WA announces Graduate Skilled Occupation List for skilled visas

The race for international students is heating up. The Government of Western Australian has announced they will be implementing a Graduate Skilled Migration List that will give certain international students a pathway to skilled migration.

According to the premier’s media release this will be available to “PhD, Masters, Honours and other higher degree graduates”.

This seems to be an about face from the day the government came to power and slashed the list of approved occupations they would nominate for Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated and Subclass 489 – Skilled Regional (Provisional) visas. Since then, Perth was also removed as a regional area for the purposes of Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas.

WA has been highly restrictive in promoting independent skilled migration. Currently, there are only 18 occupations available on the Western Australia Skilled Occupation List (WAMSOL), all dedicated to nursing and medical practitioner occupations.

Of course, the WA Government cannot simply nominate any occupation. All occupations must be on the Department of Home Affairs’ General Skilled Migration (GSM) occupation list, meaning there may be some graduates who cannot be nominated despite studying a higher degree. Other states, such as Victoria, has had a streamlined nomination process for local PhD graduates for some time. Because of this it is arguable WA will not be attracting a large portion of PhD graduates, but may fair better with Masters degree students.

Perhaps the elephant in the room is the simple admission they are incentivising international student to study in WA with the prospect of permanent migration, stating “the changes will attract an increased number of high-quality international students to the State and help grow our share of the international education market.”

Further details are said to be rolling out in the coming months, with a $2 million International Education Strategy expected to be announced later this year.