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study in regional australia

Studying in regional Australia can be an enriching experience, offering many benefits beyond just obtaining a degree. 

Despite this, many international students remain unaware of the advantages of studying in regional areas and tend to focus on major cities.

In this article, education ONE will provide a comprehensive guide to the benefits of studying in regional Australia, including longer duration of the Temporary Graduate Visa, opportunities for permanent residency, and the potential for a more prosperous life. 

Below are the spotlights of this article:

It’s important to consider all the opportunities Australia has to offer. 

We encourage you to read on to discover the full range of benefits that studying in regional Australia can provide.

What’s the right course for you? Let’s plan your study together. Contact us now!

What is the Australian Regional Area?

The term “Australian Regional Area” refers to the parts of Australia that are outside the major cities and metropolitans like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. 

These regions consist mainly of small towns and cities with a lower population density and provide a distinct way of life and cultural exposure compared to urban areas.

Study in Regional Australia

The Australian Regional Areas are vast and diverse, encompassing various landscapes and communities like agricultural regions, coastal towns, mining towns, and remote areas. 

They present unique educational opportunities, employment, and lifestyle, making them an appealing choice for domestic and international students.

Which places are considered regional in Australia?

For migration purposes, the Department of Home Affairs classifies the regional areas into two categories, and provides regional incentives for skilled migrants migrating to locations classified as Category 2 “Cities and Major Regional Centres” or Category 3 “Regional Centres and other Regional Areas”.

Category 2 – ‘Cities and major regional centres’ from Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart have access to the following regional incentives:

  • Priority processing of regional visas
  • Access to the regional list of occupations – more jobs compared to non-regional lists
  • International graduates with a Bachelor’s or higher qualification who study in regional Australia, from a regional campus of a registered institution, will be eligible to get 1-2 years in Australia on a Temporary Graduate Visa (485) visa extension after studying.

Category 3 – ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’ will have access to the dedicated 11,200 regional places, priority processing of regional visas, and the Regional Occupations List. Additional incentives are:

  • International graduates with a bachelor or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution will be eligible to access an additional 2 years in Australia on a Temporary Graduate Visa Australia (Subclass 485).
  • Priority in negotiating region-specific Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs).

Planning to Study in Regional Australia? Contact us now, and we will guide you.

Is it cheaper to live in regional Australia?

Generally speaking, living in regional areas of Australia is cheaper than living in major cities.

temporary graduate visa 485 2022

The cost of living in regional areas, including accommodation, groceries, and transportation, is often lower than in urban areas. 

This makes studying in regional Australia an attractive option for international students on a tight budget.

Regional Areas in Australia for International Students

Australia’s expansive landscape presents numerous opportunities for international students to explore and experience diverse regional areas. 

These regional areas provide a distinct study experience, with many unique features that set them apart from the more metropolitan cities.

A list of postcodes that specify designated regional areas is available and applies to the following visas that you could apply for after finishing your study in Regional Australia:

  • Regional visas:
    • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
    • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
    • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) – designated regional areas only apply to visa holders nominated by a State and
    • Territory government agency whose visa was granted after 16 November 2019. See other specified regions for the invited pathway and subsequent entrant pathway.
  • Temporary graduate visa:
    • On top of that, studying in Australia will make you eligible to meet the current study and location requirements for a Second Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). This visa could provide a great pathway for you to apply for the regional visas above.


*If nominated to live and work in a designated regional Australia, an applicant would receive an additional 5 points under the Skilled Migration Points Test.

*If you study in regional Australia and have completed your study in a designated regional area, you will get 5 points.

Also read: Stay After Graduation And Secure Your Future With Australian Graduate Visa.

What does studying in regional Australia mean?

The Australian government is trying to encourage more people to move to generally less populated areas to ensure that everyone has a fair chance at a good life.

It will help develop those places and address the regional skills gap.

These reforms will help relieve strain on major cities with rapidly rising populations, such as Sydney and Melbourne. 

Several regional universities in Australia are situated on vast land areas and provide on-campus accommodation and other facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts, and cafes. 

These universities are also well-established in terms of public transportation.

Is it better to study in a regional area in Australia?

International students usually consider only major Australian cities to study and live in, ignoring other potential opportunities. 

However, Australian regional cities, such as Perth, Darwin, Tasmania, Adelaide, Ballarat, and Townsville, offer a variety of unique opportunities for international students.

Studying in regional Australia may offer more long-term advantages, including access to government incentives, employment opportunities, and post-study migration options. 

