Updated July 2022

Are you Considering extending your stay in Australia with a Student visa? Well, you should definitely consider studying in a regional area! Usually most backpackers and students coming to Australia will choose the big cities like Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney but regional cities offer many opportunities for International students. Ballarat, Perth, Hobart, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin, Townsville or Byron Bay are now considered regional areas.

If you are a long termer and want to migrate, choosing a regional area for your studies has numerous benefits. As well as the lower cost of living and the more laid back lifestyle. You can also get extra points for permanent Residency and a post graduate visa up to 4 years.


The benefits of studying in a regional area in Australia for International Students:

1) Affordable cost of living

While the cost of life in big cities can be incredibly high, regional areas have a more affordable cost of living. For example, your accommodation, food and transport expenses will be much lower. We noticed that rents in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have been increased a lot since borders have reopened and it starts to be challenging to find a flat or a share-house for international students and backpackers. This new interest to regional areas started during the covid-19 crises, especially in regional Victoria, where the rules regarding lockdowns were less stricts than in Melbourne city. As a result of this, regionals areas became more cosmopolitan and have seen an increase in terms of population, and new businesses opening.


2) Additional points for Permanent Residency

If you complete your studies in a regional town or city, you might gain extra points towards Permanent Residency. If your long term plan is to apply for permanent residency in Australia, studying in a designated regional area will give you an absolute benefit. Studying or living in any provincial city for over two years might grant you an extra five points towards a skilled Permanent Residency visa. For more information about this you can have a look at the government website or book a consultation with a Registered Migration Agent to make sure that you are eligible.

Source immigration website 


3) Additional Skilled Visas

The Australian Government has made some changes to boost regional areas for international students. They have created 2 new skilled regional provisional visas that provide a pathway to permanent residency, and a new skilled regional permanent resident visa. Extra points under the Skilled Migration Points Test for skilled migrants nominated will be given to live and work in regional Australia. As a fact regional areas have a lower population than the big cities, which is a great opportunity in terms of job offer especially for specific skilled workers! 

Check here to learn about all the regional work visas.

If you would like to know more about student visas and course opportunities in regional areas, feel free to reach out. We will organise a free consultation and help you to go through all your options.


4)  1 to 2 years post graduate visa (485)

Since 2021, international students living and studying on a University programs (such as Bachelor and Master degrees) in a regional area, may be eligible for 1 to 2 additional years on their post graduate visa subclass 485 (post study work stream).  Top 5 reasons to study at University 

The additional 1 to 2 years post-study work visa for graduates of higher education or post-graduate programs require an ongoing residence in a regional area for at least 2 years.

– 1 year extra (total of 3 years post graduate visa) if you studied, worked and lived in Category 2 cities. The Category 2 Cities in Australia are Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart

– 2 years extra (total of 4 years post graduate visa) if you studied, worked and lived in category 3 cities: ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’. Category 3 regional areas in Australia are listed in this postcode list.

More details on the Department of immigration’s website.

Study in regional area Australia

5) Relaxing laid back lifestyle

Regional cities provide a relaxing lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Some regional cities offer numerous facilities and entertainment like some big cities but with a more laid back vibe and less crowded. Imagine living in Gold Coast or Perth and be able to go for a swim at the beach every morning before work. If you are still hesitating about going to study in a regional area there are also big differences compare to studying in a busy city:
- Studying in regional Australia will be less stressful in your routine
- Regional areas of Australia usually have smaller classes
- Regional cities in Australia usually waste less time in public transport
- A community feel and local support, as the regional campus are smaller and easier to adapt too
- Speciality course offering, like wine making degrees in Adelaide or Marine Biology speciality on the East Coast
- More scholarships opportunities for international students
- Real immersion in the Australian culture

Best Regional Areas to Study in Australia

Which is the best regional area in Australia to study, work and live in? is one of the most frequently asked questions among international students. To find out the answer, you need to consider different aspects such as lifestyle, cost of living, job opportunities and the population of the regional area. Talking to several students, who told us about their experiences, we came to the conclusion that the best regional areas to live in Australia are Perth, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide and Cairns. Each of them are unique in their own way.

If you are wondering: Is Byron Bay a regional area? Yes, you got that right! Byron Bay is now a regional area.

If you've ever been to Australia, you'll no doubt have heard of the famous Byron Bay, one of the most sought-after regional locations for international students and backpackers. Byron, like the Sunshine Coast, has something to offer for everyone, from beautiful beaches to stunning hinterland. On any given day, you can surf with dolphins, enjoy a locally grown and roasted coffee in town, savour raw/vegan delicacies, witness a Hemsworth brother working out, shop exclusive Byron local and ethical brands, eat fish and chips on the beach and listen to a local band in the pub. The only thing Byron Bay can be blamed for is that, when you combine a small area with one of the best lifestyles in the world, the cost of living is unfortunately higher. However, there are several rural and coastal towns close to Byron that are significantly less expensive and a short drive away.

Which State or Regional Area in Australia is the best for getting the PR?

Australia's government offers many advantages to permanent residents. By getting the PR in Australia, all the living and working rights of other Australians are available to you. However, before you do that, you need to work out which particular state you want to move to. If you are wondering which regional area is best for PR, we can help you analyse the best options.

Tasmania is at the top of the list when it comes to which state is best to get a PR in Australia. However, you can also consider New South Wales and South Australia for PR. The best option for higher education and work in Australia is of course New South Wales. Whereas South Australia is one of the most inexpensive states in Australia where you can reside permanently.

However, the best option is always the one that best suits what you are looking for. So, when considering your choice of state or regional area to study in Australia, make a list of your goals, be clear on what you are aiming to get out of your experience and what your priorities are.

If you need help and information about courses, degrees and universities, or if you still need to figure out which part of Australia best suits what you're looking for, don't hesitate to contact us! One of our friendly team will be in touch to advise you.


Contact us