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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Points for PR

For most General Skilled Migration visas, your application will be assessed against a points test. You can claim points under a range of different factors. The maximum points that can be claimed in any one factor reflects how valuable those characteristics are in the Australian labour market or in assisting settlement.

What is the pass mark?

The pass mark is the total points you need to score to be eligible for a points–tested General Skilled Migration visa.

What happens if you don't meet the pass mark?

If you have applied for a Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 175) or a Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176) and you score below the pass mark, but above the 'pool mark', your application will be held 'in the pool' for up to two (2) years after assessment.

If the pass mark is lowered at any time in that two (2) year period, and your score is equal to or higher than the new pass mark, your application will be processed further.

Rather than waiting in the pool, you could consider the following visa options if you do not meet the pass mark:

  1. If you score 100 points you may be eligible for a Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176) or a Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 475) visa.
    Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176) visa
    Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 475) visa
  2. If you meet the pool mark for the Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (Subclass 175), you can still lodge and register for the Skill Matching Database. More information on Skill Matching is available.
    See: Skill Matching Database

What are the current pass and pool marks?

The table below lists all the current pass and pool marks for the points–tested visas in the General Skilled Migration category.

Category Pass mark Pool mark
Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 175) 120 100
Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176) 100 80
Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 475) 100 100
Skilled – Independent (Residence) visa (subclass 885) 120 120
Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) visa (subclass 886) 100 100
Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 487) 100 100

How often do the pass and pool marks change?

Changes to the pass and pool marks occur to address Australian labour market needs.

You should check the current pass mark immediately before making an application. You will be assessed against the pass and pool mark that is in effect on the day you make your application.

Points Break down

You can calculate your points at this link


Please note that the pass marks are subject to change. You should check the latest pass marks when making decisions. I will update my blog regularly to reflect any changes in the pass marks.


Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018

A-Z Immigration guide for International Students and Professionals

Since I have been receiving large volumes of email requesting me to explain in detail about how to migrate to Australia, I will try to answer this not-easy-to-answer question over here.

You can migrate to Australia by following different path ways.

One such path way is by coming to Australia as an international student and then applying for Permanent Residency, PR.

The point to note while applying for PR is that you have to gain certain number of points. If you can score the required points, you get PR. If not then you have to do some thing else to get extra points to be eligible for PR.

How much points you have to score? That depends on the type of immigration you are applying for. For a complete list of different categories of immigration, please check this post.

Once you have determined which category you have to apply through, you look up the required score for your category. For example, these days, the score required for International students is 120. For a complete list of scores for different categories, check this post.

Once you have determined what the required score is, you go about calculating whether you can score that much points or not.

So this is a brief over view of how to immigrate to Australia.

1. Chose your category.
2. Check the score for that category.
3. See if you can score that many points or not.

Now there are two ways to immigrate. On shore and offshore immigration. I have explained both of them in the post mentioned above. You can visit it here.

I will first explain the process of immigrating for those people who want to immigrate to Australia as international students.

Immigrate to Australia as an International Student

The reason most people are interested in coming to Australia as an international student is because later on they want to apply for PR and get settled down in Australia. If you are one of them then read what I have written below.

If you want to apply for PR after completing your post graduate degree, you need a great deal of planning. You need to have the precise knowledge of how many points you will get once you finish your degree and whether you can then apply for PR with that number of points or not. If not, then what is the way to make up for those points. Make sure you know ever thing before you come to Australia. It would be of no use if you complete your only to know that you are short of 5 points. You will be left high and dry in the middle of no where and your whole two years of emotional, physical, financial and academic investment would be ruined.

Ok enough of advices. Time to get down to the basics.

Step 1.

If you want to immigrate to Australia, you need to have some thing which Australia needs. A particular type of Skill which is in demand in Australia.

How can you tell if the skills you have are in demand or not?

You can check that from the Skilled Occupation List SOL, or the Most on Demand List, MODL.

There is no difference between SOL and MODL except that certain professions on SOL are in high demand and therefore placed on MODL. If you have skills of an occupation listed on MODL, you will claim bonus points for that.

What if my profession is not on SOL?

