With the promise of a prosperous and comfortable life, the allure of Australia as one's next frontier is very attractive. The process of immigration to Australia has been highly modified and is based on merit and capacity. The process also takes time and your utmost cooperation and patience is needed to be able to receive the coveted visa Down Under.
The Process of Immigration to Australia
In order to enter Australia, one needs to be issued a visa after due examination of one's past, purpose and profession by Australian immigration authorities.
The Types of Australian Visas
The following are the visa types to be able to enter Australia:
I. Work Visas
a) Temporary Business (Long Stay) - Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457) - This is the often used means for overseas workers to be allowed entry into Australia. This visa has no special arrangements for employers and can either be local Australian businesses or overseas businesses.
There is a non-refundable application fee for the visa. Once issued, the visa is valid for four years. It also allows eligible secondary applicants to enter Australia to work or study. After issuance of this kind of visa, the individual can travel in and out of Australia at will.
b) Temporary Business (Long Stay) - Service Sellers - This visa is issued for the purpose of allowing representatives of a foreign company to stay in Australia between six (6) and twelve (12) months. The purpose of such entry must be for the purpose of negotiating or entry into contractual agreements for the supply of services in Australia.
The visa is issued to Company representatives of overseas suppliers of services and exclusively services. A fee is paid when applying for services. Aside from selling or negotiating a sale, the visa recipient may bring eligible secondary applicants and these secondary applicants can work or study. After issuance, there is no limit to the number of times the individual enters or leaves Australia.
c) Subclass 422 - Medical Practitioner (Temporary) visa - This kind of visa allows foreign medical practitioners to work in Australia for a sponsor at a period of three months to four years. The visa is issued to overseas trained duly licensed doctors and overseas students who have completed their medical degree in Australia.
There is a nominal fee to be paid for the processing of the application of this kind of visa. There are additional costs though that need be paid, which includes medical examinations, document translations into English and issuance of penal certificates for residency above twelve months.
Once issued, the visa allows the individual to work in Australia for the duration of the visa. You can also bring eligible family members into Australia where they can work and study. After issuance, there is no limit for entry and exit to Australia for both primary and secondary visa recipients.
d) Labour Agreements- In this type of work visa application, these are formal arrangements to recruit overseas skilled workers. Temporary and permanent visas can be issued under this system and are effective for two to three years.
To be allowed under this program, the Labor Agreement needs to be not one of the listed of approved occupations for the Temporary Business (Long Stay) Subclass 457 visa or the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. There must be a genuine skills shortage listed in the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) to be given due course. Another requirement is that the business recruits the labor for an unrelated to business or for meat companies.
Unlike the other occupational visas, there is no charge in this kind of application. The only charges for both temporary or permanent visas is a non-refundable processing fee for each application lodged. The visa allows the employment of a number of overseas workers on a temporary or permanent basis. One of the privileges for a temporary visa is that it can be used for four years and bring any secondary applicants into Australia. After issuance, there is no limit as to entry to or exit from Australia. For permanent visas, the visa recipient can include their dependent family members and be able to live and work and study in Australia. There is also eligibility for subsidized healthcare from Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). During the waiting periods, the visa recipient can also access social security and be eligible for Australian citizenship. They can also sponsor people for permanent residence.
II. Family Visas
For family visa applications, the following are the immigration to Australia options available.
a) Parent Visas- This visa includes both parent and contributory parent categories. This kind of visa has a lower processing priority than the other kinds of visa applications. There is a quota set each year for the issuance of these kinds of visas and the applications are assessed in the order of lodgement or filing. The application would be provided a queue date and placed in the relevant visa subclass.
b) Permanent Migrant - In this application, the ever changing landscape for immigration to Australia. Due to the complicated process, there has been a proliferation of migration consultants as the Australian government continues to make changes in the process and application. Thus it is best to check on the current legislation to be able to comply with its requirements.
In family migration, a relative is sponsored by an Australian citizen or a permanent resident for entry into Australia. An application is filed and a fee paid to be able to immigrate to Australia permanently. Since the cost of the application is quite costly, so do ensure you have a high probability of acceptance.
The applicant undergoes health and character investigations before the grant of the visa. The documents submitted must either be the originals or certified copies when requested. All applications need to be duly certified by a legal professional. After due examination of submitted documentation, you and your family members would be invited for an interview with the Australian immigration authorities. If you pass the interview, you would receive your immigrant visa and you need to leave for Australia within six months of its issuance. Should you fail to do so, you would need to go through the process again.
The application for permanent residence is to be sponsored by a relative and is a settled Australian resident. This means that the sponsor has been gainfully employed continuously for two years. The sponsor needs to assist you financially and provide accommodations for the first two years in Australia.
c) Returning Resident Visa - Current or former Australian permanent residents may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
Five Year Resident Return visa (subclass 155) - This is for current or former Australian permanent residents, or former Australian citizens to travel overseas and return as permanent residents. An application fee is required for this kind of application.
Former Resident visa (subclass 151) - For former Australian permanent residents, and persons who served in the Australian Armed Forces before 1981, to return to Australia permanently.
