1) Skilled Visa
The General Skilled Program enables applicants to apply for a visa based on their qualifications and work experience and is probably the most complex visa program in Australia.
To channel demand from industry and trade the Australian government has specified a number of occupations needed in Australia. These occupations include:
Qualified Trade Workers
A number of temporary or permanent visa options are available for people with qualifications and work experience in above named occupational groups. However, the visa application process is complex and eligible applicants need to meet a number of requirements.
The most important requirements for a skilled visa are:
- An occupation listed on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or (in some cases) the Short-term Skilled Occupation List. If your occupation is not listed on either list ,you won't be able to apply for a skilled visa.
- Qualifications at a recognised Australian standard
- In most cases: work experience in your nominated occupation
- Good (or very good) English language skills
- Under 45 years old
- Score at least 60 points in a points test
2) Employer Sponsored Visa
The Australian employer sponsored visa program consists of temporary as well as permanent visa.
There are temporary 457 visa, or permanent Employer Nomination Visa as well as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. From early 2018 the 457 program is going to be replaced by another temporary sponsored program. Common for all these visa classes is that you will need an employer to offer you a job and sponsors you.
Employer sponsored visas are generally an excellent option to migrate to Australia – if you find an employer who sponsors you! The main problem with Employer Sponsored visas is to find that employer. The paperwork, employers are expected to complete, is quite significant. So most employers will only agree to sponsor if they're either very desperate to fill a position and/or very enthusiastic about you.
Unless you are already in Australia and hold a visa with work rights (so they can get to know you) it is in my experience next to impossible to find a sponsor. Unless an employer lists a vacancy and specifically offers sponsorship, applications from overseas are most likely just going to be a waste of time.
If you want to try anyway, my advice to you is: have a very specific skill sought after and not readily available in Australia. Be flexible with your work place, i.e. regional or even rural areas are more often lacking skilled candidates than the major cities.
3) Fall in love
Partner Visas are not only visa for married couples, but also for (unmarried) de facto couples as well as same sex relationships.
If you are not yet married but intend to get married in the near future a 'prospective marriage visa' might be interesting for you.
If you are not married you'll need to prove to Immigration that you have been in a genuine relationship for a minimum of 12 months before you apply for the visa and that you are either living together, or at least not living apart on a permanent basis. What evidence you need to submit with your application will depend on your personal situation. Each relationship is different.
In January 2015 partner visa applications have unfortunately become very expensive. The visa application charge for one adult person in Australia is currently A$ 7000, if you have children to include it becomes even more expensive.
4) Business People
This visa is for overseas Businesspeople who would like to manage a new or existing Australian business or who would like to invest in Australia. It is not suitable for people who have no previous business experience, as there are strict requirements in terms of turnover and ownership as well as your role in managing the business.
There are two entry options to this program:
- Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa for investors or people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a business in Australia
- Business Talent (permanent) visa for people who want to establish a new or existing business in Australia and either have the funds or have secured funding from an Australian venture capital firm.
The only option for Pensioners to move to Australia these days is an 'Investor Retirement Visa'. It is only interesting if you're financially secure, healthy, at least 55 years old and able to invest a large sum (minimum A$ 500.000) into Australian bonds.
In exchange you get a temporary visa, that enables you to stay for 4 years. You'll never be a permanent resident. But you you can re-apply for another visa when the 4 years are up. There is currently no limit up to how many visas you are allowed to apply for.
So, if the prospect of being a temporary resident only, does not concern you, the investor retirement visa may be a viable option for you.
6) Have children in Australia
For parents who have children in Australia there are two ways of joining them: One way is very expensive, the other one takes forever.
Most people will choose the expensive option, simply because processing times of approximately 25 years are not a realistic option.
Apart from the high fees (approx. A$ 50000 per person) the most important requirement is to satisfy the 'balance of family' test. You can meet this test by proving that either half of your children live permanently in Australia or more of your children live permanently in Australia than in any other country.
7) Indirect ways such as Working Holiday Visa or Student visa
These are no permanent visas, but for many they are nevertheless the beginning of a journey leading to permanency. Holding a temporary visa with work rights may enable you to find an employer who sponsors you. Or you may find your other half and fall madly in love. Or you may decide you want to explore options in the skilled program.
Some temporary visas, such as the working holiday visa, are a very good option if you want to get to know the country before making a decision to move.
Be aware of your visa conditions. Expiry dates are sometimes confusing and you may not have full work rights. It can have severe consequences if you apply for a permanent visa and Immigration finds that you knowingly (or unknowingly!) breached your previous visas conditions.