If your profession is not on SOL, you will score less points then those whose occupations are listed on SOL. So all you have to do is to get those extra points from other alternative means to cover up for your occupation not being in SOL.

Check this post to see how to get extra bonus points.

What next?

The next step is to apply for an admission in an Australian university for a post graduate degree which is closely related to the profession of your choice. I will deal with undergraduate degrees later on.

This profession of choice would be the same as the one you have chosen on SOL. Please note that the word "closely related" is very technical in nature and you should be completely sure that your degree IS actually closely related to your choice of profession.

You are also supposed to be enrolled in a course which is a valid CRICOS course. If you enrol in a course which is not a valid CRICOS course, you are not eligible for PR.

How Do I know that my degree will fetch me 60 points or not?

That's pretty easy. Simply check the website of your assessing authority's website and see if the degree you are undertaking is listed on the website or not. If it is, then how many points is it worth for?

For example, I did a 2 years MSc Internetworking Extended from UTS. My assessing authority is Australian Computer society, ACS. The ACS lists all the degrees from all the universities of Australia, which it recognises as valid degrees and also assigns scores to those degrees. ACS has listed my degree as worth 60 points.

Since the time I wrote this article, ACS has revamped their website and now instead of mentioning the number of points, they simple mention if the degree is of professional level or associate level. So what you need to do is that you contact ACS and ask the question

"If I complete the degree ABC, would I be able to get a positive skills assessment in profession XYZ which has the ASCO code 1234 on the SOL? You can also ask ACS if a degree being associate or professional has any effect on getting a positive skills assessment for a particular profession."

Actually I will myself ask this question from ACS and if they respond I will put their response here as many people have asked me the same question.

Similarly, you check the website for your assessing authority for the degree you are doing.

The assessing authorities are listed on the SOL and MODL.

Two Years study

Also you should remember, that to be fulfil the prerequisites of PR, you should have studied in Australia for two years. What does that mean? Check this post. Understanding the two year rule is very necessary.

The bottom line is that before you apply for PR, you should have studied in degrees, diplomas or trade certificates for a total official period of 92 weeks.

If your degree was of 52 weeks but you completed it in 92 weeks, it will still be considered as 52 weeks NOT 92 weeks. Check the post for more details.

You can complete these 92 weeks by studying one degree or by studying multiple degrees, diplomas or trade certificates.

Ok I have finished my degree now what?

Congrats! Apply for PR! What else? But it would be wise to consult a lawyer before you do that just to make sure if things are in the right order or not.

This was a brief primer to immigration to Australia for International students.

I will discuss immigration for other professionals who dont want to spend money in over post graduate education and want to apply for offshore immigration. Visit this post for updated information.

A few facts about Skilled independent Visa Sub class 885.

The 885 visa sub class allows overseas students who have completed their course studies in Australia and holders of certain temporary visas to apply for permanent residency.

This visa uses a points test to select visa applicants with characteristics needed in the Australian labour market.

You do not require sponsorship to apply for this visa.

Who is this visa for?

This visa is for you if you are in Australia and you are one of the following:

  • an overseas student or former overseas student
  • a holder of a Skilled – Graduate (subclass 485) visa or Skilled – Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) visa
  • a holder of a Trade Skills Training (subclass 471) visa.

You must:

  • be under 45 years of age
  • have good English language skills
  • have the skills and qualifications that meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and your nominated occupation is classified as either:
    • a 60 point occupation
    • a 50 point occupation

The SOL is a list of skilled occupations that are in need in Australia. Each occupation listed on the SOL is allocated a points value for use in the visa assessment process.
See: Form 1121i Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and Employer Nomination Scheme Occupation List (ENSOL) (129KB PDF file)

How much does this visa cost?

You must pay the relevant visa application charge when you lodge your visa application.
See: Professionals and other Skilled Migrants

What does this visa let me do?

This visa allows you and any secondary applicants included in your visa application to live as permanent residents in Australia.

Australian permanent residents can:

  • live and work in Australia on a permanent basis
  • study in Australia at school or university
  • receive subsidised healthcare through Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • access certain social security payments (subject to waiting periods)
  • be eligible for Australian citizenship (subject to the residency eligibility criteria)
  • sponsor people for permanent residence.



Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018

The Two year rule

PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF 23RD MARCH, 2013, International students can no longer directly apply for PR after studying for two years.

The two year rule is still valid in many situations. However, International students should not be tricked into believing that they can get PR just by studying for two years in a degree which is closely related to a profession on the SOL.

Please see the below links.


What is the two year rule?

Its very important to understand the two year rule.

The two year study requirement was introduced in July 2003 in recognition of the value of Australian study in equipping visa holders to find skilled employment and settle easily in Australia. The intention of the two year study has always been to ensure that applicants for GSM have a strong foundation of at least two academic years study in Australia. The value arises not only from having an Australian qualification but from having substantial exposure to Australian society and culture.

The Government has amended the Regulations to clarify the two year study requirement in response to some confusion surrounding its interpretation.

From 1 September 2007, to meet the two year study requirement, applicants will have to complete one or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications for award by an Australian educational institute as a result of a course or courses:

  1. Registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS);

  2. Completed as a result of at least two academic years’ study;

  3. Completed in a total of no less than 16 calendar months; and

  4. That the applicant studied in Australia, while holding a visa that allowed study and for which all instruction was conducted in English.

In addition:

  1. Students will not be penalised for changing education providers provided they obtain credit for their previous study and this study was in a CRICOS registered course undertaken in an Australian institute while physically present in Australia and in accordance with any visa conditions.

  2. In line with the National Code 2007, students will also be able to count study undertaken online towards meeting the two year study requirement (up to 25%), if they were in Australia for the duration of that period of study.

These changes benefit students because they allow more flexibility.

What is two academic years?

To demonstrate that you have studied for at least two academic years, you must show that you have completed the equivalent of two years study at 100% of a full-time load. If you are given credit from prior learning it will reduce the amount of study you have completed.

The department will use CRICOS to determine whether a course meets the two year requirement. From 22 October 2007 a course that has a registered duration of 92 weeks will be accepted as a course equating to two academic years of study.


  1. If a student completes a full qualification in a course that is registered as 92 weeks, they will have met the two year study requirement.

  2. Where a student completes two eligible qualifications, each related to their nominated occupation, that together total at least 92 weeks registration on CRICOS, they will have met the two year study requirement.

  3. Where a student enrols in a three year full time course, they can be granted recognition of prior learning or credit for up to one year of full-time study and still meet the two year study requirement (as defined above) when they complete the qualification.

  4. Where a course is CRICOS registered for 92 weeks a student enrolled in this course who is given any credit for prior learning will not have completed two academic years of study. In this situation, the applicant would need to have (or complete) an additional eligible qualification related to their nominated occupation in order to have completed, in total, the required two years of academic study.

  5. If a course is CRICOS registered for 92 weeks but a student elects to complete the course through accelerated learning, for example through a summer semester of study, the student is considered to have met the two year study requirement if they complete the course in no less than 16 calendar months.

  6. If a student enrols in a course that would only require 1.5 years to complete full-time but has taken two years to complete, this will not have met the requirement for two years of academic study.

Example 1:
If a course is CRICOS registered for 138 weeks (3 years) and consists of 24 units, 100% of full-time enrolment would equate to 8 units per year. In that course, a student will have completed two academic years when they have successfully completed 16 units. That means a student enrolled in that course can be given credit for prior learning for up to 8 units and still complete two academic years study.

Example 2:
If a course is CRICOS registered for 92 weeks (2 years) and consists of 12 units, 100% of full-time enrolment would equate to 6 units per year. Students would be required to complete all 12 units to meet the two year study requirement.

A student enrolled in this course who is given any credit for prior learning will not have completed two academic years study and may have to complete an additional degree, diploma or trade qualification to meet the two year study requirement.

My case:

I will explain my own example to make things easy for understanding.
You can see the certificate of completion from my university below.

Certificate of completion issued to me by UTS at the end of successfull completion of my degree.

