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Different Visas

Australian visa and Australian immigration options

Information on Visas for Australia

Australia Immigration - There are several Australian Immigration and Australian Visa options for potential Australian migrants. Read About the main  Australian Visa and Australian immigration options.

Potential migrants to Australia are selected based on skills, health, financial resources, age, English language ability and family and business contacts in Australia. Race, gender and culture are not considered at all.

Migrants today fall into two main categories for a place in the Migration Program: half the +-80,000 places each year go to skilled migrants as Australia seeks those migrants who have skills and qualifications to improve the Australian society and economy.

If you are looking to emigrate to another country than Australia, then you can look at this visa emigration website.

Visa classes

  • Permanent entry visa
  • Work visa
  • Temporary entry visas
  • Visitor visa
  • Business visas

PERMANENT ENTRY VISA

Australia accepts people from overseas for permanent settlement in our country under two main migration streams:

  • The Migration Program
  • The Humanitarian Program

The Migration Program caters for all potential applicants wishing to migrate to Australia.

The Migration Program

Potential migrants to Australia are selected based on skills, health, financial resources, age, English language ability and family and business contacts in Australia. Race, gender and culture are not considered at all.

Migrants today fall into two main categories for a place in the Migration Program: half the 70,000 places each year go to skilled migrants as Australia seeks those migrants who have skills and qualifications to improve the Australian society and economy. These categories are:

The other half of the Migration Program places go to family reunion and resettlement of former residents and citizens, and for the families of New Zealanders. These categories are:

Skilled Migrants

There are five categories of migrants in the Skilled Scheme.

1. Independent Skilled Migrants.

  • For qualified persons in an approved occupation in Australia
  • Must be under 45 to apply

2. Skilled Migrant - Australian Linked.

  • Applicants who have close family members in Australia able to sponsor them.
  • Applicants are assessed on age, qualifications, English & other language abilities.

3. Distinguished Talent.

  • This is a small category for especially talented people, particularly in the arts or in sports.

4. Employer Nominated Migrant

  • Employers may nominate skilled people from overseas to fill an Australian job vacancy when no one local has suitable skills for the job.
  • Age, qualifications and English abilities are assessed.

5. Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

  • If your Australian employer, who wants to nominate you, is in a remote area outside metropolitan districts, he or she can sponsor you through this scheme.

Business Migrants

  • Business Migrants come under the Skilled Migrants Stream, but there are so many special provisions for them that Australian Visas puts them in separate categories.
  • Business Skills Migration
  • This information is about migrating to Australia as a business person.

The Business Skills visa class of Australia's migration program encourages successful business people to settle permanently in Australia and develop new or existing businesses.

Business owners and investors can apply for a visa under the Business Skills category

Under the two-stage arrangements, business migrants are granted a Business Skills (Provisional) visa for four years and, after establishing the requisite level of business or maintaining their eligible investment, are eligible to make an application for a Business Skills (Residence) visa.

A direct permanent residence category will still be available for high-calibre business migrants sponsored by State/Territory governments. This is known as the Business Talent visa.

The Business Skills program is divided into four categories:

  • business owner: for owners or part-owners of a business;
  • investment: for investors/business people willing to invest in Australia;
  • business talent: for high-calibre business people who have sponsorship from a State/Territory government.

Factors affecting Business Skills migrationThe Australian Government implemented a two-stage visa arrangement for business people

  • Most people interested in coming to Australia under the Business Skills category will need to apply for a Business Skills (Provisional) visa.
  • After successfully establishing the requisite level of business activity or maintaining a designated investment in Australia, holders of a Business Skills (Provisional) visa will be eligible to lodge an application for permanent residence in Australia.
  • State/Territory government sponsorship will be available at both the provisional and permanent residence stages, with significantly lower requirements when sponsored.
  • A direct permanent residence category will still be available for high calibre business migrants sponsored by state/territory governments. This will be known as the Business Talent (Migrant) visa.
  • Through the State/Territory sponsorship arrangements, the new system will provide for improved linkages with State and Territory government business services to provide the help that many business migrants need to get into business.

Family Migrants

  • 32,000 migrants will be accepted in the Family Stream section.
  • Family migrants must have a responsible relative in Australian who will sponsor them. Family members not able to support themselves (aged relatives or dependent children) apply under this class. Independent working age family members should apply under the skilled Migrant - Australian linked class.
  • As a Family migrant you will not be tested on your skill level or your English Language ability, but you will be assessed against Australia's health and character requirements, as are all migrants.

