility to ensure you can access your emails and update your account with any change of email address.

We wish international students all the best with their studies in Australia. If you are a current or former student with a general question about skilled migration, feel free to post it here and we will try to answer it as best we can.

Comments (20)



What is the approximate processing time of the EOI ? If I receive my TR (485) visa after 1/July/2012, will I still need to submit the EOI ? I read somewhere that DIAC only reviews the EOIs from applicants a few times per year ! Is it correct, and if yes, what is the frequency of such activity ? Finally, If an applicant's EOI gets rejected due SOLELY to the occupation quota being reached, can he resubmit the EOI again during the same year ?

Thank you very much for your assistance.


Hi St39,

Thanks for your question and for your interest in SkillSelect. Let me try and clarify a few things for you. Firstly, an EOI is not the same as a visa application and there is no processing time for the EOI. Your ability to receive an invitation will depend on your points score and ranking, or a state or territory nominating you. Your EOI will remain in SkillSelect for a maximum of two years.

Unfortunately I cannot comment on your specific circumstances in this forum. More information for 485 visa applicants/holders will become available in the coming weeks, and I suggest you check our website during this time for updates. However, once SkillSelect is introduced anyone can submit an EOI including people in Australia who hold a Bridging Visa A, B or C.

Departmental officers are not involved in the invitation and selection process. Invitations for the independent and family sponsored visas will be issued automatically to the highest ranking EOIs based on the points score, subject to the occupation ceiling. It is proposed that invitations will be issued on a monthly basis.

State and Territory governments can search for and nominate you for a state or territory sponsored visa at any time, subject to the occupation ceiling. Once nominated, you will receive an invitation automatically from SkillSelect.

The occupation ceiling is based on the 4 digit unit group level of the ANZSCO. You can find information on ANZSCO at: www.immi.gov.au/employers/anzsco/anzsco-code.

Similar occupations will be linked under the same 4 digit unit group level ANZSCO code, therefore if you can nominate more than one occupation they would have to be under different 4 digit unit group level of the ANZSCO for you to avoid the occupation ceiling. If you have another occupation that you can nominate where you can meet the assessment criteria and it is in another ANZSCO 4 digit level then you can submit another EOI with that nominated occupation.


As an international students in Australia, I really feel that now it has been harder to get a permanent residency. I think the point test is a little bit unfair for those who are young but still very skillful. And many bachlor degree graduates are normally under 25 years old except for those who fail too many courses. And many masters are over 25 years old, which does not mean they are better. But I still believe EOI is going to work well.


Hi Becky,

Thanks for your comment. The skilled migration program is highly competitive. Ultimately it is designed to meet Australia’s needs, which means selecting the people best suited to those needs, rather than everyone who would like to come here.

You might be interested to know that maximum points are awarded to applicants aged 25 to 32 because research indicates that migrants in this age group add the most benefit to Australia in terms of lifelong earnings. Applicants aged 18 to 24 and 33 to 39 are awarded 25 points – the second highest amount of points available for age on the points test.


Respected Ben,

I have one question in my mind. Your suggestions will be more appreciated.
I am an international student in Australia doing my masters coursework and my course will be end up by april'2013. I believed that i am not under the "new student visa program of the knight review" which had already been implemented from last year Novemeber'2011. My question is when i will finishes my study by April'2013, Would i be able to apply 485 Graduate Visa? because under the transitinal arrangements for international student as of 23 July 2010, it says all students on 8th February 2010 can apply Tempoary Skilled Graduate Visa (subclass 485) until the end of 2012. So in this situation what sort of visas will be available for former students after finishes their study.

With regards,



Hi Nabajit,

Thanks for your question.

You mentioned transitional arrangements in place for international students, so I just want to clarify what this means. Transitional arrangements were put in place by the Australian Government for those international students already studying in Australia on the 8 February 2010, the date the government announced reforms to skilled migration. These arrangements allow eligible international students access to the subclass 485 visa using the old skilled occupation list until 31 December 2012.

The subclass 485 visa will continue to exist once SkillSelect, and the new post-study work visa, are introduced. This blog isn’t the most appropriate forum to discuss individual cases, though generally speaking, an applicant can apply for this visa provided they meet the eligibility requirements in effect at the time they lodge their application.


I am not a student and I have not studied in Australia yet I am very interested in skilled immigration its a target I would hope to fulfill before my time is done :). I have already got my skilled assessed as an engineer and the assessment was positive yet I am having troubles in achieving a score of seven in each category in the IELTS test though I scored a band score of seven overall. And the question is why giving a high concern in English language and less concern to the skill itself? Its called skilled worker immigration after all. I believe that a person who can achieve a band score of seven overall is worthy of a shot to live the Australian dream if he meets the required level of skill.


