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Do you want to move to Australia? Are you looking for a relocation guide to understand how the Australian migration really works? This relocation guide covers information about the most popular Australian migration programs and how one can settle down.
People from different parts of the world want to know if it is hard or easy to relocate to Australia. If you already have a job offer or an employment contract from Australia, the resettling process could be pretty simple and straightforward. You just need to apply for an appropriate work visa. If you can create a business and job opportunities for locals, your chances of a smooth transition and successful work permit application become even greater.
Why do you need to migrate to Australia? Well, expats living in this country enjoy many benefits of migrating to Australia including a high quality of living, great education, good healthcare, fantastic work-life balance, and decent work benefits from employers.
An Introduction to Australian Visas for Migration Purposes
What Is an Australian Visa?
An Australian Visa is a permit that allows you to travel to Australia for a predetermined period of time. Unlike most other countries, Australia does not issue visa stamps or labels on your passport. Instead, your visa privileges are recorded electronically on an online system, and when you travel to Australia, the airport immigration officer will check the database to verify whether you have a valid visa.
What are the ways to settle down in Australia?
Understanding all the ways of settling down in Australia can be difficult to understand. Therefore, we can make it easy by classifying the visa categories. There are many ways to migrate to Australia. Australian Department of Home Affairs is offering a wide range of programs to people interested to move to Australia.
Skilled professionals and business people can come to Australia proving their skills, expertise, and projected contributions to Australian economy. On the other hand, family members like partner, parents, and children can apply to many different visa programs and get Australian permanent residency. Importantly, student visa is a non-immigrant visa option. But, from student visa, one could stay in Australia, get temporary residency, and later become eligible to apply for permanent residency. Therefore, study visas can also be an option to settle down in Australia.
Popular Migration Pathways to Australia
1. Working and Skilled Visas
There are visa subclasses that are suitable for skilled professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, job seekers, talents, and sponsored employees. Most of the visa subclasses in this segment require an applicant to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). An applicant cannot lodge a visa application unless an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs is received.
Major steps for working and skilled visas:
General Skilled Migration (Visa Subclass 189, 190, 491)
There are a variety of skilled migration options for people who want to migrate to Australia by demonstrating their qualifications and skills.
The visa subclass 189 visa is a permanent residence visa application allowing the applicants to remain indefinitely in Australia with full work rights. This visa subclass does not need any sort of sponsorship from Australian State, Territory or family.
Skilled professionals who wish to migrate to Australia can apply to Australian Skilled Migration (Subclass 189). Applicants must fulfill all the requirements, calculate passing scores and look for the availability of their occupations (ANZCSO) before proceeding to apply.
This visa is a point-based permanent-residency visa to Australia. Interested applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest to the Department of Home Affairs. Australia. SkillSelect accepts EOI submissions all through the year. The subclass 190 is a state-nominated visa. Successful applicants must initially stay in the specific state that has invited him or her.
This is a state-nominated permanent residence visa which is granted to highly skilled people to move to Australia for work.
Visa subclass 491 is a 5-year Provisional Visa. It allows highly eligible professionals and their family members to live, and work in the designated regional areas of Australia. The validity of the visa is 5 years. Although it is a provisional visa, the visa applicant can apply for permanent residency after 3 years if the requirements for the PR visa subclass 191 are fulfilled by the applicant.
This is a state-nominated provisional visa for highly skilled migrants that allows visa applicants to live and work in regional areas of Australia for up to five years.
Eligibility requirements for General Skilled Migration:
- Make sure your occupation is available on the relevant Skilled Occupation List
- Meet the pass mark in the skilled migration points test
- Be aged between 18 and maximum 44
- Have a positive outcome from the Skills Assessing Authority.
- Have Competent or higher score in English Language Test
- Meet the health and character requirements
- Lodge an EOI and be invited to apply
The Subclass 494, Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional visa, is a provisional (temporary residence) visa that allows a visa holder to live, work, and study in a regional area of Australia. If the visa holder can meet the residence requirements, he or she can apply for a Permanent Regional Visa.
