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How to immigrate to Australia as a software developer

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If you’re looking to work in a field that has massive growth potential and offers great job security, then you should consider working as a software developer in Australia. The country has a growing demand for skilled software developers and the job opportunities for software developers in Australia are growing at a rapid pace.  Various standard benefits come along with working as a software developer in Australia. These include free accommodation, free medical care, no tax payable as long as you are working in Australia, as well as a stable and high salary. To become a Software Developer in Australia, you will first need to meet the eligibility criteria. Keep reading to know more about the eligibility criteria, application process, job prospects, and other aspects of becoming a software developer in Australia.

Qualified Software Engineers can Immigrate to Australia. This is because Australia has deemed Software Engineering to be an occupation that the nation needs.  The list of the most in need Occupations is called the Medium & Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).  People who are approved to migrate to Australia as Software Engineers can be offered Permanent Residency in Australia.

Software engineering belongs to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field and it is currently on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). This means the Australian government considers software engineering as a critical occupation to help Australia recover its economy from COVID-19.  Therefore, the processing of the nomination and visa application for software engineers will be given the highest priority.  In other words, if you are a software engineer and looking for opportunities to migrate to Australia, right now is the perfect timing. Software engineering is a relatively large occupation.  Software engineers work across the whole of Australia.  They are mostly full-time workers and the average working hours per week is 44.

What does a software developer do?

A software developer creates computer software, apps, and websites. In other words, a software developer designs and creates applications for websites and mobile devices. A software developer is an important member of a company’s information technology (IT) department. He or she designs the systems, applications, and technologies that help businesses run more efficiently. Some IT jobs require a college degree, but there are other opportunities in the computer software industry where on-the-job training is sufficient.

Requirements for becoming a software developer in Australia

Getting an Australian permanent residency visa for a software/IT professional is usually a simple process if you can meet a few basic requirements.  There are certain requirements that you will need to fulfill to be eligible for work as a Software Developer in Australia.

You will need to get a satisfactory skills assessment from the Australian Computer Society (ACS).  After assessing they will give you a letter that you have satisfied their requirements. You are required to pay $550 for the skills assessment to ACS.  This assessment takes about two weeks.  You do not need to have your English score to apply for the ACS assessment.  You can apply for ACS first and write the exam later. Alternatively, you can complete the exam first.

  • You must be above the age of 18 years. The new age limit to qualify for a permanent residency permit is 45 years.
  • Must be available for Work in Australia for at least 12 months.
  • Subclass 186 Employer-SponsoredVisa

What is an employer nomination scheme visa (Subclass 186)?

Software developers are eligible to apply for this permanent resident work visa. To qualify for this visa you must complete a skills test and receive a job offer from an approved Australian employer. This visa comprises three streams that have their requirements for eligibility.

Requirements for Subclass 186 visa

Three general requirements exist for the subclass 186 visa. These are:

  • Have been nominated by an approved Australian employer.
  • Are younger than 45 years of age, unless you are exempt.
  • Meet the skills, qualifications, and English language requirements, unless you are exempt.

The Subclass 186 visa allows you to work in Australia under one of three streams.

  1. The temporary residence transition stream.

This stream is for workers who are currently in Australia on a Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa. You are required to have two years of experience working as a software developer for your nominating employer who now intends to give you a permanent position. The employer is required to lodge a valid nomination with the Australian Department of Home Affairs(DHA).

  1. The direct entry stream

This stream is for software developers who have never worked in Australia. If you are a temporary resident who holds a Subclass 457 visa you can apply under this stream. Also, software developers who do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition can apply under this stream. You are required to apply directly from your home country.

  1. The agreement stream

Those software developers who hold a Temporary Work( Skilled) Subclass 457 visa and are sponsored by an employer through a labor agreement are suitable for this category. Age requirements must be met, together with skills and English language requirements.

How to move to Australia as a software developer

There are several steps in the process of moving to Australia as a Software Developer.

1 – Assessing if you are eligible

2 – Obtaining your skills assessment

3 – Submitting your Expression Of Interest

4 – Receiving your Invitation to Apply

5 – Medicals and Police Checks

6 – Granting of your Visa or Permanent Residency to Australia

Australia has 2 lists that cover all the “Occupations in Demand”.  Only occupations on these lists can apply to move to Australia under this skilled migration program.

The lists are called the Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List or the MLTSSL and the Short Term Strategic Occupation List or the (STSOL).  Every occupation that is on either list is given a number.  This is called the Occupations ANZSCO number.

The ANZSCO code for Software Developers is  261313. It is of paramount importance to know your code. Above all ensure that the code you have is correct.

The fact that Software Development is on the MLTSSL list makes it the most in-demand skill.

Before starting your application take a look to check that the details the Australian Government list under the ANZSCO details for a Software Developer match you and your experience in your career.

