One of the most popular pathways for our clients to achieve permanent residency in Australia is to study Social Work. But why is it such a good pathway? What are the requirements to be accepted to study social work in Australia? and more importantly, how does the pathway work? In this blog, we will explain these points and will give you insights into this profession that is currently on the priority list for migration in 2022.
Why is Social Work a good pathway to permanent residency?
First of all, social work is one of those occupations that has considerable options in terms of career specialisms, such as supporting people via casework, advocacy, counselling and community engagement in areas like Aged care, child protection, addictions, disability services or probation to name just a few – The average salary starts at around $60,000 per annum and increases with experience and tenure, which is a good salary compared to other occupations.
More importantly, for this year (2021-2022) Social workers have been allocated approximately 1,800 places and it’s one of the occupations on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List. which means it has access to more visas. Most of the states have this occupation available on their lists to sponsor candidates and also due to COVID the immigration department added social work to the Priority List, which means this occupation has faster processing and exceptions during the pandemic.
How does the pathway work for Social Workers to get permanent residency?
There are 4 main steps you need to successfully pass to be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Australia as a social worker.
Step1: Choose the right course:Choosing the right course at the right level is key. To be recognised as a Social worker in Australia you have to study a Bachelor of Social Work (ensuring it’s registered on CRICOS for at least 92 weeks. During your studies you complete practical placements so upon graduation you can be approved for your skills assessment (that’s needed to proceed with an EOI).This in itself can be more appealing than other occupations that require one year of post-qualification paid work experience to receive their skills assessment. If you already hold a Bachelor Degree in another subject and you are looking for a career change in a rewarding occupation, you can complete a Masters degree that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to achieve this skilled occupation and in turn gain positive skills assessment to proceed with your journey to PR.
Step 2: Apply for your 485 Post-study work Visa:The next step after graduation is to apply for the 485 Visa. This visa allows you to work full-time during your visa term (usually 2 years but can be 3 if you meet the regional criteria). To apply for this visa you would need to provide your qualification and transcript, a recognised English test* and health insurance, and medical and police check clearances.Depending on each state requirements sometimes you might have to prove a few months of work experience or a contract to work in your occupation.
Step 3: Apply for your skills assessment:This step can be done before you lodge the 485 as is not a requirement for the post-study visa stream, but it’s up to you when you wish to submit for your skills assessment.As long as you can provide the relevant evidence and English score* and application fee you should expect to receive your full skills assessment within a month!*Note this skills assessment only accepts Academic IELTS and you may wish to consider undertaking the IELTS test for the 485 so it can be recycled for the skills assessment if you meet the relevant score*
Step 4: Calculate your points and be ready to submit your EOI once issued your skills assessment!Remember if you have lived and worked in a regional location you could be eligible for State nomination via the 190 or 491 visa. It is important that before lodging your 485 visa you check with a registered migration agent the best pathway available for you.Sometimes it involves moving to another city or state with more possibilities. The key factor here is to score at least 65 points in the points test to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency as a social worker.
Step 5: Apply and wait 🙂The last step after you have been invited to apply is to lodge your visa and wait until it is granted.Depending on the state and visa you have applied for the visa could take 6 to 18 months to be granted. However, if you applied on-shore, you are eligible for a bridging visa so you can keep working full-time and even register for medicare!
What are the requirements to study social work as an international student?
It is important to mention that social work is a very demanding occupation and it needs to be taken very seriously by the applicant – in other words, not study this only because of the PR outcome. During your course, you will need to help people from different backgrounds and in very vulnerable situations. For this reason, the process to be accepted to study social work in Australia is quite rigorous.
First, you must demonstrate an IELTS 7 or equivalent to start the course. Also, you need to demonstrate an interest in humanities and social issues. In this case, the universities request essays explaining the reasons you would like to study that program and examples of how you can demonstrate the required compromise and vocation to work as a social worker.
If you are planning to study a master of social work in Australia, you also need to have a background in humanities and/or psychology. For example, students with a bachelors in business or accounting are less likely to be accepted into this program.
Interested to learn more?
EMSA has a skilled and dedicated team on hand to help you choose the best course, with the best School in the best location to maximise your experience as an International student as well as support you through your journey to graduation, 485 visa, skilled EOI application and beyond!