This visa supports regional employers to address recognized labour shortages within their area by sponsoring skilled employees where employers can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker
Eligibility requirements for Employer Sponsored stream visa (subclass 494):
- be nominated to work in an occupation which is listed on the skilled occupation list
- have at least 3 years relevant work experience in your nominated occupation
- have a positive skills assessment outcome
- work only for your sponsor or associated entity, unless an exemption applies
- be under 45 years of age, unless an exemption applies
- meet minimum of English language proficiency test score
The Global Talent Visa program targets to attract top talent in specific sectors. This program is mainly designed to help Australia compete with the first world countries such as Canada, the US and the UK for the world’s finest and brightest. This visa subclass aims individuals who are notable in their area and who are expected to be able to earn at least AUD$153,600 in Australia. This volume of earning relates to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) which is indexed yearly generally on 1 July.
Eligibility requirements for Global Talent Visa:
- stay in Australia indefinitely
- work and study anywhere in Australia
- avail Medicare
- sponsor your relatives to come to Australia
- travel to and from Australia for 5 years
- if eligible, apply for Australian citizenship and passport
Visas for Business People and Entrepreneurs
Australia could be the best place for business expansion. Business owners and entrepreneurs from Asia, Europe, Middle East, and even from the U.S. come to Australia to expand their business activities.
The Business Innovation & Investment Visa, Subclass 188, is the most popular visa program for business people. There are many streams under Business Innovation & Investment visa
This stream is for business owners seeking to establish business operations in Australia. The visa subclass 188A is a provisional visa which allows business owners and entrepreneurs to come to Australia and start business activities. Successful visa applicants can operate a new or existing business in Australia, bring dependent family members to live in Australia and apply for permanent residency Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888) Business Innovation stream. A 2-year extension may be allowed once you have held the subclass 188 visa for 3 years, giving you total 6 years from the date of grant of the visa grant.
Eligibility requirements for 188A visa:
- You should be owning a business with annual turnover of at least AUD 500,000 for at least 2 of the last 4 financial years;
- Your personal and business asset value must be at least AUD 800,000;
- You must be under 55 years of age, but some states may allow applicants older than 55;
- You must meet the pass mark in the Business Innovation and Investment Points test(currently 65)
- You must have a successful business track record.
This visa stream is for people who are willing to invest $1.5 million in an Australian State or Territory bonds. Once you have managed an investment in Australian State or Territory for 4 years, you can apply for permanent residence along with your dependent family members through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888 visa.
This visa is suitable for business owners and investors who want to carry out business and investment activity in Australia; bring eligible members and apply for a permanent Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888) Investor stream if certain requirements are met
Eligibility requirements for Investor visa (Visa subclass 188B):
- You must be owning net assets of at least AUD 2.25 million for the last 2 fiscal years
- You must be under 55 years of age, unless the nominating state or territory accepts overaged applicants.
- Meet the 188 visa pass mark (currently 65)
- You must be ready to make an investment of AUD 1.5 million in Australian State or Territory bonds prior to grant of the visa
- You must have at least 3 years of experience either managing a successful business or qualified investments, and have revealed an excellent management skill
- For at least 1 of the last 5 financial years, you have either:
- Managed a business in which you have at least 10% shareholding; or
- Managed eligible investments of at least AUD 1.5 million
The significant investor stream, 188C, is for people willing to invest $5 million into complying investments in Australia. The Significant Investor visa is a 4-year provisional visa for individuals wishing to make at least AUD 5 million investment in an Australian state or territory. It is one of the visa streams within the Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment visa.
Once you have managed an investment in Australia for at least 4 years, you and your family members may become eligible apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888 visa.
Unlike the 188A visa, you will need to stay 40 days per year inside Australia and be sponsored by one of Australian state or territory.
The visa subclass 188C is for people who invest at least AUD5 million in Australian investments that meet specific requirements and manage investment activity in Australia
For visa grant purposes, you must make an investment of at least AUD 5 million in a “complying investment”. A complying investment must be made up of:
- at least AUD500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small companies
- at least AUD1.5 million in approved managed funds. The managed funds must invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
- a ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD3 million in managed funds
*Unlike other 188 visa streams, there is no age limits in this visa.