As you can see the certificate shows two things
  1. The start date and the end date, which is from 28th of Feb, 2005 to 18th of July, 2007. A total of 29 months OR 116 weeks.
  2. The other important thing mentioned is the "Normal full time duration" of the course which is 4 semester (2 yrs or 52 weeks).
Although I completed the course in an extra 6 months, the actual duration of the course is 2 yrs, NOT 2.5 yrs.

So when the immigration department opens your case file, it will look at two things

1. The official course duration as listed on the CRICOS website. In my case, my course is 104 weeks.

You can check that by clicking on the link for CRICOS website.

2. The total duration of the course in a full time load as shown by the certificate of completion on the letter issued to you by your university.

I hope I have cleared the doubts of every one by providing my own example.

Kind Regards


Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018

What if I cannot apply for PR?

This post is for people who are interested in studying in Australia, are currently studying in Australia or about to finish their degrees from an Australian University.
Now that you have finished your degree, you would be interested in getting some valuable Australian work experience by working in your related field of profession.

Most students who have planned their stay and studies well would be able to apply for Permanent Residency which gives them lots of room for applying for jobs relevant to their fields.

But if you are one of those unlucky ones who didn't plan their stay and now find themselves in a situation where you cannot apply for Permanent residency, and you also want to get some work experience in your own field before you return back to your home country, then here are a few tips and tricks for you.

1. First of all, dont lose heart if you cannot fetch enough points of PR. There are lots of other visa schemes which can help you out like state sponsored nominated and employer sponsored etc. Talk to a lawyer and may be he can tell you of a way out.

2. If you have no other options, then you can always apply for a Graduate skilled visa.

Skilled – Graduate (Temporary) visa (subclass 485)
An 18 month temporary visa for overseas students who have obtained an Australian qualification in Australia as a result of at least two (2) years study. Allows applicants who are unable to pass the points test to remain in Australia for 18 months to gain the skills and experience needed to apply for a permanent or provisional General Skilled Migration visa. No points test applies.

The 485 temporary graduate skilled visa is only being offered to students who are eligible for transitional arrangements.

Transitional arrangements for students and former student visa holders were announced on 8 February 2010, the day on which the Australian Government announced a number of skilled migration reforms. These transitional arrangements are in place until 31 December 2012.
You are eligible for transitional arrangements in relation to points tested skilled migration if:
  • on 8 February 2010 you held a Skilled - Graduate (Subclass 485) visa
  • on or before 8 February 2010 you made a valid application for a Skilled - Graduate (Subclass 485) visa and the visa application has not been finally determined
So if you are not part of the transitional arrangements then you will not be able to apply for the graduate skilled visa.

Check my post at this link for a complete list of various offshore and onshore options.

Please note that you can only apply for the graduate skilled visa if and only if you have studied for two years in Australia. Please make sure you understand what the two years rule means. I have explained that in another post. Visit the link to get and understanding of it.

So this 18 months graduate skilled visa gives you the option of staying and working in Australia. Now its up to you to get a job and get work experience in your own field.

You might also be able to claim extra bonus points based on your work experience and actually be able to apply for permanent residency later on.

I hope this post explains what to do once you have finished your degree.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Credit Cards and Credit History

Here is a brief tutorial which will give you a complete overview of the process for applying for credit cards and getting approved for one.

1. What is a Credit Card?

A credit card is a system of payment named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. A credit card is different from a debit card in that it does not remove money from the user's account after every transaction. In the case of credit cards, the issuer lends money to the consumer (or the user). [1]

2. Why do I need a credit card?

A credit card is the single most authentic proof of your credit worthiness. It means that financial institutions are willing to lend loans/credit to you. Depending upon how much you earn, financial institutions would be happy to lend loans to you. So the better your credit rating, the more loans you can get. Every time you are approved for a credit product like a bank loan or a credit card, your credit rating improves which will help you in securing more credit products in the future.

Apart from improving your credit rating, having a credit card will help you in paying your tuition fees. You can try to save as much cash as you want and the rest you can pay with your credit card.

3. Ok be quick and tell me how to get a credit card?

Ok smart ass, here is how you get a credit card. Before you apply for a credit card, it would be better to have some pre-requisites fulfilled.

