In 2015, when I decided to apply for my Australian PR, I found out that there is so much misinformation floating around that it becomes very difficult to apply for PR without hiring migration agent.
I did not want to waste $2000+ on hiring migration agent so I read every blog, every forum, and every website out there on Australia. I educated myself and then created a step-by-step process to Australian PR for myself.
I got my Australian PR in 2016… in just 5 Days after applying!
In this post, you will learn:
- What is the Skilled Migration Program to become Australian PR?
- Which is the best visa for Engineers?
- 2 most important things migration agents did not tell me
- 4 major concerns I had about the PR process
- Why this is the best time to move to Australia?
- Step-by-Step process to apply for Australian PR through the Australian Government’s online portal
Don’t have time now? I have created a FREE downloadable version, Ultimate Guide To Australian PR For Engineers, for you to use.
WHAT IS THE SKILLED MIGRATION PROGRAM TO BECOME AN AUSTRALIAN PERMANENT RESIDENT (PR)
Skilled Migration Program is the official name given by the Australia Government to what is generally called Australian PR. It is essentially a 5-year visa to live and work in Australia as an Australian Resident.
If a PR holder completes at least 4 years living in Australia, then he/she is eligible to apply for citizenship.
Skilled Migration Program is a points-based system.
It means you need to score at least 65 points on their criteria to be able to apply.
Let’s see what does it mean to have an Australian PR:
- You can stay in, or travel in and out of, Australia indefinitely during the 5-year period
- You can work and study in Australia
- You can enroll in Medicare – free healthcare program
- You can apply for Australian Citizenship
- You can sponsor your family members for Permanent Residence as well
- And you don’t need a visa to visit New Zealand 😉
WHAT IS THE BEST VISA FOR ENGINEERS
The visa type that I decided to apply for is called Skilled – Independent Visa (subclass 189). This is what I call the King of all visas.
It allows the visa-holder to live and work in any city in Australia.
There are two other closely related visas that you can apply for as well:
- Skilled – Nominated Visa (subclass 190) which can be applied even at 60 points instead of 65 because you get 5 points automatically from state sponsorship. Unlike for 189 visa, the visa-holder of 190 visa is required to stay in a certain state for 2 years.
- Skilled – Work Regional Provisional Visa (subclass 491) which can be applied at just 50 points because you get 15 points automatically from either state sponsorship or nomination by a family member who already lives in Australia as a PR or a citizen. Unlike 189 visa, this is not a PR visa, but during your 5-year stay here on this visa, you can apply for PR.
Both these visa have exactly similar process to apply as that of 189 visa, so everything that is given in this post applies for all the visas.
2 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS MIGRATION AGENTS DID NOT TELL ME
1) Agents do not have access to anything different than applicants
What agents didn’t tell me was that the online portal to apply for PR only has One Account Per Person. Meaning, that it’s the same login account that both I and my agent would have access to.
Agents do not have any backdoor way to make sure the case is pushed a bit extra. They don’t have separate accounts in which more information is shown.
2) There are only 2 technical aspects in the entire process of application, rest is just filling forms and uploading them
The 2 technical parts that require some effort are: IELTS / PTE exam and Technical Essays (known as CDR) – more on these in the last section.
My migration agent will not be of any help in either of these.
And how can they? Most of the migration agents I was talking to didn’t even have appropriate English in their emails, and how many have scored 8+ in IELTS themselves? None.
4 MAJOR CONCERNS I HAD ABOUT THE PR PROCESS
Concern # 1: Is getting PR a competitive process or will I get it?
I found out that it’s not a competitive process once I understood how the quota works.
On 1st July of each year, Australian Government releases quota (known as Occupation Ceiling) for each profession.
Table below shows the occupation ceilings from 1st July 2019 to 30 June 2020 for some Engineering Fields.
