How PhD Holders Can Gain Extra Points under Popular Australia Immigration Pathways

Eligibility for the most popular Australia immigration pathways is determined by a point allocation system, wherein each candidate is assigned a point score based on several selection factors. Through regular invitation rounds or ‘draws’, the highest-scoring registrants – who can fulfill the minimum point requirement, which changes with each draw – are invited to apply for the relevant visa. Thus, aspirants for these ‘points-tested’ visa categories must explore every option to enhance their score.

The Australia PR points calculator evaluates the eligibility of candidates under three skilled visa categories – the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189), the Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190), and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491). While the Subclass 491 Visa is a provisional visa, the other two offer direct routes to permanent residence.

To submit an Expression of Interest for any of these visas, candidates must score at least 65 Australia PR points, or provisional visa points – depending on the pathway. The point allocation criteria is fairly similar under each of these skilled visa classifications. Points are allocated based on age, work experience, academic qualifications, English language proficiency, adaptability, partner skills or single status, etc.

The candidate’s level of education is a major determinant of the total point score. As many as 20 points can be claimed for educational qualifications. Points can only be availed for the highest qualification achieved by the applicant. The highest possible points under this parameter can only be gained by those who have a Doctorate degree – either from an educational institution in Australia, or from an educational institution outside Australia that complies with the recognized standard.

Additionally, if the candidate has a Masters degree (by research) or a Doctorate degree from an academic institution in Australia, obtained after completing at least two years of academic study in a relevant field (STEM or certain ICT fields), they can claim 10 additional points – under the ‘Specialist Education Qualification’ criteria. 5 additional points can also be claimed by PhD graduates who meet the Australian Study Requirement.

If the Australian Study Requirement was completed from an institution located in a designated regional area of Australia, 5 more points can be added to the score. This will further increase the chances of being invited to apply for a points-tested Australia PR Visa or provisional visa. Some PhD graduates may also be eligible for state/territory nomination under specific categories designed for international students.

If the Doctorate was obtained from an institution outside Australia, the candidate must obtain a positive skills assessment through the relevant assessing authority, to showcase that the qualification is comparable to Australian standards. Points will only be awarded if the candidate has obtained a qualification at the relevant level – i.e. ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ (PhD). Thus, obtaining a PhD can prove highly beneficial towards the goal of Australia immigration – especially under points-tested skilled visa categories.

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