Sunday, April 28, 2019

Standard Pathway to Permanent Residency in Australia for IT Professionals


  1. Notice. In Australia, only those who are registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) can legally provide visa advise and services. Applicants for an Australian visa, however, are NOT required to engage the services of a migration agent. Anyone can apply for an Australian visa DIY style. If you need to engage the services of  a migration agent, however, I am able to recommend one. Please reach out to find out more.
  2. Disclosure. The author is a lawyer in the Philippines but is not a MARA-registered agent. 
  3. Disclaimer. This article is an opinion piece and must not be taken as advise of any kind in any way. Information from this article may be used solely at the risk of the party using it. The author shall be free from any liability arising or that may arise from the use or misuse of material(s) from this article.


So, okay, you are interested to permanently reside in Australia. The rules and regulations around visas in Australia change regularly, but at present, you need to go through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process first before you can apply for the visa itself. This means that you submit an EOI, your application is evaluated and if you are deemed to be qualified, you will be invited to submit an application for the visa. The Australian government, through its Department of Home Affairs, has published a guide on how to go through this process. Click on the link below to read the guide:

The skilled independent visa subclass 189 is a points-tested visa. This visa is what I have in mind as the standard pathway to permanent residency in Australia for IT professionals because specialised IT occupations are in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). To be eligible for the Subclass 189, the first requirement is that your nominated occupation is listed in the SOL. IT occupations in the SOL are as follows:

Analyst Programmer (ANZSCO Code 261311)
Computer Network and Systems Engineer (ANZSCO Code 263111)
Developer Programmer (ANZSCO Code 263111)
ICT Business Analyst (ANZSCO Code 261111)
ICT Security Specialist (ANZSCO Code 262112)
Multimedia Specialist (ANZSCO Code  261211)
Software Engineer (ANZSCO Code  261313)
Systems Analyst (ANZSCO Code  261112)
Software and Applications Programmer - Not Elsewhere Classified (ANZSCO Code 261399)

The ANZSCO Code is the code number assigned to the occupation under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. Don't be bothered by this for now, but you will be needing the ANZSCO Code of your nominated occupation. The links provided above contain detailed information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics describing what the occupation is. Have a read.


Before you submit the EOI, you will need to prepare supporting documents. But before you even prepare your supporting documents, it makes sense to do a self-assessment first if you qualify in the points test.


The points table used in the points test is available from the Department of Home Affairs. The link is provided below:

Alternatively, you can use the Points Calculator, also from the Department of Home Affairs. The link is provided below:

If you are using the Points Calculator, select visa Subclass 189 to start. Please note that you need at least 65 points to even consider applying for the EOI. If you scored below 65, it is best to consult a MARA-registered agent, the DIY approach will not be suitable.

For most applicants, the following items in the points table will be relevant:

English Language
Work Experience


If you scored around 65, you may want a little boost. A points boost can be obtained for the following:

Australian study requirement - you should have studied or you should study in Australia for at least 2 years. Click here for more information on what the criteria are for this requirement.

Accredited in a community language - if you are studying in Australia and wants to boost your points, take the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation to be eligible for this points boost. Filipino (Tagalog) is a community language that attracts this points boost. Click here for more information on how to be an accredited translator or interpreter.

Study in regional Australia - while you are at it, studying in regional Australia will add 5 more points to your application. Thus, if you need to study in Australia (and get the NAATI accreditation at the same time), study in regional Australia. Avoid Sydney, Melbourne, and other high-population growth metropolitan areas. Click on this link to find out which areas are considered as regional.

Specialist education qualification - a further points boost is, if you are taking a 2-year course, to take a 2-year Masters by Research (or a PhD by Research).

(I have written another blog about Studying in Australia to Boost Chances of Permanent Residency. Have a look for details).

Partner skills - perhaps the only points boost that will not require you to study in Australia for at least 2 years, you can get an additional 5 points if your partner or spouse goes through the skills assessment and gets a positive result, i.e. English proficiency is good, nominated occupation is in the SOL, and the relevant assessing authority makes a positive assessment.


Assuming now that you have the minimum 65 points required, the next thing to do is get your skills assessed. For IT professionals, the relevant assessing authority is the Australian Computer Society (ACS). The ACS website is, have a look. Currently, the fee is $500 but it can change (as it usually does). Click here for the fees information.


The ACS provides a guide on how to go through the application process. Please refer to or download the relevant document from below list:

ACS Skills Assessment Guidelines for Applicants
ACS Quick Reference of Assessment Requirements
ACS Guide to Choosing the Right ANZSCO
ACS Application Checklist

Once you have all the required documents, have them certified as a copy of the original and scan them using a colored scanner with a maximum resolution of 200 dpi. All files must be in PDF format, but nothing bigger than 3MB. It is recommended that you use an intuitive file naming convention, such using your family name and an indicator of what the file is. For example, it is easy to know that 'Diaz-TOR.pdf' is a copy of the transcript of records of someone surnamed 'Diaz'.

It is a bit ironic that ACS file upload requirements seem to be outdated. AITSL, for example, does not require copy certification anymore as long as documents are scanned in color. In addition, AITSL accepts different file formats, while ACS accepts only PDF and in multiple files. ACS requires all pages are consolidated into one PDF document for each qualification and each employment entry.

When all these are prepared, you are ready to submit the application for skills assessment.

To be continued