While studying in a major city can provide a sense of prestige and an exciting lifestyle, the benefits of studying in a regional area extend beyond the immediate experience.

Which is the best regional area in Australia for international students?

International students face challenges when choosing a regional area in Australia due to each area’s unique benefits and advantages. 

Thus, international students should conduct extensive research, consider factors such as quality of education, living expenses, employment opportunities, cultural experiences, and post-study migration prospects, and evaluate their options meticulously to select the ideal regional area that aligns with their academic and personal goals.

So what regional city is best for studying in Australia?

However, what we can inform you is that:

  • Western Australia is known for its stunning natural beauty, from rugged coastlines to vast deserts. Students can explore these landscapes through outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and camping, providing a well-rounded and enriching study abroad experience.
  • Tasmania is an island state renowned for its natural beauty, breathtaking landscapes, and laid-back lifestyle. It is home to several renowned universities and colleges, such as the University of Tasmania and TasTAFE, which offer high-quality education to international students.
  • Queensland’s regional areas offer an excellent education for international students, including the University of the Sunshine Coast on the Sunshine Coast and the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba.
  • The Northern Territory provides a unique cultural experience for international students, with Charles Darwin University offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the capital city of Darwin.
  • New South Wales is home to many regional areas ideal for international students. For example, Newcastle, located two hours north of Sydney, is home to the University of Newcastle. At the same time, the city of Wollongong, south of Sydney, is home to the University of Wollongong.
  • South Australia is known for its wine regions and beautiful coastline, but it also has many regional areas that offer great study opportunities. For example, Adelaide has several universities, including the University of South Australia and Flinders University.

Don’t miss our article: Can international students stay in Australia after graduation by applying for an Australian Graduate Visa?

What are the Benefits of Studying in Regional Australia?

We have wrapped up the benefits of studying in regional Australia for you.

Additional year on Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) – Post-study Work Stream

As announced by the Australian Government, International graduates with a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regional campus of a registered institution will be eligible to receive an additional year of residency in Australia on a post-study work visa or the temporary graduate visa (Subclass 485).

STEM Specialist Educational Qualification Australia

This visa allows you to stay in Australia after completing your studies to work full-time.

As per the recent changes to Australian graduate visas offer an extra two years compared to previous regulations, and studying in regional Australia can provide even more time. 

This increases the likelihood of obtaining permanent residency in Australia.

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Permanent Residency Benefits in Australia: Everything You Need to Know

Bonus Points for Migration

The benefit of receiving five extra points is one of the main reasons international students opt to study in regional locations. 

After finishing your studies in a regional area of Australia, you can receive extra points towards your permanent residency application, which is a significant advantage. 

Living or studying in a regional city for more than two years can earn you an additional five points towards your skilled permanent residency visa application.

These five-point criteria are important to remember when applying for permanent residency.

Equal quality of education

Many prestigious universities, English language schools, secondary schools, and TAFEs can be found in regional areas, providing excellent educational opportunities. 

These campuses offer similar amenities and facilities to those located in major Australian cities.

Several courses are exclusively available in certain regional areas. For example, the marine courses offered by the University of Tasmania are one-of-a-kind in Australia.

Class sizes are small

One of the main advantages of studying in a regional location is that class sizes are smaller than in cities. 

As a result, you receive personalised education, and it is quite simple to form relationships with your teachers and lecturers.

Unique scholarship

Numerous universities in Australia offer scholarship programs to attract international students to regional areas.

The Australian government has announced a special grant for overseas students studying at remote universities called Destination Australia.

study in Australian regional 2022 powerful benefits

Students pursuing programs ranging from Certificate IV to Doctoral degrees will be eligible for this grant valued at $15,000 for courses delivered over 12 months and capped at $22,500 for courses delivered over 18 months.

Living costs

Living costs are significantly lower in regional cities and towns compared to larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne. 

The cost of living in regional areas is approximately half that of major cities, resulting in a better quality of life with affordable accommodation, housing, transportation, food, entertainment, and more expenses.

Compared to cities, the cost of living in regional locations is far lower. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Adelaide costs roughly $1,360, while it costs $2,602 in Sydney.

Also read: Australian Student Visa Fee Refund for International Students 2022 is Now Available; Find Out How.

Closer to nature

Studying in a regional area is the most excellent option if you want to be closer to nature and enjoy being outside. With its diverse scenery and fauna, Australia is a stunning country.