This visa allows resettlement of former Australian permanent residents and persons who served in the Australian Armed Forces before 1981. This visa is for individuals who spend nine of the first eighteen years in Australia or upon completion of three months of service in the Australian Armed Forces before 1981.
Your partner and dependent family members may be included in your application if they meet certain requirements. There will be a non-refundable cost for the processing of this application. Upon grant of this visa, you and your family become eligible for permanent residency. You and your family can work and study Down Under and be eligible for subsidized health care and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Also, you can receive social security payments and sponsor others for immigration to Australia.
III. Tourist Visas
For those seeking fun and recreation from the land Down Under, the following are the visa options for your visa options to Australia.
a) ETA (Visitor) (subclass 976)
An electronically stored authority for short-term visits to Australia of up to 3 months. Available to passport holders from a number of countries and regions, who are outside Australia.
b) eVisitors (subclass 651)
An electronically stored authority for visits to Australia for tourism or business purposes for up to three (3) months. Available to passport holders from the European Union and a number of other European countries, who are outside Australia.
c) Tourist visa (subclass 676)
A temporary visa allowing a stay in Australia of up to three (3) or six (6) or 12 months. Applicants can apply from both outside and in Australia. Some tourists are eligible to lodge an online application for an e676 Tourist visa.
d) Sponsored Family Visitor visa (subclass 679)
For people seeking to visit family in Australia for a stay period of up to 12 months. Formal sponsorship by an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required.
IV. Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday programs encourage cultural exchange and closer ties between arrangement countries by allowing young people to have an extended holiday supplemented by short-term employment.
a) Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
For people from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom. This specialized visa is for citizens of the aforementioned countries.
b) Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)
Information for applicants from Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA on holiday and work visas in Australia. This provides the grant of privileges for the citizens of the aforementioned countries.
These kinds of visas are for retirees above fifty five years of age who choose to spend their retirement years by immigration to Australia.
a) Retirement Visa (Subclass 410)
This is only allowed for individuals who already hold visas and want to amend their current visa or their current retirement visa have ceased their validity without the grant of a substansive visa.
b) Investor Retirement Visa (Subclass 405)
A temporary visa for people aged 55 years or older who are able to make a significant long term financial investment in Australia. This visa is not a pathway to a permanent visa.
VI. Medical Treatment Visas
These are visas issued for entry into Australia for medical treatment.
a) Medical Treatment Short Stay Visa (Subclass 675)
For people to travel to Australia for medical treatment or medical consultations for a period of up to three months. There is a fee for this application.
b) Medical Treatment Long Stay Visa (Subclass 685)
For people to travel to Australia for medical treatment or medical consultations for a period of three to twelve months.
VI. Transit through Australia
This is for entries into Australia for seventy two hours or less. If the stopover is for longer than the prescribed period, the individual will not be eligible for a transit visa but for another type of visa.
a) Transit without visa arrangements
Non-Australian citizens from certain countries are eligible to transit through Australia without a visa.
b) Transit visa (subclass 771)
If you do not qualify for transit without a visa, you will need to apply for a Transit visa which is free of charge.
VII. Event Organizer Visa
This kind of visa is for the following instances when organizing an international event, conference or meeting in Australia. The individual applicant must have been invited to speak, or perform, or compete, or attend an international event. The following are the types of visas issued.
a) International Event Coordinator Network (IECN) Service
The IECN provides free advice and guidance on visa requirements to international event organizers and participants such as the following:
- academic conferences and seminars
- agricultural and economic forums
- business forums and meetings
- cultural events
- dental and medical conventions
- IT exhibitions
- sporting tournaments
- training courses of less than three (3) months
- assists in identifying the most appropriate visa
- explains visa requirements and processing time frames
- notifies the department's overseas offices of:
> invited or registered international visitors
- provides assistance to resolve issues involved in the visa application process
- provides bid support letters.
Event organisers can contact the IECN to ensure streamlined visa arrangements for your participants.
c) Event Participants
Event participants can contact the IECN to obtain information about which visa is the most appropriate for the event.
VIII. Student Visas
The visa options for students are outlined below. Visa options for students as to working, family members, extensions, changing of courses and other requirements need to be learned by the prospective students. The Student Visa Assessment Levels are provided and determines eligibility for student visa immigration to Australia.
a) Student Guardians
Parents or relatives can apply for a visa to stay in Australia as the guardian of a student who is studying in Australia.
b) Sponsored Training Visas
For people who want to come to Australia through a professional development program or to undertake workplace based training.
c) Education Providers
Australian schools, colleges and universities can find information about their obligations to international students when offering them a place in a course.
d) Education Agents
Education agents can find information on how to lodge visa applications for international students who want to study in Australia.
IX. Refugee and Humanitarian Visas
An aspect of immigration that is part of Australia's contribution to the improvement of the plight of people is the Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Program. There are two components to this program, namely:
a) The onshore (asylum or protection) component offers internal refugees that fall within the United Nations Refugees Convention definition. The offshore Humanitarian Program provides support for these internal refugees.
b) The offshore (resettlement) component offers resettlement for people outside Australia who are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Conclusion of Immigration to Australia
The previous discussion outlined the visas for immigration to Australia. So long as the documentation is complete and validated, your pass to greener pastures to Australia will be issued to you and your family in no time.