Australia wants graduates in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) areas to help contribute to Australia’s prosperity.

To achieve this, in May 2016 it was reported that foreign students at a Doctorate or Masters-by-research level would soon receive an extra five points towards a skilled migration (subclass 189 or 190) visa if they have studied in the STEM or ICT fields.

As of the 10 September 2016, the points test was officially amended and further details have now been provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection with the Department listing the fields of education that will be accepted as STEM or ICT for the purpose of extra points.

The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) defines the following Fields of Education that have been proposed to be accepted under this new points system as including:

o   Biological Sciences

o   Chemical Sciences

o   Earth Sciences

o   Mathematical Sciences

o   Natural and Physical Sciences

o   Other Natural and Physical Sciences

o   Physics and Astronomy

o   Computer Science

o   Information Systems

o   Information Technology

o   Other Information Technology

o   Aerospace Engineering and Technology

o   Civil Engineering

o   Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology

o   Engineering and Related Technologies

o   Geomatic Engineering

o   Manufacturing Engineering and Technology

o   Maritime Engineering and Technology

o   Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Technology

o   Other Engineering and Related Technologies

o   Process and Resources Engineering.


Graduates can determine if they are eligible for five additional points towards their points test by:

1.     Searching the CRICOS website for their qualification- http://cricos.education.gov.au/;

2.     Checking their qualification is listed as being at a Doctorate or Masters-by-research level;

3.     Seeing if their qualification is listed as being in one of the above Fields of Education.


See http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work for more information, or contact Putt Legal on (08) 9221 7682 for all your visa options.


New changes to the visa system will make it easier for bright minds to make their mark in Australia. The two changes to the Australian migration programme offer entrepreneurs and postgraduate research students new visa options.

These changes are part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda launched in late 2015 by the Australian government, recognising the importance of fostering talent and skill in this area.

Firstly, from November 2016 entrepreneurs with innovative ideas will be able to apply for a provisional Entrepreneur visa, giving entrepreneurs a chance to launch their new idea to the Australian market.

The government has sought consultation as to the precise eligibility criteria that is to be required, but have pitched this visa at innovators with a fresh idea and financial backing from an approved investor. This will allow an individual to develop their idea in Australia with the support of their capital investor and the government.

It is expected that once the idea becomes an established business the entrepreneur will also be eligible for permanent residency, benefiting both the Australian economy and the individual.

This visa will be a new stream within the Provisional (subclass 188) and Permanent (subclass 888) Business Innovation and Investment visa that currently exists. It is expected there will be no cap on the number of this visa that can be granted.

Secondly, from December 2016, high achieving foreign students from postgraduate research degrees will be able to stay in Australia after gaining a Doctorate-level or Masters-by-research level qualification from an Australian institution.

After graduating, many post-graduates do not meet the points required for a General Skilled Migration visa due to a lack of practical work experience.

Those who gain a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or ICT (Information and Communications Technology) graduate qualification, will receive extra points to help meet the requirements of these skilled visas.

It is hoped these academic achievers will fill a skills gap that currently exists in the STEM and ICT sectors.