International graduates of Australian universities who want to continue to work and live in the country once they have completed their studies can look at specific pathways to do so.

As part of an overall aim to attract and retain international talent in specific skill areas, Australian states and territories provide state nominations to working and living for international graduates.

These pathways are through state nominations that assist with the skilled visa application process and each State has its own application process. It is not a visa application but obtaining a state nomination can help with meeting the requirements for a visa.

Research Fellow Muhammad Akram from Pakistan considered studying in the UK or the United States but eventually chose Australia. He thought he would have to leave after completing his studies but then heard about the state nomination programme.


Akram applied online through the Live in Victoria website and found the process of application very straight forward and was accepted within three months. "My supervisor at university was extremely supportive and encouraging of me and my application for permanent residency," said Akram.

He is now a research fellow at Monash University's Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics in Melbourne. As a research fellow Akram's work is very computer intensive, however it also involves teaching, which he finds very rewarding. "I enjoy conveying the information I have to others," he added.

All visa applications need to go to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) which is responsible for the assessing and granting of all visas. But applicants need to find a job first.

"While you are still studying, use the career advisory and employment services available through your educational institution. Career staff are well-connected with past graduates who are now employing people and they also understand the job market," said a spokesman for the Victorian government.

"They are usually available to help you personally and they may also organise a range of seminars you can attend to help you search for a job. Careers services also have a range of resources and information to help you decide your career direction, teach you how to find opportunities and how to market your skills and successfully apply for jobs," the spokesman added.

The state nomination programme gives applicants access to a more extensive occupation list, means additional points for certain visas and priority application processing with the DIBP.

Many States are seeking to attract highly skilled and employable international graduates in target occupations which are difficult to fill from the local labour market. These are usually done via the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa which allows graduates to live and work in Australia permanently.

Some States give priority to graduates from universities within that State and the visa requirements are the same as for other visas in terms of competence in English and a points test score of 60 or higher.

Each State has a list of occupations that are viable for this route for graduates. For example in Queensland they include mathematicians, civil engineers, surveyors, environmental scientists, teachers, physiotherapists, midwives, nurses and social workers.

"State nomination provides a pathway to permanent residency for international graduates of South Australia. Graduates who have completed their studies in South Australia could be eligible for an additional five to 10 extra points towards the DIBP points test for Regional and Australian Study," said a spokesman for Immigration South Australia.