This stream is for people who have a funding agreement from a third party for at least AUD200 000 to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity. This visa, subclass 188E, lets you carry out entrepreneurial activities in Australia. The 188E Business visa is good option for entrepreneurs with motivation and innovative ideas and financial backing from third parties. Like other 188 visa streams, it is also a 4-year temporary visa and is only available to people who have been nominated by one of Australian state or territory government. To be nominated to lodge a visa application, the applicant must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the SkillSelect system.
The visa applicants can either be in Australia or overseas at the time of visa lodgment.
If the applicant is in Australia:
Must hold a Substantive Visa or a Bridging A, B or C visa.
this visa is ideal for people who wish to conduct entrepreneurial activity in Australia and bring dependent family members to live in Australia.
Eligibility requirements for Entrepreneur Stream (Subclass 188E):
- undertake, or propose to undertake, a complying entrepreneur activity in Australia
- have a funding agreement of at least AUD200,000 to carry out entrepreneurial activity in Australia
- demonstrate a strong business plan for your entrepreneurial activity in Australia
- have at least competent English
2. Studying and Training Visa
Studying and training visas are non-immigrant visas. The ultimate purpose of studying and training visa is to allow foreign students to come to Australia and study. Fortunately, students can get temporary residency after completing undergrad or masters in Australia. During their temporary residency, students can do full-time job and later apply for skilled migration visas like visa subclass 189, 190, or 491.
Are you interested to study in Australia? Overseas international students planning to pursue a course in Australia (more than 3 months) must get an Australian student visa. There are a number of visa subclasses to choose depending on age, occupation, duration of stay and purpose. But, in most of the cases, international students who are planning to study in Australia should go for Australian Student Visa, Subclass 500.
With this visa you can:
- participate in an eligible course of study in Australia;
- travel in and out of Australia; and
- work up to 40 hours every 2-week period once your course starts
To apply for the Australian student visa, subclass 500, the student must meet the following criteria:
- Genuine Temporary Entrant Criteria
The new easy student visa outline vigorously focuses on the genuineness of the student to make sure whether the purpose of stay in Australia is for study purpose or to stay temporarily. The requirement demands student immigration history and circumstances in home country.
- Financial Status
Financial solvency is very important for student visa. The student must show the financial ability to cover the tuition fees and living costs. The Department of Home Affairs have the thorough rights to ask for strong evidence that demonstrates your financial capacity.
- Certificate of Enrolment in a registered course of study
At the time of application submission, you will be required to submit a Certificate of Enrolment provided from a registered academic institute in Australia. Students who are sponsored from foreign affairs or defense exception are considered approved for this obligation.
- English Language necessity
Some students do not need to provide evidence of English language proficiency, for example: IELTS, TOEFL, etc. If the academic institute relaxes this requirement for the student, then there is no need to submit any English test score. However, the ones with higher immigration risks must provide evidence of their English language ability with a satisfactory test with their visa application.
- Welfare arrangements for the students younger than 18 years of age
If you are under 18 years of age, you need to attach all the evidence of your welfare arrangements in Australia.
- Health and Character Requirements
Students submitting for this visa must be of good character and go through some important medical tests to fulfil some requirements of the application. The students must also obtain Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC) to get the visa granted.
3. Family and Partner Visas
A family member of Australian Citizen, Permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand Citizen, can apply to live in Australia. There are a number of options for parents, partners, and children to migrate to Australia and live with their family members in Australia.
The visa subclass 884 is the Contributory Aged Parent Visa that allows aged parents of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australian temporarily. With this visa, the applicant can live in Australia for up to 2 years, do business or job and study in Australia, and apply for a permanent Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864).
This temporary visa, subclass 884, lets the aged parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen stay temporarily in Australia.
Eligibility requirements for Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 884):
- have an eligible child who is an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
- be an aged enough to receive the Australian aged pension (65 years or above)
- be inside Australia, but not in immigration clearance, when you apply for 884 visa and when the DHA makes the decision
- not have previously submitted or hold a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (Subclass 870) visa when applying for this visa
- Pass the balance of family test.