1. Get an Australian driving license. It doesn't matter even it is a restricted learner's licence. But getting a full license has its own benefits. Check my post about driving licenses. An Australian driving license is your main identity document and will be used every where for identification purposes. The sooner you get it, the better it is.

2. Once you have an Australian driving license, the next step is to have an entry made in your Australian Credit file to start a credit score. What is an Australian Credit File and what is a credit score? A credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person's credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person, which is the likelihood that the person will pay his or her debts in a timely manner. Your credit file is held by a private owned company in Australia. You can check this website for more details.

Any way, you want to start your credit file in Australia and want the first entry to be entered into it.

The best way would be to go and buy a mobile phone connection from a cellular service provider.

There are different cellular service providers in Australia. Three, Optus, Vodafone, Soul and a few others.

So when you sign up for a post-paid connection to any cellular service, an entry would be made into your credit file saying that you have been given credit worth $X by company X. That entry would be used by others to approve or disprove you for a credit product.

Please remember that you must buy a Post Paid connection because a pre-paid connection is not a credit product. Any product for which you pay afterwards has been lent to you by credit, until you pay back the credit amount in full.

3. So now you have made an entry in your credit file by buying a post paid cellular service connection. The next step is to get yourself a job. Every time you get paid, your employer issues you a pay slip. Keep those pay slips at a safe place. Most employers would pay you by transferring your pay into your nominated bank account. After you have been working at your job for lets say four months, it would be the right time to apply for a credit card.

4. Which credit card to apply for?

There are numerous credit card companies which offer credit cards. The best financial institution to apply for a credit card would be the bank where you have been receiving your pay for the past four months. The reason being that your bank knows that you have been receiving your pay in your bank account. Financial institutions are interested in knowing whether you are employed or not. Banks are willing to give credit cards to people with stable employment history. Even if you have $20,000 in your account, banks would be reluctant to give you a credit card. But if you have a $400 steady source of weekly income, every one would be happy to give you a credit card with a limit of $1000 or more.

So if you apply for a credit card in your own bank, which knows that you have been employed and you have been receiving your pays in their your bank account, they would be happy to give you a credit card without much hassle. You can tell them that you are an international student and you would like to have a credit limit of $500. Dont worry, I will let you know later on how to get credit cards of greater credit limits.

5. Hopefully, if you have been paying close attention to what I have been saying and followed what I have said, you would be approved for a credit card by your banking institution.

Use this credit card and NEVER EVER, forget to pay your monthly credit card fees/dues if any. Normally if you dont use the card, you wont have to pay anything. But it is good to use the card and quickly pay it back before the 55 days interest free period expires.

Now after six months of your first credit card being approved, it is time to apply for another credit card. This would be the same time when your tuition fees would be due. So try to time your credit card approvals with your tuition fees due dates.

So if you can keep on getting approved for a credit card every time you have to pay your tuition fees, you would significantly reduce the burden on yourself of making lump sum upfront cash payment.

Make sure, that if you get rejected for a credit card, DONT apply for another one immediately. Wait for three or four months. If you apply randomly, one after the other for credit cards, your credit rating would go down and no one would be willing to give you any credit products.

6. Ok, thats fine but I have to pay back all this money? Where do I get that from?

Yes, you have to pay back your credit card. But its up to you when you pay them. For every $5000 you have to pay a minimum of $100 per month. So its up to you if you want to keep on making the minimum payments or you want to pay off your credit card at once.

Credit card companies are normally not interested in your paying back what you have borrowed. They are interested in a situation where you keep on paying the interest on the unpaid amount. As long as you keep on paying the minimum monthly amount, the company would be happy and would give you credit limit increases as well which can come in handy when its time to pay your tuition fees.

7. What if I cannot get a credit card?

Dont worry if you cannot get one. These days most banks offer some thing called a debit card which is a credit card linked to your bank account. So when ever you use the card, funds are deducted from your bank account. This card acts like a credit card and in situations where merchants only accept credit cards, this card can come in handy. You can use this card as a credit card or a debit card.

[1]. Wikpedia.


Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018

Just arrived in Australia. What next?????

So you have just landed in Australia and you are completely clueless to about what to do in order to get all settled, up and running.

