What is a Professional Year Program?
A Professional Year Program is a structured professional development program combining formal learning and workplace experience for international students who have graduated from a university in Australia. Professional Year Programs run for 12 months and are currently available in the fields of accounting, computer science, and engineering — Australian industries where the demand for skilled graduates is high.
Professional Year Programs are primarily designed for students wishing to apply for permanent residency in Australia. They allow students to develop industry-specific skills through study and work experience, preparing them for professional careers in the Australian workforce. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) only recognises Professional Year Programs that have been approved by the government (see below).
Why should a student complete a Professional Year Program?
Completing a Professional Year has a number of benefits:
- A student earns valuable work experience in an Australian company through an internship.
- A student is able to improve their understanding of the culture and practices within the Australian workplace.
- A student learns how to communicate in a professional manner within the Australian workplace.
- A student is eligible to receive five extra points on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) ‘points test’ when applying for a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa.
Who is eligible for a Professional Year Program?
A student will need to have completed a degree in accounting, computer science or engineering (or a closely related area) in Australia. The student must hold a Skilled — Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 485), which allows them to remain in Australia for 18 months after the completion of their degree. To be eligible for this visa one must be under 50 years of age, have completed an eligible qualification within the last six months as a result of at least two years of study in Australia and possess the skills and qualifications required for an occupation listed on the Skilled Occupation List.
Engineering graduates who completed their degree at a recognised institution outside Australia are also eligible to complete a Professional Year Program in engineering. They must apply for a Skilled — Recognised Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 476).
Professional Year Program providers and further information
The following Professional Year Programs are recognised by the Australian Government:
- CPA Australia Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting (SMIPA)
- Chartered Accountants Australi and New Zealand Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting
- Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting
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