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Australian Migration Pathway for PHD Students

Meta Description: For PhD Graduates, Australia is booming with employment opportunities each day, and each region has its own set of skills that are raging in demand.

The land down under is home to thousands of opportunities for individuals from around the world to travel, study, work or settle here. However, if you are a graduate or a PhD student, there are multiple sectors in Australia where you can earn a position as a skilled employee.

Opportunities for PhD Graduates are spread far and wide across Australia’s regions and you can apply easily for each one, given that you’ve stocked up on all the information beforehand.


Among the multiple methods of applying, there is also a Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa) and a Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional Visa). If you are a PhD graduate scanning Queensland for employment chances, make sure you fit the criteria points given below:

  • The Australian Government has a list of Skilled Occupations which contain vacant positions for skilled individuals. Before applying, make sure your skillset falls into one of these occupations.
  • You must be a graduate of a university based in Queensland.
  • You will be required to take a points-test beforehand. Also, it is mandatory that you have a score of 65 or above in this test.

Do not fret if you have not received a formal offer for employment. You can still apply for a chance to work in Queensland also known as the Sunshine state.


Presently, the Garden State follows the same procedure for assessing PhD Graduates as the other states: through either a Subclass 190 or a Subclass 491. The criteria for applying for either Subclass are as follows:

  • You will be required to live and work in Victoria
  • Victoria is mostly focused on applicants who possess a STEM skillset. So you have the chance to choose from the following sectors:
    Medical Research
    Life Sciences
    Advanced Manufacturing
    Energy and Sustainability
    Creative Sector
  • Your age must be under 45 years.
  • You have earned a minimum 65 points on the aforementioned points test.
  • You must be fluent in English.
  • You must possess a valid Skills Assessment.


Famous for its apple industry, Tasmania is also on the lookout for skilled individuals to join their workplace through Subclass 190 and Subclass 491. Before you move forward, make sure you check all the conditions listed below, which are separate for either subclass:

Subclass 190

  • The academic institute you are a graduate of should be CRICOS approved.
  • You must have resided in Tasmania at least 2 years before applying. It is also necessary to add that you intend to stay in the Apple State in the future as well.
  • In most cases, you will also be required to provide a plan or course for your career. This might come in use if you are not presently in skilled employment.

Subclass 491

  • This subclass too requires you to graduate from a CRICOS approved institution.
  • Your PhD studies weightage should be between 75% and 100% in each semester.
  • Your studies should have been completed through full-time study and on campus. If you have studied online, you will only be considered if this was due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Be sure to add any past employment records as this will be considered. But if you haven’t any experience, send the application without it.

South Australia

This region is known by either one of its two nicknames: The Festival State or the Wine State. Open for the same opportunities as its fellow regions, South Australia too looks to assess PhD graduates on the basis of applications for Subclass 190 and Subclass 491. Additional criteria are listed below:

  • You are a graduate of CRISCO approved institute and have at least completed 46 weeks of studies at the said institute.
  • You must complete at least half of your application in South Australia to be eligible.
  • During the course of your PhD you should have resided in the Festival State for at least 12 months. Even after your course ends, it is preferable if you are still living in the region.
  • You must have prior work experience in your nominated field. Better yet, make sure you are working at least 20 hours per week in the said field.
  • Be sure to meet the Department of Home Affairs beforehand for the best visa for you.

Northern Territory

Alas, this region does not provide a platform for prospective PhD students to study. However, fret not, because if you are opting for employment opportunities via either one of the subclasses stated above, you still have a chance. The conditions unique to this region are as follows:

Just like most of the aforementioned conditions:

  • You must be under the 45 age limit.
  • You must also have obtained a minimum of 65 points in the required assessment test.
  • You must be fluent in English. Please note, that you might be asked to provide an IELTS result of at least the 6 mark.
  • You must have a valid skills assessment.

The following is a list of criteria unique to the Northern Territory:

  • On receiving your Visa, you must be committed to residing and working in the Northern Territory post your PhD.
  • Your occupation must be on the list of Skilled Occupations by the Australian Government. Keep in mind that NT has its own list of occupations that are highly required.
  • In case you are an offshore applicant (applying for a Subclass 190 or 491 while living outside Australia), NT also requires you to provide a list of all financial assets. NT has a list of the minimum value your assets combined should have.
    Note: The minimum value would rise depending on how you are applying: by and for yourself, with a spouse, with a spouse and one child, or with a spouse and two children.

New South Wales

Like the Northern Territory, New South Wales or NSW too does not offer any program for PhD students. They do however boast several, in-demand opportunities for PhD graduates looking to work in the Australian market. They do however have a different set of criteria for whichever Subclass -190 or 491 – you are planning to apply for.

Subclass 190

  • You must possess a valid skills assessment report. Also, you must submit a Submission stating your interest.
  • You must have experience working practically for a minimum of 3 years.
  • If you are applying from Australia, it is necessary that you be a current resident of NSW, and have lived here for at least 3 months prior to the application. Furthermore, you must be willing to work in NSW for a long-period of time, giving at least 20 hours of work each week.
  • If you are an offshore candidate, you must be living outside Australia for a minimum 3 months at the time of applying. NSW follows assessments provided through ANZSCO, so you make sure you have passed a Skills Assessment by an ANZSCO unit group.

Subclass 491

  • As a Phd Graduate, you must have a valid skills assessment for this Subclass as well.
  • You must have concluded your studies at least 2 years before applying. Note: you will be assessed based on your nominated occupation.

Australian Capital Territory

Looking to dip into the workplace in ACT, you can take a chance with the Doctorate Streamlined Nomination program. The program is ACT’s own plan to offer opportunities to PhD students.  Their basic criteria include the following:

  • You must have resided in ACT, or Canberra for at least 1 years prior to submitting your application.
  • You have a professional or a doctoral degree from a certified university in ACT.
  • Your selected occupation is listed on the Skilled Occupations list.

An additional perk of selecting ACT for your prospective employment is that the ACT Government may invite you to work in the region. This depends on whether your set of skills are in demand in the territory. Note: you cannot apply for or request for this opportunity to be granted.

In case you are an offshore applicant, your eligibility for ACT’s program depends on whether you have received a degree from a university in ACT or Canberra in the past 24 months.

Western Australia

Home to Australia’s fourth-largest city, Perth, Western Australia is a grand location to work in. You can scan the region for employment opportunities and apply via Subclass 190 and Subclass 491.

  • It is mandatory that you are fluent in English.
  • WA has its own unique list of skilled occupations that are high in demand in the region. Make sure your selected occupation is listed there.
  • You should be a full-time working individual. You might also be required to provide a copy of a valid Employment Contract for this.
  • If you are not a WA resident, you will have to provide sufficient evidence that you are financially stable.
  • If you are applying from overseas, you can be eligible given that you have completed a minimum of 2 years at an institute in WA.

Note: If you are an international applicant, you might not have occupations listed on WA’s Graduate Occupations List. But if you are a PhD or Graduate level person, you will most likely find your place easily on the list.

Now that you’re aware of these criteria requirements, you will be better prepared for your application journey. Good luck and keep in mind that Australia’s workplace is expanding with a plethora of chances each day!

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