Occupation Ceilings from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 for some Engineering Fields
|Engineering Field||Occupation Ceiling|
|Chemical and Materials Engineers||1000|
|Civil Engineering Professionals||3771|
|Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers||1600|
|Other Engineering Professionals||1000|
Here’s the full list of Occupation Ceilings being updated real-time on the Australian Government’s website.
Concern # 2: Can I get Australian PR even if I have no job experience or job experience in a non-engineering field?
Job experience is only relevant if someone has completed at least 3 years in the engineering field overseas, or at least 1 year in Australia. Otherwise, there are no points for it.
At the time of applying, I had only completed 2 years of job experience overseas, and that too in a non-engineering field, which was irrelevant for PR process. I still got PR.
Concern # 3: How long does it really take to get Australian PR?
The critical process is from the time applicant submits Expression of Interest (explained in last section) till the time it gets accepted. Because I had 65 points at the time of applying, I got accepted in 5 Days.
Before this critical process, there are 2 steps (IELTS/PTE exam and Skills Assessment) which took me about 4 months to complete. After my Expression of Interest got accepted, I submitted online application (Step 4) that took another 8 weeks to process before I got my PR.
Concern # 4: How much does it cost to get Australian PR?
The major cost is actual visa cost which is AUD 4045. But the good news is that it has to be paid only AFTER Expression of Interest (EOI) has gotten accepted.
Before this cost, there are two small costs:
– IELTS or PTE registration fees ~ AUD300
– Skills Assessment fees to Engineers Australia ~ USD600-850 (fee details link)
The above two costs were my actual investments before I got PR.
WHY THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO MOVE TO AUSTRALIA
1) It is the easiest first world country at the moment that is giving PR to people from third world countries.
Even more so, Engineers are in huge demand in Australia.
Getting Australian PR means you can get citizenship after 4 years of living here.
2) Even though Australia is the easiest first world country to migrate to, it is getting difficult every year.
I’ve been tracking it for the past 3 years, collecting data points to analyse the trend. As job markets are getting more saturated, population is rising, major cities are filling up, and supply (number of people applying for PR) is increasing, we are seeing that it’s getting more difficult every year.
Before July 2018, you could get PR at 60 points for several fields, now it’s minimum 65 points to apply.
Moreover, Australia recently removed an entire class of visa which employers used to bring labor from third world countries.
Finally, since 2018 about 200 job categories have been removed from a list of 650. This means that not all professions are welcomed anymore. Engineers have survived the removal of job categories, but will they survive another year, two or four?
STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS TO APPLY FOR AUSTRALIAN PR
Table below summarizes how points are calculated for Expression of Interest (EOI):
|18-24 years old||25|
|25-32 years old||30|
|33-39 years old||25|
|Overseas or Australian Degree|
|Bachelors or Masters Degree||15|
|Australian Study (Degree or Diploma)|
|Studied in Australia for at least 2 years||5|
|Work Experience (in Engineering field)||Outside Australia||Inside Australia|
|Less than 3 years||Less than 1 year||0||0|
|3 to 4 years||1 to 2 years||5||5|
|5 to 7 years||3 to 4 years||10||10|
|8 to 10 years||5 to 7 years||15||15|
|IELTS band / PTE score|
|6 or 6.5 band / 50 to 64 score||0|
|7 or 7.5 band / 65 to 78 score||10|
|8, 8.5 or 9 band / 79 to 90 score||20|
|Spouse with 6 Band (IELTS) / 50 Score (PTE)||5|
|Spouse with 6 Band (IELTS) / 50 Score (PTE) + Relevant Skills Assessment||10|
|Professional Year in Australia||5|
|Community Language Certification in Australia (NAATI)||5|
The above table is what applicants have to play with to reach 65+ points.
This was my profile at the time of applying:
Age: 26 (30 points)
Degree: Bachelors (15 points)
Work Experience: Less than 3 years (0 points)
IELTS score: 8.5 (20 points)
Total: 65 points
Step 1: Take IELTS or PTE exam
I never used to speak English until I was 20. So this step really scared me at first.