Living in regional areas of Australia offers a peaceful and serene lifestyle surrounded by nature, away from the chaos of big cities. 

You can enjoy your leisure time and have a more relaxed life while studying.

powerful benefits of studying in regional australia

Additionally, there are established migrant communities in regional areas that provide a welcoming environment and prevent newcomers from feeling isolated.

More relaxed lifestyle

Regional areas in Australia move at a considerably slower rate than metropolitan areas. Because people are rarely in a hurry, you may feel as if you are always on vacation. 

People take a laid-back approach, and the workload is even less stressful.

Further reading: Your Frequently Asked Question About Courses That Can Lead To Australian PR

Specialist Education Qualification in Australia

Do you know that besides your study location, the major of your study can also benefit you?

Suppose you plan to study for a Master’s degree in Research or a Doctorate in regional Australia for at least two years. 

You can consider specific majors to help you get extra points for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 application.

studying in australian regional area education one

Also read: Good or Bad News? New Rules for Australia Student Visa 2022 to be Issued in July.

An Australian educational institution must award you a PhD or master’s after completing at least two years of research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or specific information and communication technology (ICT).

Further Reading: List of Specialist Educational Qualifications in Australia

Choosing the right university in regional Australia

Factors to consider when choosing a university

Selecting a regional university in Australia requires students to evaluate several factors. 

These include the availability of courses or programs, the reputation of the university, its location and campus facilities, the cost of living in the area, and scholarships and financial aid options. 

Additionally, students should assess opportunities for work experience, internships, and industry connections available through the university and its location. 

It’s crucial for students to conduct thorough research and consider these factors before making a decision about their future education.

Top Regional Universities in Australia for You

So what’s the best regional area in Australia to study? And what are the available institutions for you?

study in perth 2023

Based on our research in terms of Cost of living, lifestyle, liveability, availability of prestigious universities and courses, facilities, and job opportunities, here is a list of universities located in regional areas of Australia which are not only top-ranked in Australia but also in the world:

  • Study in Perth: Curtin University, University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University,TAFE International WA, Kaplan Business School, Navitas English, Perth International College of English, Navitas Professional, Stanley College, Box Hill Institute, Phoenix Academy, Western Australian Institute for Further Studies (WAIFS), Australian Professional Skills Institute (APSI), and AILFE.
  • Study in Gold Coast: Griffith University, Bond University, Southern Cross University, TAFE Queensland, Torrens University Australia, and University of Sunshine Coast
  • Study in Adelaide: Flinders University, University of Adelaide, and University of South Australia
  • Study in Canberra: Australian National University, University of Canberra, Australian Catholic University
  • Study in Hobart: University of Tasmania, TasTAFE, 
  • Study in Wollongong: University of Wollongong
  • Study in Newcastle: University of Newcastle
  • Study in Darwin: Charles Darwin University
  • Study in Cairns: James Cook University
  • Study in Geelong: Deakin University
  • Study in Ballarat: Federation University

Here’s What We Can Do to Realise Your Study Dream in Australia

Every year, students get devastated. Feeling that they have chosen the wrong course or location results in them making more money and effort for the temporary graduate visa 485 or Australian Permanent Residence.

Don’t be one of them. You must choose your study course and location very carefully if you want to apply for Permanent Residence. 

Migration through Studying may contain some fatal elements that are often overlooked. Don’t risk – Make sure you are on the right track, get an eligible visa, and have a strategy for permanent residence in Australia with a quality Registered Migration and Education agent.

Contact education ONE to Help You Study In Regional Australia

education ONE is an experienced education agent with in-house Migration Agents. If you are unsure of whether you have met all the requirements for your Migration through  Study plan in Australia, book a FREE study and Student Visa Consultation with one of our Career Development Consultants or contact us, education ONE Australia through email at [email protected] or via phone on at 1300 083 663.

Our in-house Migration Agents have a 98% success rate for all visas, and their main aim is to help people migrate to Australia.

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Education ONE partners up with most Australian colleges and universities, which makes us able to assist international students with various needs. At ONE derland Consulting, along with our highly experienced and professional Registered Migration Agents, we have a dedicated team of consultants that will be on hand to offer you insight and assistance on securing your Australian Study Goals.

Our team has extensive experience assisting numerous international students in meeting their visa requirements, regardless of how complicated their situations may be. 

We personalise our approach for each individual, considering their circumstances to identify the optimal options for their visa and future career goals in Australia. 

We are excited to help you realise your dreams of studying and gaining work experiences in Australia.

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