You may apply as a Family Migrant in one of the following categories:

1. Partner

Child

  • Dependent Child - your child who is financially dependent on you. This can apply to children over 18 if they are still fully dependent on their Australian sponsor.
  • Adoption
  • Orphan Relative  

Parent

  • Parent applications are given a low priority. Limited places are available.
  • Contributory Parent visas

Other Family

  • Aged Dependent Relative - single aged relatives
  • Remaining Relative - last remaining family relative
  • Carer - person traveling to Australia to care for a special need relative.
  • The following categories of migrant can apply under this section.
  • Former citizens or residents of Australia

Family of New Zealand citizens - for dependents of New Zealand citizens who have settled or intend to settle permanently in Australia.

Work visa  

Work Visas are only available in certain circumstances. The options are: 

Working holiday maker visa - The main intention of your trip should be recreation, but you will be allowed to do part-time and temporary work to supplement your income. This is available to citizens of the following countries: Canada, Japan, Ireland, Korea, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 26. Note: This visa is not available to South African citizens. 

Temporary residence visa with work rights - this visa is for applicants wishing to work in Australia for up to 4 years. Employer sponsorship is the main requirement. Your employer must arrange this from Australia. Only when the sponsorship is approved can you apply for a temporary residence visa. 


 Temporary entry visas

Temporary Residence Categories Australia's temporary residence program is designed to allow overseas people to come to Australia for specific purposes that result in some benefit to Australia. The focus is on the areas of skilled employment, social/cultural and international relations.

Visa subclass

Purpose

Main conditions relating to work and sponsorship

411 Exchange

Temporary stay of skilled people (other than executives, managers or specialists) wanting to come to Australia to broaden their work experience and skills under reciprocal arrangements which allow Australian residents similar opportunities overseas. Includes people seeking entry under certain bilateral exchange agreements.

A letter of invitation is required from the Organisation offering the position. You may not change employer or occupation without prior permission.*

415 Foreign Government Agency

Temporary stay of foreign government officials to conduct official business on behalf of their government where the officials diplomatic or official status in Australia.

For stays of up to 3 months, or cases involving directors of the British Council, Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institute or Italian Cultural Institute, a statement of support is required from the Foreign Ministry. In all other cases, a sponsorship is required unless entering under the provisions of a bilateral agreement. You may not change employer or occupation without prior permission.*

416 Special Program

Temporary stay of people under approved programs to broaden their work experience and skills; generally youth exchanges.

A letter of support is required from the supporting Organisation. You may not change employer or occupation without prior permission.*

417 Working Holiday

Temporary stay of young people wanting to gain experience of other countries by holidaying in Australia with the opportunity to work to supplement their funds

The WHM visa gives you 12 months to travel to Australia from the date the visa is granted. You are allowed to stay in Australia for 12 months from the date you first enter Australia. You may work full-time, part-time or casually for 3 months at a time with any one employer. You are not permitted to extend your employment beyond 3 months with any employer through use of business subsidiaries and/or subcontractors or employment agencies.

418 Educational

Temporary stay of staff for educational and research institutions or organisations to fill academic, teaching and research positions unable to be filled from within the Australian labour market.

A letter of appointment is required for stays of up to 3 months. Sponsorship is required for stays of more than 3 months. You may not change employer or occupation without prior permission.*

419 Visiting Academic

Temporary stay of people whose presence in Australia will contribute to the sharing of research knowledge.

A letter of invitation is required from the institution involved. You may not receive a salary from the host institution in Australia.

420 Entertainment

Temporary stay of people involved in a wide range of social and cultural events and activities; (including models and mannequins) taking into account the need to protect the employment of Australians in the industry.

Sponsorship is required regardless of the period of stay unless you are coming in under a bilateral agreement. You may not change employer or change times or places of engagements in Australia without prior permission.*

421 Sport

Temporary stay of amateur or professional sports people to engage in competition with Australian residents and to improve general sporting standards in Australia through high caliber competition and training.

Sponsorship and/or a letter of invitation may be required depending on the activity and the length of stay in Australia. You may not change employer without competition or training program prior permission.*

423 Media & Film Staff

Temporary stay of correspondents and other professional media staff members posted to Australia by overseas news organisations, and photographers and film & television crews making documentaries or commercials for exclusive overseas consumption.