Ok here are some things you should try to get done as quickly as possible upon your arrival in Australia.

  1. Apply for a Tax File Number. To get a job in Australia, you must have a Tax File Number, TFN. You can apply for a Tax File number online by visiting the Australian Tax Office's website. You can apply for the TFN while you are overseas if you know the residential address of the place where you are going to live. You can also give your friend's residential address. Once you have your TFN, most employers will have no problem employing you. **Please note that by law, you have to wait till your university confirms your enrolment to the immigration department before you can apply for your new student visa which allows you to work 20 hours per week. The visa that is stamped on your passport in the Australian embassy of your country doesn't allow you to work 20 hours. You have to get it changed when you arrive in Australia. You can apply for it as soon as your university confirms your enrolment to the immigration department. But that doesn't stop you from applying for a TFN. You can still apply for TFN and later on once your university confirms you enrolment to the immigration department, you can then apply for the student visa which allows you to work 20 hours per week.**
  2. Ok, now that you have your TFN, it would be wise to have your visa changed and get the new visa stamped on your passport. As mentioned in point number 1, you can do that as soon as your university confirms your enrolment to the Immigration department, DIAC. Normally this happens between 2 to 4 weeks of the start of the semester.
  3. Good. now you are all set to start finding a job. Refer to my earlier post on how to find and search jobs and where to find them. Jobs in Australia
  4. One of the most important things you must do asap is to get an Australian class C driving license. Refer to my earlier post of how to get an Australian driving license to find out about driving licenses in Australia. If you want to get a FULL unrestricted Class C Australian driving license, you must bring from your home country, a driving license which is three years old at the time of your application. If you can get a full unrestricted class C driving license in Australia, you can find lots of jobs which require your to drive. So getting to learn driving vehicles is one skill you should have before you come to Australia.
  5. The next step should be to apply for a credit card. Getting credit cards is a tricky business and I have explained how to get one in another post. How to get a credit card in Australia. Make sure you read that post before you apply for one. Having a credit card helps you in having a credit history. If you have a good credit history, you can have access to lots of credit which means you can buy things which you normally cannot. So read my post before you apply for a credit card.
So the above mentioned 5 steps are the most basic steps which you must follow in order to quickly get settled down and get going with your life.

Keep visiting the blog for more info.

Kind Regards


Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018

Friday, October 26, 2007

Postgraduate Engineering Degrees...suitable for PR?

** Please note that the following post holds information which is only applicable for Post Graduate Engineering degrees OR for people who want to accredit their degrees from the Australian Engineering Council.

An Important fact

I have seen people asking the suitability of Masters in Engineering Science (MEngSci) or in general, postgraduate engineering degrees for applications to a residency. Here are some common questions...

Can I apply for PR after my engineering postgraduate degree from an Australian University?

Yes you can, but first you will have to get your bachelor's engineering degree approved for a positive skills assessment from Engineering Council of Australia. Once Engineering Council issues a positive skills assessment for your undergraduate engineering degree, you will be able to claim points for Australian education and nominating an occupation on the SOL. As of now most engineering professions like Electrical engineer, telecom engineer fetch 60 points.

** Please note that getting a positive skills assessment and getting your undergrad engineering degree is not the same thing. Engineering Council will give you a positive skills assessment BUT will not accredit your degree if you are from India/Pakistan. But you dont need to worry about that as long as you can get a positive skills assessment and apply for PR. :)

1. Can I use a postgraduate degree to apply for a residency?

Answer: No, normally for most skilled migration visas that are not employer-sponsored, you cannot use your Australian postgraduate engineering degrees (or any postgrad engineering degree for that matter) to apply for migration, unless ur BE fulfills the requirements for the visa (i.e. either an Australian BE or a BE from a country of the Washington Accord, or some other BE with 3-4 years of experience).

So what Do I do then?

You cannot get your degree accredited but you can still get a positive skills assessment from engineering council of Australia based on your undergraduate engineering degree. If you can get your undergraduate engineering degree approved for a positive skills assessment, then you can claim points for your Australian postgraduate degree while applying for PR.

