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International students may not realise that living in Regional Australia is a great alternative than to live in main cities like Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, as it will give them a lot of benefits in the long-term.
One of those benefits is having high priority when applying for permanent residency over other applicants once you finish your studies.
Also, living and studying in a regional area will give you a huge advantage with an additional 5 points to the Skilled Migration points test.
Why living in Regional Australia?
You don’t have to worry about the lack of anything in regional Australia.
In regional cities, you will find everything you need when it comes to facilities and entertainment. Also, you will have a more relaxed life away from the noise of metropolitan cities.
Also, in regional areas, people make you feel like part of their community as life there is more relaxed. Therefore, they take the time to get to know people.
Furthermore, the regional university’s campuses are smaller so you will have this small community experience. There it gets easy to meet new people and make friends.
On the other hand, when it comes to scenery, you will be experiencing what Australia is famous for: the natural environment, the tropical rainforest, the beaches and deserts. You will be able to discover this part of Australia without having to spend a lot of money on flight tickets.
Why studying in Regional Australia?
In regional Australia, you can find top-rated Universities. It includes the University of Tasmania, University of Canberra, James Cook University and the University of Adelaide, among others.
Also, Universities and schools in regional Australia offer a more personalised university experience as well as a great relaxing lifestyle with beautiful landscapes, surrounded by nature.
What places in Australia are considerate regional?
Regional areas are divided by categories as the following:
Every major city like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane falls in this category.
They are not considered regional areas, therefore if you live there you will not receive any incentive.
Cities and major regional centres of Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart are in this category.
In category 3 falls regional centres and other regional areas.
In the Home Affairs Website, you can see exactly the list of postcodes of regional centres and other regional areas, as well as major regional centres.
What benefits does it include?
If you have lived and study in Category 2, you will have access to the following benefits:
- Access to 25000 regional places.
- You will have priority in the regional visa application process
- Access to the regional occupation list which has more jobs compared to non-regional lists.
- You, as an international student, will be eligible for an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa. For this, you will also have to obtain a bachelor or higher qualification from a registered institution.
Also, for Category 3 you will have the same benefits as for category 2. The main difference is that in category 3 international graduates will be eligible to access an additional 2 years in Australia on a post-study work visa rather than one year.
What type of Regional visas can I get after finishing my studies?
Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491)
To get the Skilled Work regional visa, you will have to be nominated by a state or territory government. Or be sponsored by an eligible family member living in regional Australia.
Other requirements are the point test, be under 45 years old, have English proficiency and comply with some health specifications.
To be eligible for permanent residency under this visa you will have to live and work in regional Australia for 3 years. This visa will be valid for 5 years.
Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (subclass 494)
The requirement to apply to the Skilled Employer-Sponsored regional visa is to have an employer in regional Australia that is willing to sponsor you. Also your occupation has to be in the occupation list.
Additionally, you must live and work in the designated regional area for the duration of the visa, which is up to five years.
This visa also provides a permanent residency pathway. To be eligible for permanent residency you have to continue living and working in regional Australia for at least 3 years before applying.
As a requirement, your position has to be for at least 5 years. Also, your employer has to demonstrate that the position was unable to be fulfilled by an Australian citizen.
Additionally, they have to assure that your salary and conditions will be the same as what an Australian citizen would receive for the same position.
The Graduate Visa is only available for international students that have completed a minimum of two years of study.
Depending on the Postgraduate study visa stream you choose, you can stay up to 4 years in the country. The benefit of studying in regional Australia is that you can have an additional 1 to 2 years visa duration.
Additional years requirements
To have access to the Graduate visa extra years you need to:
- Graduate from a registered university or institution with higher education or postgraduate qualification from a regional area campus.
- Maintain your residence in a regional area while holding your first Graduate Visa.
To apply to this visa, you also need to be already holding an eligible visa, meet an English proficiency requirement, be less than 50 years old and as mentioned before, have completed a minimum of 2 years of studying.
The university from which you graduated has to be located in regional Australia. This in order to get the 1 to 2 years extension.
It is up to you if you choose to live in Regional Australia or in the main cities. It depends on what lifestyle you like. However, before making a decision you should make your research regarding the University you want to study and how’s the life in the specific city you want to live in.