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