Attention South African engineering students! If you’re considering your future prospects after you graduate, you might want to broaden your horizons and think…down under! Australia has a shortage of skilled engineers, and their demand for engineering skills is only increasing as the government pours more money into public infrastructure, and there is once again an uptick in the demand for minerals, along with the global shift towards clean energy and the necessity of adaptation to climate change.
The annual vacancies report from Engineers Australia’s noted that there was a 50% increase in the number of engineering jobs advertised in 2021 and this demand is showing no signs of slowing down in 2023. So what do you need to know as an engineering student about getting into Australia? Here’s what we can tell you.
The Subclass 476 Visa to Australia: Skilled—Recognised Graduate visa
This is a temporary visa that enables engineering graduates from recognised external institutions to gain up to 18 months of skilled work experience in Australia in their chosen field. The purpose of this visa is to provide a foot in the door for graduates to acquire practical experience and potentially qualify for their permanent residence in Australia by progressing through the Skilled visa program pathway.
Are you eligible for the 476 visa to Australia?
- You must be under 31 years old
- You must not have graduated longer than two years ago
- You must hold an eligible engineering degree or qualification from a recognised institution
- You must not have previously held a subclass 476 or 485 visa
- You must satisfy the English language level requirements.
The Skilled—Recognised Graduate visa (subclass 476) is a top choice for fresh engineering graduates who are determined to seek the opportunity to put their skills to the test in the real working world in order to gain valuable experience and potentially build a lucrative career in Australia.
It must be pointed out, however, that this visa is temporary, and at the end of the 18-month period you will be required to leave Australia unless you manage to obtain a permanent visa through other channels.
What happens after your 476 visa expires?
If the plan is to stay in Australia after your visa expires, you will need to apply for another permanent work visa. Depending on the visa route you choose, there will be different conditions to meet.
The Subclass 485 Visa to Australia: Temporary Graduate visa
This is a temporary visa that allows you to live, work and study further in Australia after you have graduated.
Are you eligible for the Subclass 485 Visa to Australia?
- You must be younger than 50
- You must hold an eligible visa
- You must have been a student visa holder in the past six months You must have a recent qualification in a CRICOS-registered course
- You must choose one visa stream only (it is not possible to change later)
- You must supply the required evidence with your application
International students who have recently completed relevant skills and qualifications that are in demand for specific occupations in Australia may apply for this visa. In order to address skills shortages in important industries and rebuild their education sector, Australia has determined that graduates with a Bachelor, Honours or Masters degree will be eligible for a visa extension of a further two years if their qualification is listed on the Department of Education’s Eligible Qualifications List (EQL). Furthermore, doctoral graduates can qualify for an extended two-year validity.
What happens after your Subclass 485 Visa?
There are a handful of options for you once your 485 visa expires.
- You can apply for another student visa
- You can attempt employment sponsorship
- You can attempt permanent residency
Each of these options has different requirements and steps that need to be investigated and followed.
Subclass 482 Visa to Australia – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
Where an employer cannot find a suitably skilled Australian to fill a skilled position, this visa allows the company to look at international candidates. This visa is designed to plug urgent gaps in the Australian labour market by bringing in migrant skilled workers.
Are you eligible for the Subclass 482 Visa to Australia?
- You must be nominated for a skilled position by a sponsor from an approved list
- You must have the necessary skills to do the job required and the job must meet the minimum salary requirements.
- You must also meet other criteria, such as health and character requirements, in addition to meeting the necessary English language requirements.
The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, is a temporary work visa that allows employers to bring international workers in to work in Australia for up to four years, depending on the occupation and stream.
The Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa has three streams:
- Short-Term Stream: Where employers need to sponsor overseas workers for up to two years in occupations listed on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List.
- Medium-Term Stream: Where employers need to sponsor overseas workers for up to four years in occupations listed on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List or the Regional Occupation List.
- Labour Agreement Stream: Where employers have a labour agreement with the Australian government that allows them to sponsor overseas workers in occupations that do not fall into either of the above mentioned streams.
What does the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa allow you to do?
You gain full work rights in Australia and under certain circumstances you can become eligible to apply for permanent residence through the Employer Nomination Scheme or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
The Australian Skilled Visa route
If your student days are long behind you, the Australian Skilled Visa might be your best route into Aus. This visa makes it possible for skilled migrant workers to live and work in Australia permanently, in order to address the shortage of skilled workers in Australia and facilitate the country’s economic growth.
Are you eligible for a Skilled Visa to Australia?
- You must have the required skills and qualifications that are in demand in Australia.
- You must also meet the English language requirements and pass a points test, which evaluates your age, English language proficiency, work experience, education, and other factors to determine eligibility.
What are the categories of skilled visas?
There are several skilled visa routes into Australia. Some of the most popular include:
- Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189): Allows you to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia, even if you do not have employer sponsorship or a state/territory nomination.
- Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190): This visa requires you to be nominated by a state or territory government and allows you to live and work permanently in that specific state or territory.
- Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491): You will require sponsorship from an eligible relative or nomination from a state or territory government in order to live and work for up to five years in designated Australian regions.
- Employer-Sponsored Visas: An employer can sponsor you as a skilled worker to live and work in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis.
Despite high demand for skilled labour in Australia, the Australian Skilled Visa program is extremely competitive. You must meet stringent criteria even for consideration, but if successful you will gain access to all the advantages of living and working in Australia permanently, which includes access to their world-class healthcare and education systems.
FinGlobal: cross-border financial specialists for South Africans abroad
With an extensive, convenient service footprint in Australia, FinGlobal is perfectly positioned to meet all your cross-border requirements, including partners in Australia who can assist with all your visa advice needs. Back in South Africa, FinGlobal is ready to assist with your foreign exchange and tax clearance requirements, making your financial transition as smooth and hassle-free as possible.