South Australia announces improved opportunities for skilled migration

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Are you, or do you plan to be a long term student in South Australia? Your pathway to permanent residency has never been brighter. Graduates from SA educational institutions will benefit from changes announced by Immigration SA to its general skilled migration nomination policies. These changes will recognise international students who have been long-term residents of South Australia; the changes expand the high performing graduate category for South Australian graduates, and remove the minimum bachelor’s degree requirement under the Chain Migration (family reunion) category. In the initial stage, these changes will be part of a pilot program and may change in the future, in addition to any future changes to Commonwealth requirements.

Rewarding international students that have been long-term residents of South Australia

In recognition of the long pathway many international students take to achieving their career and permanent residency goals, Immigration SA is making the following changes:

From 28 February 2019, Immigration SA will offer state nomination for the Provisional 489 visa to any applicant who:

  • Is a current or former international student residing in South Australia; AND
  • Has resided continually in South Australia since March 2012 or earlier and continues to reside in South Australia; AND
  • Is currently:
  1. working in South Australia in any occupation (does not have to be at a skilled level) for at least the last 3 months (minimum of 40 hours per fortnight); OR
  2. studying a course with a minimum duration of one academic year in South Australia.


To be eligible to apply, you will need to:

  • Show evidence that you have remained in South Australia continuously since March 2012.
  • Show evidence of the various courses you have enrolled in, the visa subclasses and residency you have held over time.
  • Show evidence you have completed a CRICOS registered course with a minimum duration of 46 weeks to be considered a former international graduate of South Australia
  • Meet all other state nomination and Department of Home Affairs’ requirements to apply.
  • You need a valid Skills Assessment and English language test result, as is the case for any application for state nomination.
  • Show you have achieved the minimum Department of Home Affairs requirement of ‘Competent’ English is necessary (unless a higher level is required for registration purposes - see 6.5 and 9.10).
  • Short visits home or holidays will not break the SA residency requirement, but you must show evidence of continued connection to South Australia (i.e. continued enrolment and/or employment and relevant visa held).
  • If you are currently studying, this course must also be CRICOS registered for minimum of 46 weeks.
  • If you have lived, studied or worked in another Australian jurisdiction for any period of time since 2012, you will not be eligible. Verification checks will apply.

Expanding the high performing graduate category for South Australian graduates

If you are a student who meets the high performing graduate criteria, Immigration SA offers state nomination without the need for work experience to students able to obtain a skills assessment.

To achieve this work experience waiver, you need a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 6.0 for South Australian graduates with a bachelor’s degree graduates or a masters by coursework after a South Australian bachelor’s degree,

This mark remains for those seeking nomination for a permanent 190 visa.

If you have performed very well in your studies, but not to a GPA of 6.0 and above, Immigration SA will offer Provisional visa nomination (subclass 489) to those scoring a GPA of 5.20 to 5.99. This will allow you to spend longer in South Australia than via other temporary pathways available, giving you more time to establish your career.

This expansion is most relevant to students completing courses where an occupational skills assessment is possible immediately upon course completion, such as engineering and accounting/business degrees. Some courses, particularly those assessed by VETASSESS, require at least 12 months of skilled work experience before a skills assessment can be awarded.

To access this waiver, you must have completed their South Australia degree within the last two years and continued to live in South Australia since then.

Minor change to Chain Migration Policy (removal of bachelor’s degree requirement)

“Chain migration” is a form of family reunification visa and has enabled many migrants to join with their family members in South Australia since its introduction in 2014.

The chain migration pathway has required a minimum bachelor degree since its introduction. For applicants with an eligible family member already residing in South Australia, the chain migration pathway offers access to occupations on the Supplementary Skilled List.

This bachelor’s degree requirement has now been removed, meaning you can now access a range of trade occupations that are not on the State Nominated Occupation List if you have eligible family in South Australia.

The chain migration pathway continues to offer access to a provisional visa, not a permanent visa.

If you are considering applying for chain migration, it is important that you carefully consider your likelihood of achieving skilled employment in your nominated occupation or any other occupation when making the decision to migrate. Remember, you are being nominated primarily based on your close family links. Your existing family member is expected to provide you with considerable settlement support if needed.

These changes mean it has never been more possible to find your pathway to Australian permanent residency through study in one of the many leading education institutions in South Australia.

Interested in study in Australia?


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