Which Courses are Eligible for Permanent Residency in Australia?

The Federal Government’s Department of Jobs and Small Business publishes an annual list of skills and corresponding occupations that are currently in demand. On the 1st of July every year, the list is released and is categorised by Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

If you are an international student who has your heart set on settling in Australia, then you will need to choose a course that has good Permanent Resident suitability. Your course should match the occupations on the skills shortages lists for your best chances.


Always an important feature on the skills lists, nursing is a noble profession that requires a constant flow of dedicated, caring personnel. Australia’s ageing population is just one major reason why our hospitals are so busy and why nurses are in such high demand. Sub-professions of nursing include Nurse Practitioner, Surgical Nurse, Midwife and Aged Care Nurse. Studying to become a Registered Nurse will open an endless array of opportunities for you.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Nursing.

Other Healthcare vocations

Australia is currently in the grips of a healthcare worker shortage. Approximately one in every eight Australian workers is employed in the sector, which makes it an enormous pool of jobs. The skills shortage means that healthcare workers are in demand not just in the major cities but also in regional areas.

Here are some suggestions of initial courses that could stand you in good stead for permanent residency:

  • Bachelor of Audiology
  • Bachelor of Dental Science
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
  • Bachelor of Medical Sonography
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy
  • Bachelor of Radiography & Medical Imaging
  • Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry

Teaching and Education

Australia is renowned as a country where the standards of education are high by world standards. If the idea of becoming a teacher appeals to you, then you will join a profession that is in demand in Australia. You could become a Primary or Secondary School Teacher, a Special Education or Special Needs Teacher, an English Teacher to migrants for whom English is not their first language, a Vocational Education Teacher or a University Lecturer.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Education.

Computer Science and IT

Technology continues to advance at an incredibly fast pace and in order to keep up, university courses are constantly reviewed. For those for whom computers and information technology are passions, this is an industry that is crying out for people.

Australia’s demand for IT graduates only keeps increasing so consider choosing a course that will lead to a career in this dynamic field. You could aim towards becoming a Web Developer, Software Engineer, Coder, Games Designer, Systems Analyst, Programmer, Chief Information Officer or myriad other occupations.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Advanced Computing and Bachelor of Science.


Engineering is a discipline that is required by countless industries and as such, graduates with Engineering degrees are always highly sought-after. Can you see yourself as a Chemical Engineer, Automotive Engineer or Agricultural Engineer? How about something loftier like an Aerospace Engineer?

The field is enormous and if you are technically-minded and have a love of mathematics and problem-solving, then there is sure to be an engineering career strand that piques your interest.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Engineering.

Social Work

Do you want to make a difference in the world? Do you love people and genuinely want to help? Social work could be the field for you, and it is another high-demand field, which works for those seeking permanent residency. Look towards becoming a Clinical Social Worker, a Welfare Worker, a Psychiatric Social Worker, a Children/Family Social Worker or a Geriatric Social Worker.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Social Work.


The demand for architects is strong thanks to robust building activity and growth in infrastructure in various areas of Australia.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Architecture. Many employers desire graduates who hold a Master of Architecture degree.


Every business needs accounting support which is why accountants are in such high demand. But even beyond private enterprise, accountants are needed in government positions too. It’s a profession that can really take you places, from small regional towns to the biggest cities in the country.

You can specialise in your chosen field such as General Accounting, Taxation Accounting, Forensic Accounting, Corporate Treasury, Insolvency, Internal Audit and Risk Assessment.

Initial Course: Bachelor of Accounting.

Non-degree courses

Outside of university degree courses, there is a range of in-demand skills that require certificates and diplomas. Carpenters and joiners, motor mechanics, electricians, plumbers, cabinetmakers, wall and floor tilers, plasterers and metal fitters are all in-demand occupations in Australia at the moment.

Most trades require apprentices to attend TAFE (Technical and Further Education) colleges to gain qualifications.

Skills shortages by state and territory

You may already know which state or territory you would like to live in when you come to Australia. You’ll find this national, state and territory skill shortage information helpful. You can choose the region you’re interested in and click on the links for information to it.

A career in a skills shortage sector is an excellent pathway towards PR status. Before you enrol in a course for permanent residency in Australia, it’s important to do your research on which sectors are currently experiencing high demand. Remember, your course will take three to six years to complete so forward thinking is necessary.

Work to improve your English language skills

No matter which field you’re looking to get into, you are going to need good English language proficiency if you want to work towards permanent residency. Begin your studies in English as soon as possible because not only will it help in your case for your Permanent Residency but it will also make it easier for you to study for your degree, certificate or diploma. There are online tutors that you can work with even from your home country, or you can find an English language tutor here who specialises in assisting migrants.

Permanent residency in Australia is a dream for many people who come from other countries to study here. Be sure that when you apply for your course, you speak with your immigration agent or a careers counsellor at your university to find out the PR prospects.

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