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April 2015

All You Need To Know About Getting An Australian Visa

Published: Wednesday 15 April 2015

There are many different types of Australian visa available for immigration purposes, but knowing which one is needed can be a confusing process. Here, courtesy of The Emigration Group, is a look at the country’s most commonly used visas:

General Skilled Migration

Applying through the General Skilled Migration Programme is the most common route to achieving permanent residence in Australia. This programme emphasises skills that are currently in demand within Australia and encourages potential immigrants who possess these skills to apply. There are three main types of skilled visas, all are points based with a minimum pass mark. For each visa you will need to meet basic requirements. These are:
  • Applicants must nominate an occupation from either the Skilled Occupation List or Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List  and have the relevant skills and experience in that occupation;
  • Applicants must demonstrate a suitable level of English language ability – passport holders of English speaking nations meet the basic requirements and not need to sit an International English Language System Test to prove this ability.
  • Applicants must be under the age of 50 at the time of being invited to apply for a visa and meet the pass mark applicable at the time.
The visa categories for General Skilled Migration are as follows:

Skilled Independent (subclass 189)

This visa is for individuals / families seeking an independent (non sponsored or nominated), permanent residence visa. Once an expression of interest has been submitted, which meets the aforementioned basic requirements, they will need to be invited to apply for a visa by the Australian government. The occupation they nominate must be included on the Skilled Occupation List. You can settle anywhere in Australia using this visa.

Skilled Nominated – permanent (subclass 190)

This visa is for applicants who have received State or Territory Government Nomination and are seeking a permanent residence visa. In addition to being nominated by a State or Territory Government, applicants will need to meet the above basic requirements and their occupation must be included on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List. You must initially settle in the state or territory which you have been nominated by.

Skilled Regional – provisional (Subclass 489)

This visa is for skilled workers who have been nominated by a State or Territory Government or eligible relative, living in a designated (regional) area in Australia. This is a four-year provisional visa which entitles the holder to live and work in a specified regional area. Permanent residence is available to those who meet the requirements for a permanent subclass 887 visa. Applicants must also meet the basic requirements. If sponsored by a close family member then the occupation must be included on the Skilled Occupations List,  whereas  if nominated by a State or Territory Government  the occupation must be included on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List.

Family visas

If a close family member or spouse is already an Australian citizen or permanent resident, an applicant may use this relation or spouse to apply for an Australian visa.

Partner visas

The Australian Partner Migration programme is open to married and de-facto couples who are in committed, genuine relationships with either an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident. The Australian Partner Visa allows you to travel to Australia with your partner. If you’ve been in a genuine relationship for three years or more, you may be granted a permanent visa. If not, you may be granted a temporary visa with which, after two years if the relationship is ongoing, you are eligible to apply for a permanent visa. You will need to have been (and be able to prove that you’ve been) in a committed relationship with your Australian partner for at least 12 months before being eligible to apply for this visa.

Contributory Parent visa - permanent (subclass 143)

This visa is for parents who want to join their child / children in Australia, who must be either permanent residents or citizens and willing to sponsor you. Parents will need to pass the Balance of Family Test. This test means that at least half of your children, including step-children and adopted children, must be living permanently in Australia. A substantial second visa application charge must be paid prior to the visa being issued - which is updated on 1st July each year. Additionally a ten-year assurance of support is required from the sponsor with an AUS$10,000 bond for the principal applicant and $AUS4,000 for each other adult applicant.

Contributory Parent visa – temporary (subclass 173)

This is A two-year temporary visa, which offers a lower second visa application charge of AUS$25,330 per person. There is no assurance of support needed for the 173 visa. However, visa holders can apply for a permanent 143 visa before the expiry of the 173 (temporary visa) and a further application charge of AUS$16,885 per person is then payable. A 10-year assurance of support is required of $10,000 for the principal applicant and $4,000 for each other adult applicant for the permanent stage.

Other family visas

There are also visas available for children of Australian permanent residents/citizens. Contact The Emigration Group for more information.

Work Visas

These visas are aimed at people who are looking to work temporarily in Australia. There are three main options through this stream, with each Australian work visa having a different range of eligibility criteria which must be met in order to make a successful visa application. However for each visa you will need to meet the following criteria:
  • You will need a job offer from an Australian employer;
  • You will need to prove that you have the required skills and experience needed to fulfil the role you have been nominate for; and
  • You (or the Australian employer) will need to prove that there is a demand for the job you have been offered, and that the position couldn't be filled by a local applicant.
The work visas are as follows:

Temporary Skilled Work (subclass 457)

This is a four-year temporary visa which requires you to work in Australia for the employer who sponsored you. You can only work in the nominated occupation with this visa and any period of unemployment must not exceed 90 days. Your family members can work and study in Australia for the duration of the visa and once the employee has obtained a successful skill assessment or has worked for 2 years for the Australian business/employer, they may apply for a nominated permanent visa. There are three stages to complete for this programme. The employer must apply to become a standard business sponsor before nominating an occupation for an existing or prospective subclass 457 visa holder. The nominated person must then apply to obtain this visa to fill the role and move to Australia.

Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

This visa grants you permanent residence in Australia. You must be nominated by an approved Australian employer, be younger than 50, meet the skills, qualifications and language requirements and apply under the stream for which you are nominated. There are three streams that this visa falls under. These are the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, the Direct Entry Stream and the Agreement Stream. The first is visa subclass 457 holders who have worked for two years with their nominated employer who can be offered a permanent position. The Direct Entry Stream is for people nominated by an employer under this stream, who have never – or only briefly – worked in Australia or certain temporary residents. The Agreement Stream is for people sponsored through a labour agreement.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187)

To receive this permanent visa you must be nominated by an approved Australian employer for a job based in a regional area of Australia. You will also need to be younger than 50, and meet the skills, qualification and language requirements. There are three streams for this visa, the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, the Direct Entry Stream and the Agreement Stream. The first is for visa subclass 457 holders and allows employers to offer them permanent positions in that occupation. The Direct Entry stream is for people who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia or certain temporary residents while the Agreement Stream is for people sponsored through a labour agreement. Information supplied by The Emigration Group. Visit their website for more in-depth information on any of these visas, and to take a FREE online eligibility assessment.