While it may seem complicated at first, immigrating to Australia can actually be a simple process. All it takes is having an understanding of the Australian point system so that you can accumulate enough points to become a permanent resident.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Australian point system and how to become a permanent resident.
What is the PR point system?
The Australian point-based system is a tool used by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to assess and score potential Australian immigrants.
Potential immigrants receive points based on different factors such as age, English proficiency, employment experience, and qualifications.
A minimum score of 65 points is required to be eligible for permanent residency. A score higher than 80 generally makes applicants strong candidates for permanent residence.
What factors are included in the point breakdown?
Several factors impact your score, including:
Different points are awarded to candidates based on their age. In general, the age groups are awarded more or less points based on how likely or long they can work and contribute to the economy.
Applicants between the ages of 25-32 receive the most points, while those 45 or over receive the least.
Regardless, age is not the only factor that earns points, so there is no need to worry if you receive fewer points in this category.
Here’s how the DIBP award points based on age:
- 18-24 years – 25 points
- 25-32 years – 30 points
- 33-39 years – 25 points
- 40-44 years – 15 points
- 45 years and over – 0 points
Language proficiency is another important factor in gaining points for your Australian PR visa. Language proficiency is broken up into five levels: functional, vocational, competent, proficient, and superior.
Each level earns a different number of points. The higher your score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the more points you will receive.
If you score:
- 8 or more on the IELTS, you will receive 20 points for language skills. This is the highest possible score.
- 7 on the IELTS earns 10 points for language skills.
- Scoring 6 or less on the IELTS doesn’t earn any points.
Other tests, including the Occupational English Test (OET), Pearson Test of English (PTE), and the Cambridge C1 Advanced English Test (CAE) are also accepted for proficiency scores. The score you submit needs to have been earned in the last three years to be considered eligible.
Work experience can impact your score, too.
Depending on where and how long you have worked, your score can change. Longer work experience in Australia earns the most points, while little to no relevant work experience earns the least.
You’ll need to provide official evidence of your work experience with your application. This includes employment contracts, payslips, or reference letters from your employer.
According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the following points are awarded to overseas skilled workers:
- Less than three years of relevant work experience – 0 points
- Less than 5 years of relevant work experience – 5 points
- Less than 8 years of relevant work experience – 10 points
- 8 years of relevant work experience – 15 points
On the other hand, this is the point breakdown if you have worked in Australia:
- Less than 1 year of relevant work experience – 0 points
- 1-year relevant work experience – 5 points
- 3 years of relevant work experience – 10 points
- 5 years of relevant work experience – 15 points
- 8 years of relevant work experience – 20 points
You can only claim points for work experience you’ve had in the last 10 years, and the minimum requirement is that it must be for a part-time position (20 hours a week).
Your level of education plays a significant role in your ability to obtain permanent residency in Australia.
The higher your level of education, the more points you will be awarded on the points-based immigration system, and you can earn extra points for studying in Australia.
Here are the points you can earn for your education:
- Doctorate – 20 points
- Bachelor’s degree – 15 points
- Diploma or trade qualification from Australia – 10 points
- Skills Assessment Certificate – 10 points
State and family sponsorship
A sponsorship essentially means that someone, either the government or a citizen of Australia, can vouch that you will be a good member of Australian society.
Having a sponsorship can bump up your chances of becoming a permanent resident.
If you are sponsored by a state or territory government, you’ll be awarded 5 additional points. If you are sponsored by a close relative (a spouse, de facto partner, child, or parent), you will be awarded 10 additional points.
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and must have been assessed as suitable to migrate to Australia if you are planning to sponsor them.
Can I change my score?
For some categories, yes, you can change your Australian PR points. Here are some ways you can change your points score:
Retake your language test
If you aren’t happy with the score you received on your first language test, you can retake the test and try to get a higher score.
Taking your language exam before beginning the application process may be wise, especially because it allows you to prepare as much as you can for the proficiency exam.
Working towards increasing your language proficiency score could increase your points total by as much as 20 points depending on your current level of proficiency.
Gain work experience in Australia
Depending on how quickly you hope to immigrate, gaining work experience in Australia is a great way to increase your score. It can be worth anywhere between 5 and 20 points depending on how long you work.
Working in Australia gains you more points for less work experience, which may make a difference for young applicants who are just starting their careers.
You can apply for a Graduate Work visa, Student Visa, or even a Working Holiday visa to come to Australia and gain some local work experience. These are temporary visas, so your stay is only as long as your role permits.
If you already have some Australian work experience, make sure to list it on your application form as this could potentially increase your points total.
Go back to school
You’ll gain more points for your education with each degree you hold. Though you certainly don’t have to consider enrolling in a Ph.D. program, simply working towards your bachelor’s or associate’s degree can make a difference.
If you are looking to advance degrees you already have, a Doctorate from an Australian institution or a Master’s by research can give you an extra 5 points.
Try to find a sponsor
Having a state or family sponsorship can earn you between 5 and 10 additional points.
If you have family living in Australia, reach out to them and ask them if they would consider sponsoring you. This includes parents and partners, which have their own application stream.
You can also earn more points by obtaining sponsorship from a territory government. Different Australian states and territories need specific skilled labor that you may be the right candidate for!
How do I apply for PR?
There are a few simple steps you need to follow to apply for Australian permanent residency.
Find the right program for you
The first step to applying for Australian PR is finding the right program for you. There are many different programs available, each with specific eligibility requirements.
There are three common streams for applying for Australian permanent residency: A family stream application, a skilled stream application, or a business or investment stream application.
These streams have more specific applications that depend on specific situations. Once you have found the right program for you, make sure you have the necessary documents and meet the eligibility criteria.
Bump your score wherever you can
The next step is to make sure you have the required points for your chosen program. Different programs may have different point requirements for specific categories, but in general, 65 is the minimum required amount to be eligible for an Australian PR visa.
Some programs require high levels of language proficiency, work experience, or financial resources, so be sure that you check specifics as you apply.
You’ll be required to provide evidence of any claimed skills, qualifications, and work experience.
Collect the required documents
After you have found the right program and met the eligibility requirements, you’ll need to start collecting the required documents.
The first step is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) on the Skillselect website and if it meets all the requirements you’ll be issued an Invitation To Apply (ITA).
Some programs may require additional documentation, but all programs ask that you provide:
- A valid passport
- Birth certificate
- English language test results
- Report of Educational Credential Assessment
- 2 passport-size photographs
- Immunization records and health exam
Submit your application
Once you receive your Invitation to Apply, you have 60 days to submit your application. Make sure you include all the required supporting documents.
You will also need to pay an application fee. This can be done online or by mail, but generally online payments are processed quicker.
Wait for a decision
That’s it! All you have to do now is wait for a decision. Processing time depends on the stream you applied through and the current application volume.
Express Entry can help you navigate your move to Australia!
Understanding the point system for immigrating to Australia can help you streamline your application process. Remember, the more points you score, the higher your chance of being invited to apply for permanent residency will be.
If you want more detailed information or have any specific questions, our team at Express Entry PR is here to help. We can provide expert advice on the best way to boost your score and submit an application that stands out from the rest.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today!