Australia is an attractive destination for migrants. It has miles and miles of gorgeous beaches, wild outback, warm weather, and friendly people. And historically, Australia has been very open and welcoming to immigrants.
However, in the past year or so, Australia has begun to revise their immigration policies, especially in relation to skilled migrant visas.
There are fewer professional skills that can qualify you, and the popular 457 visa has been abolished and replaced with two stricter types of work visa. Australia’s retirement visa program has also stopped accepting new applicants.
Employer Sponsored Workers
The most secure way to get started on the road to permanent residency is to find an employer who is willing to offer you a job. Once employed, you need to work for that same company for two straight years and stay out of any kind of legal trouble. Fulfill those requirements and you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Professionals and Skilled Migrants
The General Skilled Migration program is designed for people between 18-45 years old with needed professional skills and proficiency in speaking and reading English. The skills lists, now called Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), are in flux. It’s very important to go right to the source to determine whether your skills qualify for this program.
Business Innovation and Investment
This is the visa to pursue if you plan to start a business in Australia or invest in an existing Australian company. The requirements are steep – you need at least AUD $1.5 million to invest during your time there AND you will need to be sponsored by an eligible government organization. If approved, the length of this visa is four years and three months, which should be enough time to transition to a permanent visa track if you end up loving life there.
Spouse or Prospective Spouse
One of the most fool-proof ways of achieving permanent residency in Australia is to marry a citizen or permanent resident. The application can take between six and 15 months to process, and grants you a two year provisional permanent resident visa. After two years, you’ll need to show that you and your spouse are still together.
If you’d like to get your foot in the door by undertaking a course of study in Australia, a student visa is a great option. Applicants need to be at least six years old and already accepted into an educational program that is listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions. If granted, the student visa is good for the length of your program, or up to five years.