A letter of support is required for stays of up to 3 months, or if the Organisation is not represented in Australia, or if entering under a bilateral agreement. Sponsorship is required in all other cases for stays of more than 3 months. You may not change employer without prior permission.*

424 Public Lecturer

Temporary stay of professional lecturers or subject experts invited to make public presentations.

A letter of invitation is required for stays of up to 3 months or if entering under a bi-lateral agreement. Sponsorship is required in all other cases for stays of more than 3 months. You may not change employer without prior permission.*

426 Domestic Worker (Diplomatic/Consular)

Temporary stay of domestic staff for diplomats and consular staff posted to Australia on advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT).

A letter of support is required from DFAT. You may not change employer or remain in after the permanent departure of your employer.

427 Domestic Worker (Overseas Executive)

Temporary stay for domestic staff of certain holders of visas in class 457 long-stay temporary business entry. A visa in this class may only be granted where it can be shown that the entry of domestic staff is necessary for the proper discharge of representational duties.

Sponsorship is required if the employer is sponsored. If the employer is not sponsored, an acceptable employment contract must be supplied. You may not change employer or remain in Australia after the permanent departure of your employer

428 Religious Worker

Temporary stay of religious workers, including ministers, priests and spiritual leaders to serve the spiritual needs of people of their faith in Australia.

Sponsorship and a written undertaking is required regardless of the period of stay. You may not change employer or occupation without prior permission.*

442 Occupational Trainee

Temporary stay of persons undergoing training in Australia compatible with their employment history

A nomination must be provided regardless of the period of stay unless the training is being provided by the Commonwealth. You may not work in Australia other than in relation to your course of training.*

* Permission in writing can only be obtained from the nearest State, Territory or Regional office of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in Australia.

Students

Australia's student visa program provides for the entry of overseas students who wish to undertake full-time study in registered courses in Australia.

Work rights for students have been made available so that students can supplement their income, rather than it being their sole source of finance.

Work rights, while their Australian institution is in session, are limited to 20 hours per week. There are no limits while the institution is not in session.

Business people

If you need to visit Australia to conduct business - a conference, site inspection, negotiations or perhaps an exploratory visit - there are a number of visa options. For example:

The Business (Short Stay) visa allows the bona fide business person unlimited travel to Australia. Visits can be up to three months and you can choose the period of time the visa is valid up to the life of your passport or five years, which ever is longer. 

Visitor visas  

If you are the citizen of any country other than Australia and New Zealand, you will need a visa (or in some cases an Electronic Travel Authority) to visit Australia. 

On a standard visitor visa you can stay up to 3 months from the date of entry. The visa is for multiple travel and can be used to enter Australia for 1 year from the date of issue. You are not permitted to work on this visa. You can also apply for a long stay visa. This is usually granted for stays up to 6 months. 

Applications are generally processed within 24 hours. 

If you are eligible to enter Australia on an ETA if you meet the following conditions:

  • you hold a passportapproved for ETA
  • you visit to Australia is for -
  • tourism,
  • visiting relatives,
  • business meetings,
  • a convention or conference, or
  • a short term project or event requiring a high level of skill;
  • you will not work in Australia if you hold a tourist ETA;
  • you will not stay in Australia for more than three months;
  • you are in good health and have no criminal convictions.

Types of ETA

There are 3 types of ETA:

  • if you are travelling for tourism or to visit friends or relatives, and wish to stay for up to three months on each visit within a twelve month period, you should apply for the Visitor/Tourist ETA (976). There is no Australian Government charge for this ETA;
  • if you are travelling on a business visit, and wish to stay for up to three months on each visit during the life of your passport, you should apply for the Long Validity Business ETA (956). There is a fee of AUS$60.00 for this ETA. Payment is by credit card only;
  • if you are travelling on business and intend just one visit to Australia, you may apply for the Short Validity Business ETA (977). This ETA is free of Australian Government charges and entitles the holder to one visit to be made within 12 months and permits a stay of 3 months from date of arrival.

All ETA holders are provided with a copy of the leaflet Electronic Travel Authority System ETAS - Information for ETA Holders at the time that an ETA is issued. The leaflet will provide ETA holders with concise information about ETA arrangements (including conditions and validity and that a visa label or stamp is not required).

ETA Countries

ETA arrangements are currently available to '32 eligible passport holders'. They apply to these passport holders:

Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Brunei
Canadian
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Japanese
Liechtenstein
Luxemburg
Malaysia
Malta
Monaco
Netherlands
Norway
Singapore
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan*
UK - British Citizen
UK - British National (Overseas)**
USA
Vatican City

 

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