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Australian Immigration Services

Australia is a safe and modern country, with cities regularly ranked among the best in the world to live and study in. The cities offer vibrancy, cultural diversity, and a generally fast-paced lifestyle. Outside the cities, you can experience a more laid-back environment with a diverse range of outdoor activities and natural landscapes to enjoy.

General Skilled Migration Visas

This visa category – inclusive of all its subclasses – is specifically for people who possess any one or more skills listed in the Skilled Occupation List ( The new MLTSSL and STSOL lists awarded as from 1 July 2017).

There are certain basic eligibility criteria that apply to ALL General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas.

To apply for a GSM visa you must:

  • Be less than 45 years old at the time of application; and
  • Possess a qualification that is equivalent to the Australian bachelor’s degree, diploma or trade qualification; and
  • Nominate an occupation from the approved Skilled Occupation List (MLTSSL, STSOL) ; and
  • Undergo a skills assessment (suitable for your occupation) by an assessing authority before you apply for the visa; and
  • Submit acceptable scores of IELTS, OET, Pearson (Academic), or Cambridge (CAE) tests as evidence of your competence in English Language.

 General Skilled Migration Visa Categories

There are several subclasses of visas in the GSM program.  These visas are divided into two major categories, (i.e. permanent and provisional) and may be applied when the applicant(s) is/are either onshore (i.e. inside Australia) or offshore.

Skilled Visas

This visa allows you to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.

You must have:

  • a relevant occupation.
  • a suitable skills assessment for the occupation with the relevant assessing authority.
  • an English test score report (English speaking countries are excluded).
  • meet the points test pass mark of 65 points.

The occupation you have nominated must be included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190)

This visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian state or territory. This visa allows you to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.

You must have:

  • a relevant occupation.
  • a suitable skills assessment for the occupation with the relevant assessing authority.
  • an English test score report (English speaking countries are excluded).
  • Have at least competent English. This is when you achieve a score of at least 6.0 points in each of the 4 components of IELTS {Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening} that has been undertaken in the three years immediately before lodging the visa application. There are other tests and other eligibility factors to meet the requirements of Competent English.
  • be nominated by a state or territory government agency.
  • meet the points test pass mark of 65 points.
  • You have an obligation to stay in the state or territory that nominated you for at least two years.
  • You need an invitation by the Minister by sending you a letter of Invitation to apply for the visa.
  • The nomination by an Australian state or territory provides an additional 5 points in the points test.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)

This visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory to live in a Regional or low population growth area, or sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area in Australia.

You must have:

  • a relevant occupation.
  • a suitable skills assessment for the occupation with the relevant assessing authority.
  • an English test score report (English speaking countries are excluded).
  • be nominated by a state or territory government agency or be sponsored by an eligible relative (Invited pathway).
  • be nominated by a state or territory government agency.
  • Meet the points test pass mark of 65 points.

There are three pathways to the visa:

the Extended stay pathway

(for applicants who currently hold one of the following provisional visas 475, 487, 495 or 496)

the Invited pathway

(for applicants who do not meet the criteria for the extended pathway, and either

– nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency

or

– sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia)

the Subsequent entry pathway

(for applicants who are a member of the family unit of someone who already holds a Skilled Regional visa 489 or a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa)

The visa is valid for up to four years, and a visa holder must live and work in a specified regional area before he becomes eligible to apply for a permanent visa.

If you have been nominated by a state or territory government agency, this is a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area.

If you are being sponsored by a relative, this is a designated area of Australia.

Your relative must be living in a designated area in Australia:

  • South Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • Victoria
  • Tasmania
  • Western Australia
  • Queensland (everywhere except Brisbane)
  • New South Wales (everywhere except Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong)

This visa might lead to the permanent Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887). This visa allows you to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.

The nomination or sponsorship provides an additional 10 points in the points test.

Skilled Regional (Subclass 887)

This visa is a permanent visa with no points based requirements. The subclass 887 visa grants full permanent residence to its holder.

You must:

  • hold a subclass 489, 495, 496, 475 or 487, or a Bridging visa A (BVA) or B after applying for a subclass 489, 495 or 487 visa.
  • have lived in a specified regional area of Australia for at least two years or
    have worked full time in a specified regional area for at least one year.

Work visa

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (482)

The Australian Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

This stream is designed for Australian businesses to fill temporary (short term) skill gaps and visa applicants must have an employer willing to sponsor them.

The TSS is split into two streams:

Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) – a 2-year visa with the option to re-apply for another two years, but with no pathway to Permanent Residence (PR).

Medium-Term Skilled Occupations List (MLTSSL) – a 4-year visa that can be renewed as long as the occupation is still on the list, and with a PR pathway after three years.