My first thought was, ‘Oh man, do I really need to take IELTS exam?’, and my second thought was, ‘Is there a way I can skip it?’ To this, the simple answer is No, IELTS is mandatory.
Since 2018, however, there are other tests that can be used in place for IELTS, such as PTE, but it is compulsory to prepare and take an English test.
The good news is (Yes, there is good news as well) that only IELTS General Training Test is required, which is much simpler than Academic Training.
IELTS test has 4 components: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.
In order to get 10 points towards total score, I needed to have at least 7 score in each of the 4 components.
In order to get 20 points towards total score, I needed to have at least 8 score in each of the 4 components.
Registering for IELTS is very easy. I just Googled ‘British Council IELTS register’ in my city.
A link popped up. I registered there, and chose a date for 1 month in advance.
1 month was more than enough time to prepare for IELTS. I knew that if I gave myself 2 or 3 months, I will still only be preparing in the last month. Human psychology!
I scored 8.5 band in IELTS. Here’s my Test Result.
In 2018, I created the smartest online course on IELTS Preparation, called Ultimate Guide to Hacking IELTS, that has since then helped 3000+ people nail their IELTS exam and apply for this PRs.
If you instead decide to take PTE exam, my online course on PTE Preparation, called Ultimate Guide to Acing PTE, has helped 1000+ people ace their PTE exam.
Step 2: Skills Assessment from Engineers Australia (officially known as Migration Skills Assessment)
This is the step to secure 15 points for Bachelors or Masters Degree, and another 5 to 10 points for work experience.
This list below is called Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), highlighting only Engineering nominated occupations. Applicant is only eligible to apply for 189 visa if the Degree title is closely related to one of these nominated occupations.
|Chemical Engineer||233111||Chemical and Materials Engineers|
|Civil Engineer||233212||Civil Engineering Professionals|
|Electrical Engineer||233311||Electrical Engineers|
|Electronics Engineer||233411||Electronics Engineers|
|Industrial Engineer||233511||Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers|
|Production or Plant Engineer||233513|
|Telecommunications Engineer||263311||Telecommunications Engineering Professionals|
|Telecommunications Network Engineer||263312|
|Aeronautical Engineer||233911||Other Engineering Professionals|
|Telecommunications Engineer||263311||Telecommunications Engineering Professionals|
|Telecommunications Network Engineer||263312|
|Telecommunications Field Engineer||313212||Telecommunications Technical Specialists|
|Telecommunications Network Planner||313213|
|Telecommunications Technical Officer or Technologist||313214|
- If you are applying for Software Engineering or ICT fields, here is the Ultimate Guide To Australian PR For ICT & Software Engineers.
- If you are applying for Accounting related fields, here is the Ultimate Guide To Australian PR For Accountants.
To get Skills Assessed, I created an account on Engineers Australia portal, which is the official body designated by Department of Home Affairs, Australia.
Once there, I clicked on ‘Apply For Migration Skills Assessment’ and created my account.
For university graduates from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, the pathway to Skills Assessment requires CDR – Competency Demonstration Report.
The only exceptions are Indian and Sri Lankan Engineering graduates after 13 June 2014, and Pakistani Engineering graduates after 21 June 2017.
These graduates can just choose Washington Accord Pathway.
- Choose occupation name and code from the table above
- Fill the online form with degree details and attach the documents they have asked for
- Attach evidence of work experience (only get points if it is in engineering field)
- Complete CDR – Competency Demonstration Report (next section)
Competency Demonstration Report (CDR)
The CDR consists of 3 parts:
- Continuing Professional Development
- Three Career Episodes
- Summary Statement
Continuing Professional Development
This is just ONE-page list of applicant’s engineering related activities since graduation. These can include:
- Formal post-graduate study
- Conferences at which you have delivered papers or attended
- Short courses, workshops, seminars, discussion groups, technical inspections and technical meetings you have attended
- Preparation and presentation of material for courses, conferences, seminars and symposia
- Services to the engineering profession (volunteer work, board or committee volunteering, mentoring, etc.)
