6 Ways to Emigrate to Australia

Gone are the days when you just jumped on a boat and turned up.

It's Different Now

It’s Different Now

Now things are a little more tricky. In this very straight forward and quick guide, I’ll run through 6 ways to emigrate to Australia. Please be aware this post was written March 2009 and although I do try to keep it up-to-date, it is always wise to doublecheck over at border.gov.au/.

Employer Sponsored Workers

If you can find an employer who is prepared to offer you a job, this can be the quickest way to get your first foot into Australia. It can easily lead to a permanent residency. Work for the same employer for two years, keep your nose clean and apply for residency.

This works for approved skills only and provided the employer can satisfy the government that no Australian worker is available for the job. For highly skilled jobs it is possible to come straight in on a permanent visa, dependant upon available schemes.

Professionals and other Skilled Migrants

Or the General Skilled Migration programme, as it is also known. This for those over 18 and under 45 years old (Update: Now 50 I believe) who speak good English. The jobs lists are a bit of a minefield but there seems to be the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), Critical Skills List (CSL), Employer Nominated Skilled Occupation List (ENSOL) and the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).

Confused? Yep. Me too. The easy answer is at the end of this article, so don’t panic.

Business People

Again, I believe this option is only available to those over 18 and under 45 years of age (Update: Now 50 I believe). Known as a Business Skills Visa, you will need to establish or invest in an Australian business.

Provided your business successfully complies with the requirements, for example, by employing the necessary number of Australians, this too can lead to permanent residency. I believe buying a franchise can work.

Doctors and Nurses

There is a shortage of both doctors and nurses and as such there are many opportunities for those with qualifications to move to Australia on a permanent basis. I have more information which doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals might find useful. Please visit my page about nursing in Australia.

Investor Retirement

Finally, if you are over 55 and without dependants, excluding your spouse, and can prove you are self funded, it is possible to retire in Australia. You will not get a permanent residency but you do get a four year visa. You can re-apply each time it is up for renewal and as long as you still satisfy the requirements, it is likely to be renewed.

Update: I think the conditions that apply these visas has now changed, check out border/retirement visas for more up-to-date information.

Working Holiday Visa (WHV)

The Working Holiday Visa is clearly not permanent. But for those aged between 18 and 30 it’s a fantastic way of visiting the country to see if you like it. You are allowed to work for the entire period if you wish, although you can only work for a maximum of six months with any one employer.

However, if you have a skill which is in demand here, then coming over for 12 months and demonstrating your skills to a number of employers may well lead to a Employer Sponsored job offer. This could be one of the fastest ways to get here in small steps. Holiday Visa – Sponsored Visa – Permanent Visa.

The WHV and the similar Work and Holiday visas are only available to passport holders from qualifying countries, at the time of writing (see the Australian Government website for updates) they are…

WHV: Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Work and holiday: Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.


This is not intended as an exhaustive list or even an authoritative guide. A couple of pages to give you an overview is never going to tell the whole story. And that’s all this is. An overview. The rules change all the time and they are extremely complex.

For example, the government announced a reduction in the nation’s skilled migration intake at one point. The building and manufacturing trades were the ones hit. The idea was that companies would have to find bricklayers, plumbers, welders and carpenters domestically to combat the downturn in the building trade. But even so, employers who can’t find workers locally can still go abroad for them.

If you want to see how complex it all gets, head over to Border and take a look around. You can see all the latest job lists and see how the points system works. There is a pretty good search box top right that usually goes to what you have asked for.

Getting Professional Assistance

And I mentioned an easy answer to all the complications earlier. Get a Migration Agent. Make sure they are MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) registered. They know all this stuff inside and out.

I now have such an agent working with me on this website, I’ve known him since late 2011. He is very good at what he does and can give you a professional assessment based on the exhaustive information he will ask you to provide.

Check out my Visa Assessment Service.

I’ll talk about migration agents next week. If you want to read about them now, go to Moving to Australia Part 3

For a full chronological list and brief description of all the posts in this series about how I moved to Australia, please visit my page How to Move to Australia.

Don’t want the expense of a MARA Agent yet? Then please read my page about Getting a Visa for more help.

Please note: I am not able to answer individual questions about getting a visa.

Finding a Sponsorship:

Many of you in the comments below and in personal emails to myself have provided me with details of your occupations, and have asked how you can find work and sponsorship in Australia. Please read my page Getting a Job Sponsorships in Australia and Finding Work.

Your Resume or CV:

If you are looking to secure a job in Australia, whether you are applying from here or abroad, you need your application to stand out amongst the others. The Resume Centre is a company founded by James Innes which is now gone on to be one of the world’s leading resume consultancies. James is considered one of the world’s leading careers experts and is the author of five bestselling books on the subject.

Offering some of the most competitively priced packages for resumes I’ve seen online, backed up by their 100% satisfaction guarantee, I highly recommend The Resume Centre. Click on the banner below for more information and get a free resume review…

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Important: Please read before commenting…

And for those looking for professional assistance…

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{ 1567 comments… add one }
  • Rance A. Nethken March 19, 2017, 1:40 am | Link

    Hi Bob: I am retired USAF, and Federal Service, or about 35 years of total service. I want to move to Australia, but there issues I do not understand. I serviced the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap numerous times flying special missions. I became quite enamored with Alice Springs and now that I am fully retired I was wanting to apply for permanent residency.
    The issue is the Investment Program that is confusing. All I want is to be able to acquire entry, establish permanency and become a lawful citizen eventually! I’m educated, have experiences in aerospace industries in the US as well as law enforcement, but at my age I would prefer to just enjoy life. I am self-sustained, single and believe it would be a wonderful place to live! My resume is quite extensive! What advice to you suggest. I currently live in Payson, Arizona USA.
    Thank you!

