How to get an Australian VISA Part One: the Skilled workers VISA
Before you can emigrate to Australia you will need to get a visa, which all foreign nationals must obtain before they are allowed to set foot in the country. There are many different types of visa available and you will have to decide which one is the best for you. Do you only want to visit the land down under or do you intend to make a permanent move? Depending on what you decide you will have to apply for the relevant visa.
As with most countries the rules and regulations over visas change on a regular basis so it is a good idea to check out the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website at http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/. This guide will focus on one of the most popular visa options chosen by British expats to gain residency in the country, which is getting a sponsored work permit.
Skilled Worker VISA
From the 1st of July 2012 the Australian government cut the red tape for the formally complicated 457 visas enabling the fast tracking for skilled expats to get residency under the employer-sponsored visa programme. Australia has been struggling to fill the critical skill shortage that has been a burden on the nation’s continuing economic prosperity.
For a list of in-demand skills take a look at the skilled occupation list at http://jobguideaustralia.com/Contents/jobs_skilled.asp
As well as the changes already mentioned, a new points based system was introduced for certain classes of skilled migration visas. The new system does away with points for specific occupations for skilled migrants from certain categories and instead awards points for a broader range of skills and attributes. All applicants must still nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and have their skills assessed in their nominated occupation.
Type of Skilled VISAs
Confusingly there are several different types of skilled worker visas if you’re living outside of Australia at the time of application. Be aware that the different types require or offer different options, so make sure you are applying for the most appropriate one for your situation.
Before applying you must:
- Be under 50 years of age at the time of applying
- Must be competent in English
- Meet the skill points score of 65
- Provide evidence of skilled employment or that your job is on the skilled occupation list.
- Not have a criminal record
- Pass a medical examination
Skilled –Independent Migrant VISA
This visa offers permanent residency for people with the skills in demand. Applicants are not sponsored and must pass a points test. If you can obtain this visa you will be eligible to live, work and study in Australia on a permanent basis and can receive subsidised healthcare and benefits. You will also become eligible to apply for Australian citizenship and will be able to sponsor others for permanent residency in the country.
Skilled- Sponsored Migrant VISA
This visa is the one that most UK expats will be aiming to get as it is the easiest method and also offers permanent residency for people with the skills in demand. Applicants must be sponsored by an eligible relative living in the country or nominated by a participating state or employer. You will also be eligible to all of the perks that an independent migrant visa offers as well.
Skilled- Regional Sponsored Provisional VISA
This three-year visa is for people outside of Australia who are unable to meet the criteria for a Skilled Independent Visa and can be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia or nominated by a participating state or territory government.
After living in Australia for two years and having worked for at least one year in a Specified Regional Area, applicants can apply for a permanent visa. Applicants must then pass a test. This provisional visa allows the applicant to stay in Australia for up to three years while working, and accompanying secondary applicants to work and study, but only in Specified Regional Areas of Australia. It also provides a pathway to permanent residence. Applicants will not qualify for Australian social security payments.
Despite the new rules regarding the visa application process the cost of application fees for the 457 visa has seen a sharp increase. In fact the cost has increased by 15% from $305 to $350. The application fees for the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visas have also increased by 5%. The fee for an onshore ENS or RSMS visa increased from $2,960 to $3,105 and the fee for an offshore ENS or RSMS was increased from $1,995 to $2,095. The ENS nomination fee of $520 has remained the same.
Length of wait
The time it takes for your visa to be processed can vary greatly from case to case and depends on your personal circumstances, which visa subclass you applied for and the quality of your supporting documentation. Typically you would expect to wait between 6 and 12 months before your application is processed. You could contact a visa specialist that will help you complete your application and will ensure that you have the right information provided with it.