- You must both satisfy the character and health requirements.
The visa subclass – 864 is a permanent residence visa that lets the aged parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen stay in Australia. The successful visa holder can stay in Australia as a permanent resident, work and study in Australia and avail Australia’s Medicare services.
Eligibility requirements for Contributory Aged Parent visa (Subclass 864):
- have an eligible child who is a Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen;
- be aged enough to be qualified for Australian government’s pension scheme;
- not have already submitted or hold a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (Subclass 870) visa when submitting this visa;
- Pass the balance of family test; and
- You must both satisfy the character and health requirements
Visa subclass 103 is a permanent residence visa that lets a parent of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen move to Australia. With this visa, the applicant can stay in Australia as a permanent resident, enroll in Australia’s public health care scheme, Medicare, apply for Australian citizenship and passport and enjoy many other benefits.
Eligibility requirements for Parent Visa (subclass 103)
- Your children must have Australian citizenship, Australian permanent residency or eligible New Zealand citizenship status;
- You must meet all applicable visa conditions and follow Australian DHA instructions;
- You must not have already applied for or hold a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (Subclass 870) visa when applying for subclass 103 visa;
- You must pass the balance of family test; and
- You must meet health and character requirements.
This temporary visa that allows a parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen stay temporarily in Australia. With this visa, an individual can live in Australia for up to 2 years, work and study in Australia, enroll in Australia’s public health care scheme, Medicare and apply for a permanent Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143). With this visa, the visa holder cannot avail any sort of government support.
If your visa is approved and wish to stay in Australia indefinitely, you can then apply for a Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143).
Applying for this temporary subclass 173 visa before the permanent subclass 143 visa lets you spread the costs of your migration over a number of years.
Apply for a Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa
You can spread the cost of the permanent visa over a number of years by applying in 2 steps:
- first, apply for the temporary Contributory Parent (Temporary) (subclass 173) visa, then
- apply for the permanent Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa
Eligibility requirements for Contributory Parent Visa (subclass 173):
- be sponsored by a child who is an Australian citizen, Australian Permanent resident or Eligible New Zealand citizen;
- meet the balance of family test;
- meet all visa conditions and understand Australian immigration law
- meet health and character requirements
The visa subclass 101 will allow a child to immigrate to Australia as a permanent resident, study and access to Medicare and apply for Australian citizenship and passport.
Eligibility requirements for Child Visa (Subclass 101):
- be a dependent child of a parent who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
- be under 18 years, a full-time learner aged over 18 and under 25 and financially dependent on the parent, or over 18 and unable to work due to a disability
- be unmarried and dependent on the parent
- be living outside Australia when the application is made
Note: The Department is not asking Family visa applicants to travel offshore at this time.
Subclass 309 visa is a provisional visa issued to a partner of Australian citizen or permanent resident. Subclass 309 visa will lead to a permanent visa Subclass 100, which will only be granted once minimum 2 years has passed since the Subclass 309 Partner (Provisional) visa application was lodged.
Partner visa applicants that has been in a long-term partner relationship with the sponsoring partner will be granted permanent Subclass 100 Partner (Migrant) visa in a 1-step process.
Long-term partner relationship is a relationship that has continued for:
- at least 2 years if there is a dependent child of both the applicant and the Australian spouse/partner;
- at least 3 years if without a child in the relationship.
Types of Australian Partner Visas:
There are three types of Australian Partner Visa:
- Subclass 309: Partner Visa (Outside Australia)
- Subclass 820: Partner visa (Inside Australia)
- Subclass 300: Prospective Marriage Visa
Eligibility requirements for Partner Visa (Outside Australia)
- Subclass 309 is a provisional visa that allows the applicant to stay in Australia for two years and apply for a permanent one.
- You must be outside of Australia at the time of applying and the decision of the visa
- You and your partner must prove that you both have stayed together for at least 1 year before your application
- You must meet character and health requirements
- You are eligible to be assessed for a permanent Partner Visa (Subclass 100) if you are holding the provisional 309 visas, about 24 months after the lodgment of the application. For the permanent visa, you must prove that you are still a legitimate couple. For this assessment, you will need to provide further documents.