  • Andre Taylor March 8, 2017, 1:05 am | Link

    I want to see if it is possible for me to move to Australia and what the implications are for my application- I’m a qualified electrician and my wife is a qualified teacher and our kids are very good at sport. I believe we will add value to the country. I don’t know where to begin.

  • K. Ontora February 22, 2017, 5:40 am | Link

    The Investor Retirement is no longer supported.

    • BobinOz February 27, 2017, 8:30 pm | Link

      Yes, I heard that as well, that’s why I added the update along with that link so people can get the up-to-date information. I didn’t want to remove it though, just in case they bring it back.

      • K. Ontora March 7, 2017, 2:47 am | Link

        If you adda note to your main article, what would be great.

        • BobinOz March 7, 2017, 8:25 pm | Link

          The update is there, it was before you added your first comment, not sure why you can’t see it?

  • Arimaha prisca February 18, 2017, 9:58 pm | Link

    My name is prisca arimaha am writing frm Nigeria , pls what steps do I need to take if I want to migrate to Australia

  • shahbaz Ahmed February 4, 2017, 3:43 pm | Link

    Hi Sir,
    Good Day
    I am from Pakistan and currently working in UAE as a Accountant. I complet the Master degree in Business Administration in Pakistan.
    I got 3 months visit visa of Australia in UAE. Now i want to get the long stay in Australia during visit visa then want to get the PR.
    Is it possible to get the long stay during visiHi Sir,
    Good Day
    I am from Pakistan and currently working in UAE as a Accountant. I complet the Master degree in Business Administration in Pakistan.
    I got 3 months visit visa of Australia in UAE. Now i want to get the long stay in Australia during visit visa then want to get the PR. t visa and then for PR ?
    What step i will take for stay ?
    please reply me as soon as possible

  • Glyn smalley February 3, 2017, 3:21 pm | Link

    I got a girlfriend in the Philippines i want to marry her how do i get her here sooner what visa would she aply for

  • Aram January 29, 2017, 12:03 pm | Link

    Hi my name is aram odisho living in Canada , I want to emigrate with my family to Australian.
    We ara five persons.Joseph Ramsen and Simon, my wife she’s hair dressers and I am warking as logistics transportation. (Delivery)
    I also Wark as aluminum doors and windows for housing and buildings.
    Aram ODISHO

  • Talal January 23, 2017, 3:01 am | Link

    I am Syrian and look forward to immigrate to Australia , I have 15 years experience in auto spare parts and heavy equipment. I wan to find a sponsorship. Is it possible and how?

    • Parveen January 24, 2017, 9:56 pm | Link

      Hlo m parveen from india…i want to go to australia for PR.how can its possible???i do my study m.com…..pls give me way to get australia visa..thanku

  • Joe January 13, 2017, 7:14 pm | Link

    Apologies if this has been answered many times but I haven’t been able to find the answer despite a fair bit of googling.
    My question is do you still need points if you are emigrating on an employer sponsored visa?

    • Mark January 13, 2017, 8:09 pm | Link

      I was told if you do it this way you get to skip the points score you need other things like the employer needs to convince the Australian government your needed and your talents cannot be found homegrown.

  • Laura January 10, 2017, 9:40 pm | Link

    Hello, I’m a 17 years old girl from Spain and I’m looking for ways to go and do year 12 in Australia. I would want to also get an australian high school diploma so I can study in university in the country as well. What type of visa would be best?

    • Umer January 19, 2017, 7:45 am | Link

      Hello Laura,
      If you want study in Australia, the best and easiest way getting Australian visa, apply as student. Get admission in any institute of Australia.
      The major things, fulfil all the immigration requirements.

  • Rod January 5, 2017, 4:09 pm | Link

    Just wanted to mention there’s a 7th way. That is to be married to an Aussie citizen and apply for a partner visa.

    • BobinOz January 5, 2017, 11:08 pm | Link

      Very true. That is most definitely another way Rod, and there are loads more. From what I have heard, there are something like 130 different types of visa which will allow you to come to Australia. I couldn’t possibly list them all, so I just went for six of (possibly) the most common.

      It’s a complex business, that’s why it’s often best to speak to a MARA registered migration agent. Cheers, Bob

      • Jim Erwin March 23, 2017, 3:12 am | Link

        Those MARA agents

        I assume they come at a cost

        I need someone to pleaSe look at our current situation deemed a bit of an expert , and give me and my wife advise

        • Mark March 23, 2017, 2:39 pm | Link

          Yes you assume correct but they are good at negotiating the minefield that is visa’s and mess folks get in Some look at’s are free depends on your particular situation.

  • Ali Reza December 24, 2016, 6:56 pm | Link

    I want to do my best to become one of the billioners of Australia , not only I help my self for better development even be a useful person for the country I live in !

  • Jonathon December 21, 2016, 6:38 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    How are you doing? I’m from America and I plan to move to Australia to be with my girlfriend and work there as well. I’m going to college, working towards a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice and would love to work in law enforcement or as high as the governmental branch of Australia. What would be the best way to move there and what visa would be best for me. I plan on obtaining permanent residency in Australia. Thank you so much.

  • navneet prasad December 14, 2016, 10:41 am | Link

    hi I’m from fiji n Wana work in Australia as I’ve been to Sydney n stayed for 3 week’s

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