- Private study (includes books, journals, manuals, etc.)
Three Career Episodes
This is the most crucial step in CDR.
According to Engineering Australia,
“A career episode is an account of your engineering education and/or work experience. Each career episode focuses upon a specific period or distinct aspect of your engineering activity. Each career episode must focus on a different period or aspect of your engineering activity. Each episode should focus on how you applied your engineering knowledge and skills in the nominated occupation.”
Each career episode must clearly demonstrate engineering knowledge and skills in the field chosen. That is, applicant has to state what he did and describe how he did it, emphasising his own personal role in the experience.
Once I had written my 3 Career Episodes, I filled a Summary Statement template provided by Engineers Australia on it’s website.
After this I submitted and waited for about 12 weeks to get Positive Skills Assessment.
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Step 3: Expression of Interest (EOI)
After completing step 1 and 2, I was ready to submit my Expression of Interest (EOI).
EOI is completed online by logging into portal called, SkillSelect.
It is completely FREE to submit and it didn’t take me more than 30 minutes to fill in the information.
To start my EOI application process, I clicked HERE.
Pressed ‘Submit an EOI’, and a new window opened.
Started filling my personal information.
Created my Password by giving email and passport information.
Once done, an EOI ID was issued to Login anytime and update EOI, even after submitting it.
Selected visa type: Skilled – Independent (Subclass 189)
Entered my IELTS score information, Education qualification, and Employment details.
On the Skills Assessment section, selected my occupation, as the one that has been endorsed by Engineers Australia in Step 2.
Selected ‘Yes’ for the question asking ‘Does the client have a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority?’.
No documents were needed to be attached for proof at this stage but reference number for both IELTS and Skills Assessment by Engineers Ausralia had to be provided.
Once I submitted EOI, it showed me confirmation with total points of 65.
And then I waited!
On 6 July 2016, after 5 Days of submitting, I got email saying my EOI has been approved and I’m invited to apply for visa (step 4).
Step 4: Visa Application
I had 60 days after the EOI acceptance invitation to make a visa application online.
To lodge my visa application, I followed this link to Immigration portal.
Created my ‘username’ and ‘password’ and hopped in.
The information I submitted in EOI had already been pre-filled here.
This step was extremely simple as well.
I just had to submit visa application form online which took 5 minutes to fill as most of the information was repeated from EOI.
Then I attached scanned versions of relevant documents (don’t have to be certified).
– Positive Skills Assessment evidence by Engineers Australia
– Age (Passport or Birth Certificate)
– IELTS/PTE Result
– Degree & Employment Proof (same as submitted to Engineers Australia in Step2)
After I attached these documents, I pressed Submit.
After about a month, they asked for submitting Form 80. This was a bit lengthy form to fill in.
Information to fill in form 80:
- Residential addresses for last 10 years
- Travel history for last 10 years (trick I used to complete this section was to see the stamps and dates of those stamps on my passport)
- Internships and part-time work information
- Parents and siblings’ basic information (name, date of birth, citizenship)
- 2-line answer to why I am travelling to Australia, and why do I want to remain in Australia
This was my 2-line answer:
“I’m a top performer in my field. I can contribute at the highest level in a country which advocates merit. I believe I’ll be an asset to this multi-cultural society Australia is”
This part was lengthy but simple and no extra documentary evidence was required.
Once I submitted this form, I was asked to submit my Police Character Certificate (from countries I have lived in the past 10 years) and also get Medical check-up done from the designated lab in my city.
When I went to the medical place mentioned by Immigration Authority, they already know what to do, and they sent the results directly to the Immigration Authority.
And that was it!
After completing Step 4, I got the awesome email with PR in just a month.
Now here I am in Australia 🙂
Through AustraliaYours, I love sharing my experiences that can help my readers save thousands of dollars and many months of effort. I hope this was useful.
P.S. I have created a FREE downloadable version, Ultimate Guide To Australian PR For Engineers, for you to use.