Australian Immigration describes a Software Developer 261313 as a skill that:

“Designs, develops, modifies, documents, tests, implements, installs, and supports software applications and systems.”

The Australian Immigration Department also defines the qualifications a Software Developer requires to immigrate to Australia against the Australian Qualification Framework (“AQF”).  This is determined in Levels of Skill which is pegged at level 1 for Software Engineers

Skill level 1

Under Skill Level 1, the applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification. However, to substitute a formal qualification the incumbent must have a minimum of five years of relevant experience in the profession. To boost your formal qualification, on-the-job training is required.

Tasks and responsibilities of a software developer in Australia

  1. Administering and interpreting diagnostic tests and formulating treatment plans.
  2. Developing, administering, and evaluating individual and group treatment programs.
  3. Consulting with other professionals on details of cases and treatment plans.
  4. Conduct research studies of motivation in learning, group performance, and individual differences in mental abilities and educational performance.
  5. Collecting data and analyzing characteristics of students and recommending educational programs.
  6. Undertaking electrical workshop functions such as installing assemblies for protection relays, metering, and indicating devices.
  7. Assisting with research and experimentation programs.

Determining your eligibility to immigrate to Australia as a software engineer

This is the most crucial stage in determining your eligibility to work in Australia. Acquiring the relevant knowledge on Australian Immigration Points is important.

How to calculate your Australian immigration points

Each section requires you to add points that will make up your Immigration Points Total.

  1. Age points for software developers in Australia

Age 18 – 24 = 25 points

Age 25 – 32 = 30 points

Age 33 – 39 = 25 points

Age 40 – 44 = 15 points

The new immigration age for Australian Skilled Migration is 45. When you reach 45 years, you are not eligible for skilled migration. However, you can use other Australian visa programs which are at your disposal.

  1. English proficiency

Being proficient in English is vital when applying for a skilled visa in Australia. A higher grade guarantees you more points required to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI). 10 points are given for proficiency whereas if you are on the superior level you are awarded 20 points.

  1. Points for work experience

3 to 5 years =  5 points

5 to 8 years = 10 points

8 years +     = 15 points

  1. Points for software developer qualification

Ph.D. = 20 points

Degree = 15 points

Trade Qualification  = 10 points

  1. Partner skills points for Australian skilled migration

Your partner’s qualification in an occupation on the Occupations in Demand Lists guarantees you 5 points.

To qualify for Australian Skilled Migration your minimum points must be 65. Once you’ve satisfied ANZSCO and calculated a minimum of 65 emigration points it’s time to start looking at getting your migration case underway.

The 3 stages of emigrating to Australia for a software developer

  1. Engineer stage one: skills assessment

Just like any other profession, a skills assessment body exists for Software Developers. The body checks your skills, experience, and qualifications. The Australian Computer Society(ACS) is the governing body for Software Developers. Therefore, the ACS requires you to submit documents that substantiate your skills, training, qualifications, and experience. Supply the following documents:

  • Copy of your Passport
  • Your CV OR Resume
  • Payslips from each of your employers
  • Your Qualifications
  • References for every role you’ve held
  • ID Documentation

This Skills Assessment is a compulsory step in the Australian Migration process and you cannot proceed to other stages without it. After the assessment, you are given a number on your Skills Assessment Certificate to be submitted in the next stage of the application process. This Skills Certificate is proof that your skills, qualifications, and experience in your home country are recognized in Australia. As a result, you gain Australian licensing and registrations required.

  1. Stage two: expression of interest (EOI)

A positive Skills Assessment enables you to lodge an EOI which puts you into a pool of candidates seeking to migrate to Australia as Software Developers. If you put your strongest case it puts you in a better position to be invited to apply for your formal skilled visa.

  1. Stage three: formal application

After receiving an invitation, lodge your formal application to the Department of Home Affairs. This stage requires you to do police checks and medicals.

After your application has been approved you can start working in Australia as a Software Developer and enjoy the benefits that come with the position. You can also be in a position to apply for permanent residence.

Pros of working as a software developer in Australia

  • Great job security
  • Secure housing
  • Medical benefits
  • Tax-free income
  • Pension
  • Your spouse or partner can join you
  • Opportunity to apply for Australian citizenship
  • Sponsor relatives for permanent residence
  • Travel in and out of Australia as you please

Cons of working as a software developer in Australia

  • High skills requirement
  • Supervise interns
  • Expat life
  • Low culture shock
  • Long travel time


Working as a software developer in Australia offers great job security and benefits. If you have the required skills and experience, then you should consider applying for a role as a software developer in Australia. The interest in this field is growing at a rapid pace, and many business organizations and startups are expanding their operations in Australia. Therefore, you will have great work opportunities as a software developer in Australia.

Due to the great demand for skilled software developers in Australia, you will have many job opportunities as a software developer. Due to the high salaries and high job security, becoming a software developer in Australia is a great career option.

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