** Please note we are only talking about post graduate engineering degrees. Not IT or management ones.

What you do is to get a positive skills assessment for your undergraduate engineering degree from Engineering Council of Australia and then apply for your PR.

2. Why is that so?

Answer: Because Engineers Australia (IEAust) does not accredit any postgraduate degrees regardless of which university they are from. They always carry out the skills assessment for migration purposes with the BE degree. (Or BTech as it is called in some countries)

3.Any way I can have my postgraduate degree accredited?

Answer: In short, NO. It is a blanket policy that does not change from case to case. And there is no indication this will change in the foreseeable future.

4.Any other points to be aware of?

Sometimes they do issue succesful skills assessments based on PG degrees, but that is only if the BE is seen as insufficient to underpin the occupation. The assessment always focuses on the undergraduate degree.

5.Any evidence to back these claims?

I have contacted Mr Paul Gillespie, associate director for migration skills assessment, IEAust, and the OSQA office of IEAust as well, and the points I posted above are based on their emails.

Source 1: Email correspondence with Mr Paul Gillespie:

Dear Sir

Assessment is primarily centered around the undergraduate (ug) degree.

If you have an Australian accredited engineering undergraduate degree you may apply using the Australian Qualifications Application Form. Otherwise a CDR will be required.

A PhD in engineering would add value to the assessment but the generic competencies originate from the ug degree

Paul Gillespie
Associate Director
Migration Skills Assessment
Engineers Australia

Source 2: Email correspondence with OSQA office:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Essentially, the primary focus of assessment is on the undergraduate qualification in all cases. However, that is not to say that the postgraduate qualification is not considered ... sometimes a successful assessment in the applicants's nominated occupation / category needs to be based on the COMBINED Bachelors/Masters, if the Bachelors is not assessed as fully underpinning the nomination.

It is of little consequence from which country the qualification has been obtained - all non-accredited qualifications are assessed on a case-by-case basis ... and no postgraduate qualification is accredited from our perspective anyway. Very little significance is paid to the PhD qualification in the assessment of qualifications in support of Migration.

Regards... Gareth JONES

Migration Skills Assessment Team
Education and Assessment
Engineers Australia


Ahmad Mujtaba StudIEAust.


Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018

Living expense working part time in Sydney?

Here is another question frequently asked by prospective international students wishing to come to Australia for future studies.
  1. Are part time jobs available in Australia/Sydney/Melbourne for international students?
  2. Are these part time jobs enough for making a decent living and covering all living expenses?
  3. Would I be able to pay off my tuition fees by working part time?
  4. Can I get a job to work in my own field/profession?
First of all visit this URL to get an idea of cost of living in Australia as an international student.

So let us deal with all these questions one by one.

1. Are part time jobs available in Australia/Sydney/Melbourne for international students?

Yes, there are plenty of part time jobs available for international students in Australia, especially the major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide etc. I haven't lived in a small town but I am sure there must be lots of part time jobs in small towns too.

The first place to find a job are two websites, and

However, the above two websites mostly advertise professional jobs and do not have blue collar jobs listed on them.

The big super market companies, fast food chains, gas stations like the following:

1. Coles
2. Woolsworth
3. KFC
4. MacDonald
5. Opporto
6. Pizza Hut
7. Domino's
8. Nandos
9. Hungry Jacks
10. BP
11. Shell
12. Caltex
13. Bunnings Ware House
14. Harvey Norman
15. Domain
16. Bing Lee
17. Myer
18. David Jones
19. JBHifi
20. Greater Union
21. FedEx Kinkos
22. Bob Jayne T-Marts
23. Borders Book stores
24. Dymock Book stores

etc are some of the few places where you can get a part time blue collar jobs. Apart from the above mentioned established businesses, there are a plethora of Indian/Turkish/Thai/Chinese/Japanese restaurants where you can get work.

Please note that according to law you are only allowed to work 20 hours per week.

You should be able to easily make around $1000 per month which would cover your expenses. Getting a job at first is not easy because most new arrivals from the Asian countries don't know how to make a resume, prepare for the interviews and give the right answers to all the tricky questions of the interviews. I will make another post on that issue later on. So that answers question number 1.

