Options for international students after graduation

What to do after you graduate

With the year quickly coming to an end, students who are about to graduate have some important decisions to make.  Do you know what you’re planning to do next year? Read on for some ideas.

Complete further studies:

Many international students choose to stay on in Australia to complete further studies or gain a higher level of qualification, such as a graduate diploma or masters degree. Continuing your studies will enable you to maximise your time in Australia, get the most out of an education system that you are now familiar with and gain the advanced qualifications and skills needed to get a job. You may choose to continue studying at your current institution or move to a different institution (or even a different city) to try a new experience. If you wish to continue your studies in Australia, you need to make sure that you have enough money to continue paying for your studies and living expenses, that you extend your student visa and health cover, and that you apply for your chosen course by the deadline.

Return to your home country:

If you do not wish to travel, live or work in Australia after you graduate, you will most likely be returning to your home country. After years of living in Australia, it can be difficult to pack everything up and move. You will need to cancel services such as electricity, bank accounts, superannuation and mobile phone; pay final bills; sell any large items that you can’t take home with you; and (if you are renting) finish your lease and hand back the keys.

Extend your stay in Australia:

If you don’t intend on completing further studies, you may wish to extend your time in Australia to work or travel. While you will no longer receive a student visa, there are a range of other temporary visa options that you can apply for through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC):

  • Working holiday: People aged between 18 and 30 from approved countries are able to apply for a ‘working holiday visa’ or a ‘work and holiday’ visa, which will allow them to travel and work for up to 12 months.
  • Gain professional work experience: Engineering, accounting and computer science graduates are able to complete a Professional Year Program, which is a structured 12-month program designed to help them develop industry-specific skills through study and work experience. This program is ideal for students who want to qualify for permanent residency in Australia because those who complete it earn an extra five points to qualify for a skilled migrant visa.
  • Travel: Many students decide to take a break when they finish their studies before they return home or start looking for a full-time job. Australia is a large, beautiful and diverse country; if you want to spend some time exploring the country and taking a well-earned break, a tourist visa or other type of temporary visa would be a good option.
  • Apply for a working visa: If you wish to stay working with your current employer and they are willing to sponsor you either temporarily or permanently through the Employer Nomination Scheme, you are able to live and work in Australia for as long as you work for that employer.
  • Apply for a temporary visa: The Skilled — Graduate (Temporary) Visa allows international students to remain in Australia for 18 months after they complete their studies to travel, gain work experience or improve their English language skills. This is a good option for students who wish to extend their stay for quite some time and work towards achieving permanent residency.

Apply for permanent residency:

  • The Skilled — Independent (Residence) Visa allows student visa holders who have completed at least two years of studyin Australia to qualify for permanent residency. Qualification depends on the results of a points test.
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