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I am currently on a 4 year Subclass 457 (temp employer sponsored) which expires in Aug 2012. I am exploring potential avenues to change to a permanent visa as I wish to reside in Australia and later gain citizenship. I am currently living in QLD. At present I have been exploring the following options (yet to contact immigration agent at present due to large number under investigation in my area and the man at immi could only refer me back to the website)

ENS (permanent)-I currently manage a sub-section of a small, but rapidly growing business in the health industry (job high on SOL), working around 70hrs/week. I do have the potential through the employer to change to a permanent however can someone advise me as to the length of time I must remain with the current employer (already 2.5yrs employment). I do not have intentions to go elsewhere or change at present however I would like the 'freedom', for use of a word, to have other options open to myself.

The other option is a GSM which would allow me more flexibility however from what I have been able to locate so far it seems as though I must be outside of Australia to apply? I counted my points scoring around 1mth ago and it was 120 (from Memory). However I do not have the ability to leave the country for the required time due to work commitments here.

I have also been with my partner for over 12mths, living together for roughly 6mths (under required 12mth min-however this shorter period was due to us both being on previous extended leases that could not be altered-though I’m sure immi won’t be too bothered with that, 12mths is 12mths). I believe we would have to go to a temporary first and later at the 2year stage (post temporary visa start date) be granted a permanent?

Basically I need a little guidance as to where to go next. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My last option is calling Julia........
 

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I doubt if Julia [ the snakey one is it!] will help too much, but it seems you should not have too much of a problem with either potential path you have.

With the ENS, the eligibility requirement re staying with an employer is on your part to have a letter of appointment or an employment contract and for the employer the nominated position is to be one deemed to be required for three years.
How that gets mentioned in the appointment letter or contract is between you and the employer and it may be sufficient to indicate that the position is a fulltime one within the organisation and it is seen to be permanent, the intent of the organisation is to be one of an ongoing operation for more than three years etc.
Just how binding it is legally is again up to the employer and yourself but there is no direct tie between the employer or yourself and Immi other than that the position offered is intended to be for more than three years.

An indepent skilled offshore visa can be applied for from within Australia and it is only for granting that you would need to take a quick trip abroad and will normally transpire by the good grace of Immi is that on a visa being imminently ready for granting they will notify you of such and for you to arrange an exit and advise them of that.
You take your flight to New Zealand, Bali, Fiji or wherever and on arrival or shortly thereafter you will likely find the visa has been granted.
Notifications have been that five business days should be allowed though some have posted on it being much quicker.
I would think that confirmation to the CO from the airport on departure and then having your passport scanned at an airline desk on arrival will show if the new visa has been granted.

And yes, you have a good handle on the partner visa timeframes.
 
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