Hi Mohamed,

Thanks for your question. There is a strong emphasis placed on English language ability in the Skilled Migration program because research has shown that migrants with good English have a better chance of finding employment and settling into the Australian community. You may be interested to know that the minimum English requirement to apply for most Skilled Migration visas is ‘Competent’ English, which is a score of 6.0 on all four components of the IELTS test.


On what basis will be an EOI be selected for a person doing bachelor.in IT for independent migration.


Hi Roger,

Invitations for independent skilled migration will be issued automatically by SkillSelect based on your ranking and points score, subject to occupation ceilings. You must have a nominated occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) in order to submit a complete EOI for the independent skilled migration program.

Information on the SOL can be found on our website at: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/sol.

You should also visit the SkillSelect website (www.skillselect.gov.au) for information on how SkillSelect will work.


I'm currently in my final year of undergraduate degree...I'm expected to finish by the end of this year and hope to get my registration early nxt year. My visa is due to expire mid march nxt year. I would like to apply for another visa so I could attend our graduation mid nxt year. What visa do i need to apply? I need my registration to get assessed before i could apply for a skilled visa.
For the EOI, does it have a form or its like writing a letter with format? As the above says about EOI, is it possible for me to submit an EOI while I'm waiting for my registration? How long does it take to get a response after i submit an EOI? Thank you!


Hi Angelica,

Your question about extending your student visa is very case specific and I am unable to give you a direct answer in this blog. However there is a section on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website on extending your stay. For more information see: http://www.immi.gov.au/students/students/extending_your_stay/.

In response to your SkillSelect questions:

The EOI will be an online form which asks you a series of questions based on the visa, or visas, you express interest in. In order to submit an EOI, you need to answer all the questions in the EOI. If a requirement of one of the visas you are submitting an EOI for is to have completed a skills assessment or professional registration, then you must have done so and provide this information in your EOI before you can submit a complete EOI and be considered for an invitation.

The likelihood of receiving an invitation is based on your ranking and points score, or being nominated by a state or territory government. Your EOI will remain in SkillSelect for a maximum of two years. You may receive notifications from SkillSelect during this time to notify you of visa program changes, that your EOI is expiring, or other information that you may find useful. However you will not notified of the progress of your EOI or be able to obtain updates on the likelihood of receiving an invitation.


Respected Ben,

Thank you so much for your concise information.
Now i have got the extent idea. I believe these infomation will help me in future.
Thanks heaps....

Your's sincerely,


hi ben, thank you for your information, it really gives me a better understand on skillslect.
and i have two questions: 1:Is it a minimum pass mark(for example 65 points) for states sponsoed visas applicants to reveive invitations?
2:I noticed that there is a significant ,drop at new applications rate because of the new points test, if this situation stil lasts, what would diac deal with larges number of remaiming place?will diac lower the minimum pass mark or give these places to g5 applicants?


Hi Dong,

Thanks for your questions.

We are still developing the legislative framework for the new visa subclasses. However we expect that clients seeking a state sponsored visa will still have to meet a minimum points test pass mark to be eligible for the visa.

There are many tools available to the government to manage the migration program. The recent skilled migration reforms, including the introduction of a new points test, were designed to make the program more demand driven and responsive to the Australian economy. The reforms have already had an impact on the long waiting times for priority group 5 applications. We have recently been able to begin allocating some of these applications.


Hi Ben, thank you for you reply.
I still have a question: the current pass mark is 65 points, what will the minimum pass mark to be set after this July? And is it a unique pass mark that apply to all independent and sponsored visas
applicants regardless of their occupations?


Hi Dong,

The legislative framework for the new visa subclasses is still being developed. We expect that the points test pass mark for independent, State and Territory sponsored and family sponsored visas will remain at 65 points, regardless of the nominated occupation. We say 'expect' because the points test pass mark may be altered or adjusted in response to Australian labour market needs.

Under SkillSelect the pass mark is the minimum number of points required to receive in invitation. Invitations will be issued to the highest ranking EOIs regardless of the nominated occupation on the EOI up until the point when the occupation ceiling is reached for that occupation.



Just a quick question: when will the first batch of invitation be sent? I see from the previous blog that it will be on August 2012.

Many thanks.


Hi Alex, hopefully the below information will assist you.
Invitations will be issued regularly, such as every month. It is proposed that the first round of invitations will be issued in August 2012.
Thank you for commenting on our blog.