2. Are these part time jobs enough for making a decent living and covering all living expenses?

As already mentioned, yes, working part time will cover your monthly expenses very easily and you will be able to balance your studies.

3. Would I be able to pay off my tuition fees by working part time?

The simple, honest and straight forward answer is a BIG NO!. You cannot make your tuition fees from simply working 20 hours per week. However, you might be able to do that during the vacations in which you are allowed full time work.

There are two academic semesters every year in Australia. From Feb to June and from August to Nov.

You get one month worth of vacations between June and August and almost 3 months worth of vacations between Nov and Feb.

You can work full time during these vacations. By working full time you can earn around $4000 in one month but the tuition fees per semester for four subjects these days is around $10,000.

So you will not be able to make the tuition fees for your semester which starts in August as there is only one month to available for full time work.

However, you have a good chance of making your tuition fees by working full time three months for the semester which starts in Feb.

All this depends whether your employer is willing to give you full time work or not. Towards the end of your semester, you should start looking for full time work.

So this brings us to the end of question number three.

4. Can I get a job to work in my own field/profession?

If you have valid experience and skills to match the requirements of the Australian work force, then, you surely can get a part time job in your own field.

For example, those who are from IT backgrounds can easily bag a part time job (provided there is one), if they have a certification plus some relevant experience. Plus not to forget how you make your resume and how you present yourself in the interview.

But if you are coming straight out from the university with no relevant work experience or certifications, you will have a hard time convincing employers to employ you. You can also show your projects and assignments as work experience. Any thing practical can be shown as work experience. Good marks and grades only help you when you can actually translate your academic experience into valuable and profitable expertise for your employer.

But finding an employer who wants to employ you for 20 hours per week is a little bit difficult since most professional jobs require full time work which is not allowed to international students. But keep searching and you might get one.

Hope all questions have been answered.

Kind Regards


Migration Agent Registration Number: NO LONGER REGISTERED AGENT

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Plssss Haaalp; Which Uni to chose

I often get frantic and desperate SOS messages from different people around the world asking me the same question.

Which university in Australia should I chose for my studies?

I have answered this question numerous times and this time I am going to put here on the blog so that the rest of the world can also see it and hopefully avoid asking it.

Here is a question which one Mr. Zeeshan in his email sent me from India.

I have an admit at the foll. univ
1. University of Sydney for Master of Engg in Wireless Engineering
2. University of New South Wales for Master of Engg in Telecommunication Engg
3. University of Tech Sydney for Master of Engg in Telecommunication Engg

Now this is the typical sub-continental style of choosing a university for post graduate studies. Just get an admission into any university as long as it has a good reputation. All the three universities named above have a very good reputation and all of them have a name in the industry. But should one chose a course in the university simply because of the reputation of the university? What if the course one enrols in, is not that good? What if the same course is being delivered much better in a different university with a lower ranking?

Here is my advice.

DO NOT CHOSE UNIVERSITIES BECAUSE OF THEIR REPUTATION AND NAME. Chose a course which you like and then enrol yourself in the university which is providing the course of your choice.

The next question would be; how do I choose a course?

Well, you have to do little bit of home work for that question to be answered.

The first thing is to visit the website of universities and check the course descriptions given on the website. All the subjects available in a particular course/program are listed on the websites of well reputed universities. The contents which will be taught in each subject are also listed on the website of the course. The number of assignments, quizzes, exams and lab work is also mentioned on the website. The availability of the subjects throughout the year is also mentioned on the program website.

So the first thing is to select a course/program. Then compare the course contents of the program with the course contents of a similar course being offered in another university.

At the end of the day you should be having a list of 5 courses in different universities. Compare the course contents, subject descriptions, topics covered etc. of all the courses you are interested in and then finally chose the course you would like to enrol in.

Once you have done, you can send your application to the university.

The bottom line is that dont chose a university based on the name. Chose a university based on the course contents it is offering in a particular area.

If there is any information lacking on the website of the course/program, send an email to the program leader or course coordinator who is always willing to help international students as they bring in lots of valuable cash.

Hope this answers the question.


Migration Agent Registration Number: 0964018