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 homeaffairs.gov.au/.

They have pages and pages of information about the various visas, but it can be very difficult at times to understand it all. If you really do not want the headache of trying to work it all out, then I do have a shortcut for you to find out what your options might be. More on towards the bottom of this page.

Employer Sponsored Workers

Updated April 2017: 

The Australian government announced changes to some of these visas, to find out more please see my post called Australian Government Abolishes 457 Visas. These changes will affect the availability of visas in this category and also for those in the category below for professionals and other skilled migrants. Some of the changes also affect the possibility of turning a temporary visa into a permanent one.

For the pathways that do still work though, 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 might, under the right circumstances, also lead to a permanent 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

Updated April 2017:

Or the General Skilled Migration programme, as it is also known. This for those over 18 and under 45 years old 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). These skills lists also changed when the government announced their changes mentioned above, and they are now called Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

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

Business Innovation Streams

Updated November 2019:

The kinds of visas available to business people have changed a few times over the years since I originally wrote this article. Temporary visas are currently still available to business people, and I believe under the right circumstances these can lead to a longer stay.

There are several Business Innovation streams for these kinds of visas, but the eligibility criteria is quite tough. For more see homeaffairs/businessinnovation

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

Updated November 2019:

As with the business visas mentioned earlier, the criteria for retirement visas have also changed quite a lot over the years. Some pathways have now been closed to new applicants, but, as with all visas for Australia, the rules can change at any time.

For the latest information on retirement and/or investor visas, please visit homeaffairs/retirementvisapathway which covers all of the options, including Parent visas and Contributory Parent visas.

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 homeaffairs 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

As I have mentioned earlier here, there is an easy answer, a shortcut for those who do not want to work it all out for themselves. Get a Migration Agent. Make sure they are MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) registered. They know all this stuff inside and out.

I’m pleased to say I have a MARA agent who works with me on this website, and he has been helping people on my behalf since early 2014. 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, one of the world’s leading professional Resume experts.

The Resume Centre is Australia’s most popular Resume consultancy, specialising in professional Resume writing services and LinkedIn/Viadeo profile writing services.

You can even get a free resume review by simply uploading your current resume. Visit The Resume Centre for more.

The Resume Centre

Important: Please read before commenting…

And for those looking for professional assistance…

Visa Assessment Service
{ 1659 comments… add one }
  • Farruhbek March 9, 2022, 5:16 pm |

    How can I get a work visa to Australia .Please help me about this .I hope you will write me an answer.

    • BobinOz March 10, 2022, 6:47 pm |

      This page will help…All About Visas

      • Farruhbek March 16, 2022, 1:49 am |

        Can you please tell me how much it will cost to get a work visa and arrive in Australia

        • BobinOz March 18, 2022, 5:24 pm |

          That’s not a question I can answer, and I’ve already given you a link to my page with helpful information about getting a visa. If you look at this page about Visas there is a link to the Australian government’s website and from there you can search work visas and find the costs associated with each type of work visa.

          If you need someone to help you, then you need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent, they are the only people who can legally advise you on this. Good luck, Bob

  • Jaz October 30, 2019, 3:41 am |

    Hi Bob

    How recent is the above information?

    • BobinOz October 30, 2019, 8:23 pm |

      Have a read of the short paragraph underneath the picture of the sailing boat and the opera house above, full details are given there.

      The rules can change all the time, so it’s always best to check with the Australian government or a MARA registered migration agent to get the latest information.

  • Source Runesha Jonathan July 24, 2019, 7:39 pm |

    I am Rwandan, I want to go to Australia, but from what I read above, I am not allowed to go to Australia because my country is not mentioned above, is it true?

    • BobinOz July 26, 2019, 7:46 pm |

      If you are talking about the WHV, then yes, it may be true, but the rules do change from time to time. If you want to know for sure if you are eligible, then you really should speak with a MARA registered migration agent about your situation.

  • yohannes March 18, 2019, 2:17 am |

    how can i join her

  • Tia February 16, 2019, 4:53 pm |

    I’m trying to move to australia by the end of 2019 with my australian boyfriend. I’ll he 19 by then and dont have any specific work experience that may help with a skilled worker visa. I was wondering if I could get a WHV and apply for an abridged visa right after until I can get a permanent residency? I just really want to be able to work as soon as possible while still trying to get permanent residency and eventually citizenship. Thank you!

