Coming to Australia – finding the right visa and navigating the pathways
Although Australia’s immigration laws are complex, there are many visas providing eligible applicants an opportunity to live, study, and/or work in Australia. Many visas provide pathways to permanent residency and allow the visa holder to bring eligible family members.
Understanding different visa categories and working with an immigration professional can help identify the most appropriate visa type and implement strategies towards achieving your immigration goals.
Choosing the Right Visa
Essentially, visas are grouped into categories or classes that share common factors and have specific eligibility criteria applicable to each subclass. All visas have conditions attached which must not be breached by a visa holder. An immigration lawyer can assist in determining your eligibility for a visa and explain the relevant conditions.
Information provided by a potential visa applicant is cross-referenced with the criteria required for various classes to narrow down options and identify the most suitable pathway. Often, a number of pathways are explored before determining the most appropriate.
If the criteria for a desired visa type cannot immediately be met, a strategy may be implemented so the applicant can meet the criteria in the future. In the meantime, it may be possible to apply for a different visa type or a bridging visa with the objective of applying for the required visa once the eligibility criteria can be met.
Popular Visa Types
Like all countries, the Australian economy needs a mix of workers across all sectors. When there is a skills shortage within the Australian population, the federal government expands the number of visas available to overseas workers who have the desired skills or education. In addition to short-term working visas, individuals who have in-demand skills are more likely to be granted permanent residency. A prospective migrant may be eligible to apply for permanent residency if they are qualified for employment in one of the in-demand occupations.
One of Australia’s most important export industries is education. All sectors of the government work together to encourage suitable overseas students to travel to Australia to study an approved course. A student can obtain a visa to study a course at an Australian high school, university, technical college or other professional training course.
The student visa is a temporary visa that allows a student to live and study in Australia for the duration of their course of education. In addition, prospective students who are under 18, or otherwise need care and support, can have a relative apply to travel and stay with them as a guardian. This visa also allows the student to work in Australia (although international students need to demonstrate that they will arrive with sufficient funds to meet their daily needs for the duration of their course of study).
Business Innovation and Investment Visas
These visas provide opportunities for experienced business operators, entrepreneurs or investors with significant assets to establish and operate a business or manage investment activity in Australia. These visas are very complex and only those invited by a state or territory government, after the successful submission of an expression of interest, may apply.
Business innovation visas may be appropriate for those with good business skills wishing to operate an existing business or establish a new business in Australia. Applicants should have sound business experience, adequate financial resources and assets and the business must be considered to be of economic benefit by the nominating state or territory.
Investor visas require visa holders to invest substantial amounts in complying Australian investments for a minimum of four years. The terms and types of investments are very specific, and applicants must have a genuine intention to reside in the state or territory in which the nominating agency is located.
Partner visas allow married or de facto partners of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to travel to and live in Australia. Successful applicants are initially granted a temporary visa and, provided there is a continuing long-standing relationship (and other criteria are met) the grant of a permanent visa follows, usually after two years of the initial application. Applicants for partner visas must be sponsored and meet health and character requirements.
For partners intending on marrying, a prospective marriage visa may be granted. This is a temporary visa remaining valid for up to nine months. Once granted the applicant should enter Australia and marry within that time. After marriage, the applicant may apply for a partner visa.
Working with an Immigration Professional
Immigration lawyers use knowledge of the legal system and their understanding of immigration processes and policies to find the most appropriate visa type suited to their clients’ skills, qualifications, and personal circumstances.
The Australian immigration system is constantly changing with numerous visa types and various eligibility criteria to work through when lodging an application.
Immigration matters are complex, and it is important to have a good relationship with an experienced professional who will assess your circumstances and provide advice and guidance to find a workable pathway towards your immigration goals.
If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on (02) 9299 5815 or email [email protected].