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February 4, 2023

Understanding the PR point system for international students in Australia

The high standard of living and immense opportunity for career growth has made many migrate to Australia. The cultural diversity, enchanting beauty, world-class educational institutions and availability of job opportunities are among the other top reasons which make Australia a most desirable country to live in. The country has always remained welcoming to immigrants for fulfilling the persistent skill gaps across various industries. Australia has an annual cap of 195,000 permanent residency (PR) visas. These PR visas are granted generally to skilled workers, their family members and foreign investors who invest in businesses established in Australia.

What is Permanent Residency?

Australia Permanent Residency Visa (PR) is a kind of visa given to the nationals of other countries upon meeting certain set criteria by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA, Australian immigration). An Australian PR (permanent resident) is a non-citizen of Australia, who can work, live and study within Australia similar to that of an Australian citizen without any restrictions.  

The skillselect program is one of the ways by which skilled workers are selected, and it follows a point-based system. If an applicant has a certain skill set that accomplishes the requirement of Australia, then they may express their preference and interest to apply for PR. One can find the list of most in-demand skills in Australia from the two major skills lists, namely, MLTSSL (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skill List) and STSOL (Short-term Skilled Occupational Demand List). Those planning to migrate to Australia, and are confused about acquiring PR in Australia, must first understand how the PR point system works. 

The whole process of acquiring PR is transparent. Interested people can check out the eligibility criteria through online modes such as the official websites and PR points that can be earned based on the current educational, English skills and employment background of the individuals.

The total PR points determine how early a person may get invited to apply for PR. The minimum score required to lodge an Express of Interest (EOS) for an application for PR is 65 points.

Following are the visas that a skilled person can apply for:

The point system is structured in a manner that ensures the immigrant possesses the skill, character and required potential to contribute to the country. Therefore, points are awarded to the person’s age, qualification, language skills, employment and partner’s qualifications, language and skills.

Points Test (Subclass 189, 190 and 491 visas)

The point system is based on the time of invitation.

The parameters for scoring points are included as shown below:

  • Age
Age (Years) Points
18 to 25 25
25 to 33 30
33 to 40 25
40 to 45 15
  • English Language Skills
Level Points
Competent 0
Proficient 10
Superior 20
  • Skills Employment Experience
Number of Years Points
Overseas Skilled Employment (Outside Australia)
Up to 3 years 0
3 to 5 years 5
5 to 8 years 10
Up to 8 years 15
Overseas Skilled Employment (In Australia) Up to 1 year 0
1 to 3 years 5
3 to 5 years 10
5 to 8 years 15
Up to 8 years 20
  • Educational Qualifications
Requirement Points
A Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or a Doctorate from another educational institution, that is of a recognised standard. 20
At least a Bachelor degree from an Australian educational institution or at least a Bachelor qualification, from another educational institution, that is of a recognised standard. 15
A diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution. 10
Attained a qualification or award recognised by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated skilled occupation as being suitable for that occupation 10
  • Specialist education qualification
Requirement Points
A Masters degree by research or a Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution that included at least 2 academic years study  in a relevant field. 10

The postgraduate degree by research in doctorate or masters must be awarded from an Australian education institution. This should be after at least 2 academic years of study in the following science, technology, engineering, mathematics or specified information and communication technology (ICT) fields:

Natural and physical sciences
  • biological sciences
  • chemical sciences
  • earth sciences
  • mathematical sciences
  • natural and physical sciences
  • other natural and physical sciences
  • physics and astronomy
Information technology
  • computer science
  • information systems
  • information technology
  • other information technology
Engineering and related technologies
  • aerospace engineering and technology
  • civil engineering
  • electrical and electronic engineering and technology
  • engineering and related technologies
  • geomatics engineering
  • manufacturing engineering and technology
  • maritime engineering and technology
  • mechanical and industrial engineering and technology
  • other engineering and related technologies
  • process and resources engineering.
  • Australian Study Requirement

You must have a minimum of one degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution that meets the Australian study requirement.

Requirement Points
Meet the Australian study requirement 5
  • Professional Year in Australia

The requirement is that you’ve completed a professional year while applying for the Professional Year. To gain eligibility and score these points, you should have pursued Accounting, ICT/Computing or Engineering, and:

  • in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation
  • completed over a period of at least 12 months
  • completed in Australia in the four years before you are invited to apply for a visa
  • provided by one of these organisations:
    • the Australian Computer Society
    • CPA Australia
    • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
    • the Institute of Public Accountants (formerly the National Institute of Accountants)
    • Engineers Australia.
Requirement Points
Completed a Professional Year in Australia 5
  • Credential Community Language

To be credentialed in a community language and gain eligibility for the award of points, you must have been accredited in the following ways:

  • at the paraprofessional level or above, 
  • certified at the certified provisional level or above, or 
  • have a community language credential to interpret or translate by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
Requirement Points
To hold a qualification in a credentialled community language 5
  • Study in Regional Area  

If you want to gain points for educational qualification then you need to either:

  • Meet the Australian Study Requirement
  • Obtain a designated regional area while you lived in Australia or studied at a Campus
  • Or, not included studies undertaken through distance education
Requirement Points
You must have at least 1 degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution. This qualification should satisfy the Australian study requirement obtained while living and studying in an eligible area of regional Australia. 5
  • Partner Skills
Your spouse or partner must also be an applicant for this visa and meet age, English and the skills criteria.

To get these points, your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen. 

You must also provide evidence that when you were invited to apply for this visa your partner:

  • was under 45 years old
  • had competent English
  • had nominated a skilled occupation that is on the same skilled occupation list as your nominated skilled occupation
  • had a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority, and the assessment wasn’t for a Subclass 485 visa.
Your spouse or partner must also be an applicant for this visa and has competent English

To be eligible for these points, your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and not an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.

You are single or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident 10
  • Nomination Requirement (Specifically for Subclass 190 and 491 visas)
    • Subclass 190 Visa
Requirement Points
You were invited to apply for a Subclass 190 visa, and the nominating State or Territory Government Agency did not withdraw the nomination. 10
  • Subclass 491 Visa
You were invited to apply for a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491) because you were nominated. Also the nominating State or Territory Government Agency did not withdraw their nomination.


A family member has sponsored you for a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491), and it has been accepted by the Minister.


For more information and guidance, contact our Expert counsellors.

Benefits of having a PR visa

With the PR visa, you can enjoy the following entitlements:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely
  • Work and study in Australia
  • Join Australia’s national health scheme, Medicare
  • Apply for a bank loan to purchase property
  • Sponsor relatives eligible for permanent residence
  • Apply for Australian citizenship, if you meet the eligibility criteria
  • Travel in and out of Australia as per your travel permit.
  • Join English language classes for free, by the Adult Migrant English Program
  • Permitted to work in New Zealand

Out of the 195,000 permanent residency visas granted every year, nearly 25,000 positions are reserved for regional migration. Skilled immigrants who can migrate to regional areas in Australia have exclusive access to these 25000 positions. If a person is interested in getting PR in Australia, they need to check their PR eligibility. 

If you need assistance in better understanding the requirements concerning PR in Australia, connect with our expert team’s migration agents today.