  • Bezawit fagbile February 5, 2019, 7:06 am |

    Hi im Bezawit i want come & work in Australia with my children for a better life & education for my children thanks if u can help me pls reply me on my email

  • Jennifer Harris January 25, 2019, 1:34 pm |

    Im frustrated. My husband and I want to retire there. I have read all the information available. My next is to contact your MARA guy. It looks like we cannot become permanent residents. The migration limit has been set and Aus is not accepting retirees until 2022.
    How do I even get there to visit?
    You’ve answered and given me the links i need, thank you.
    Just letting you know of my frustration.
    If i cant get to Aus. I will go to Israel. I live in the US.

    • BobinOz January 25, 2019, 6:43 pm |

      I can feel your frustration, I really can, and you are not the only one. I’ve spoken to my MARA agent about this recently, we’ve talked about a few cases, and as you say, for certain people over a certain age there simply is no pathway to permanent residency.

      That’s the way the rules are at this moment in time.

      By all means you can go through the Visa Assessment Service, but it may be a case of you just throwing $100 at him for him to confirm what you already know.

      But who knows, maybe he can advise you on the best way to get to visit Australia if nothing else, so perhaps it might be worth it just for that.

      Good luck, whatever happens, Bob

  • Surender Singh January 24, 2019, 4:04 pm |

    Hi is there any option of buying agriculture land in Australia to get PR and how much fund it will require it ? thanks

    • BobinOz January 25, 2019, 6:08 pm |

      I couldn’t tell you, you would need to speak to a MARA migration agent about that. If you Google the exact same question you asked me though, lots of stuff does come up and may well be worth reading.

  • Rohit November 27, 2018, 8:39 pm |

    I need Australia visa

  • masoud November 14, 2018, 9:34 pm |

    I’m a filmmaker and motion graphic designer.
    I live in Iran. I want to emigrate to Australia.

  • Mitch October 28, 2018, 2:20 pm |

    Hi, Bob

    I have a tattoo company globally with 15 studios in 4 countries. I’m in real big needs of getting some wrist here from my international shop

    0487691983 I’ll pay you well for any quick assistance. Thank you

  • Elijah L Glay October 20, 2018, 8:16 am |

    I want to study in Australia. How can I get a scholarship to go to Australia .

  • Waqas September 22, 2018, 6:10 pm |

    I’m a welder and have experience of 3 years I don’t have any trade certification as there is no trade certification in pakistan which is globally recognised.here most people in companies and private market they run their business by giving some practial training at the start and earn money.as you see welding is in my blood and I’m intrested to move to Australia and established small workshop.my question is welding certification is very expensive I cannot afford. Kindly refer a link of sponsorship who can take my education expenses and I will manage my living expenses and visa fee expense.kindly advise

  • SUMBA June 12, 2018, 5:44 pm |

    I will to apply for a visa how does it work?

    • BobinOz June 12, 2018, 8:38 pm |

      SUMBA, are you a friend of Bliss by any chance?

  • Bliss June 11, 2018, 9:18 am |

    I wish to apply for a visa how does it work?

  • Bliss June 11, 2018, 9:17 am |

    I will to apply for a visa how does it work?

  • neelam June 6, 2018, 9:34 pm |

    Hello i want to work permit in Canada or Australia plz guided me .
    i am Graduate

  • Lama May 30, 2018, 12:04 am |

    Hi my tow brothers are Syrian how can they come here with some help

  • Jimmy Brown May 9, 2018, 1:48 am |

    Hello, i am a Nigerian. How do i relocate to Australia with my wife ?

    • Nnamani chukwudi David December 18, 2018, 10:24 am |

      Hello I am a Nigeria I want to relocate to Australia with my family how will I go about it please help .

  • Jimmy Brown May 9, 2018, 1:46 am |

    I am a Nigerian and i am newly married. How can i relocate to Australia with my wife?

  • Himanshu Paliwal May 7, 2018, 6:19 am |

    I’m 23 years old B.com (H) graduate from India.
    What should I do to immigrate to Australia.

  • Kimia May 5, 2018, 3:43 am |

    Im a 20 years old girl from iran.im dentistry sudent. I want come to Australia and keep study my degree there. Do their university accept me and how? What should i do?
    I don’t know where to start

    • BobinOz May 8, 2018, 6:14 pm |

      Yes, it can be very complicated, I don’t understand it either so I can’t help. But if you Google “study dentistry in Australia” you will find a list of schools and universities that can help and hopefully they will have websites that can explain the acceptance criteria and the costs.

      Hopefully they can also guide you on how to get the necessary visa.

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