You must be sponsored by a current Australian employer, and they must nominate you for a specific job.

You will need to demonstrate adequate English language skills – IELTS 5 or 6 depending on the TSS stream.

Business and Investment Visas:

If you are interested in establishing a new business or own and manage existing business in Australia, there are different Australian Business visas that might be suitable for you. The present available Australian Business visas are as follows:

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)
  • Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132)
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 188)

In order to be able to get this visa, you will need to be nominated by a state or territory or Australian Agency. You will also need to then be invited to apply by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

This visa includes the following 4 streams:

Business Innovation Stream: This stream is designed for people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

Investor Stream: This is for people who want to make a designated investment in Australia for at least AUD1.5million in an Australian state or territory and maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Again, applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

Significant Investor Stream: This is for people who are willing to invest at least AUD5million into complying significant investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

Premium Investor Stream: for people who are willing to invest at least AUD15million into complying premium investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

This is the provisional visa and holding this is the first stage of becoming eligible to qualify for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (Subclass 888).

Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132)

This visa is a permanent residence visa. It allows you to establish a new or develop an existing business in Australia. There are two streams for this visa that applicants can apply for:

Significant Business History Stream and

Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream

You will need to be nominated by a state or territory government agency and invited to apply by the minister. You must also have either:

  • Net business and personal assets of at least of AUD1.5 million and an annual business turnover of at least AUD3 million if you intend to apply for the visa in the Significant Business History Stream.
  • Obtained at least AUD1 million in venture capital funding to start the commercialization and development of a high-value business idea in Australia if you intend to apply for the visa in the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream.

Australian Student Visa

Anyone enrolling as an international student on a course lasting four months or more in Australia will need a student visa. Here are the key things to know.

Please note that in order to apply for an Australian student visa, you must have an unconditional offer of a place at a university, have accepted that place in writing and paid the required tuition fee deposit. It is, therefore, one of the last parts of the process to organize.

What type of visa do I need?

For all programmes of study, you will be applying for a subclass 500 student visa.

When should I apply?

You can only make an application for an Australian student visa after you have received a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your chosen university. In order to get a CoE, you must have been given a formal offer from the university, have accepted it in writing and paid the required deposit toward your tuition fees.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit on applying for a student visa for Australia.

Can I still get a student visa if I’ve already had a working holiday visa for Australia?

Yes, your working holiday visa status has no impact on a student visa application – the two types of visa are completely separate.

How much does it cost?

The visa application fee is currently AU$575, which needs to be paid when you submit your application. Please note that visa application charges are reviewed annually on July 1. If you have dependents joining you on your visa there will be additional fees payable when you make your application.

How long does the visa last?

Your student visa will last for the duration of your study programme (including holiday periods) and will allow you some time to remain in Australia at the end of your course. This time can range from one to three months, depending on the length of your course and the month in which it ends. If you are studying a course that is longer than ten months and which ends in November or December, for example, your student visa would usually end on March 15 of the following year.

How long does the visa take to get?

Visa processing times vary but you should allow up to four weeks. Where possible we recommend applying for your visa as soon as you have received your CoE.

When can I travel to Australia?

You can arrive in Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts.

Can I work while on this visa?

On a student visa, you will be able to work up to 40 hours a fortnight during the term and full time in the holidays. The visa will automatically be issued with ‘permission to work’ although you are not allowed to begin working until your course has started. Work that is a formal, registered part of your course is not included in the limit. If you do unpaid or voluntary work you must still apply for permission to work, and this type of work is included within the 40-hour limit.

Can I take my partner with me on my student visa?

Yes, it is possible for your partner to accompany you to Australia as a dependent on your student visa. You will need to prove you have been in a genuine and exclusive relationship with them for at least 12 months. This usually requires you to have been living together for at least 12 months.

Do I need to provide any health documents or checks?

Currently, citizens of the UK or Ireland are not required to have a health assessment except in certain circumstances – for example, if you are going to Australia to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse, or if you are likely to work or train in an Australian childcare center during your course. You may also be required to do a health assessment if you have spent more than three consecutive months in another country in the last five years.

Can I apply for another visa when my course ends?

In some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course. Under current visa rules if you have studied for two years towards a university bachelor, masters or research degree you will be entitled to apply for a Post Study Work Visa. This visa will allow you to remain in Australia for two to four years (dependent on the level of study).

Your obligations

  • You must remain enrolled in a course registered on CRICOS (cricos.deewr.gov.au).
  • You must maintain satisfactory attendance on your course, as required by your education provider.
  • You must make satisfactory academic progress for each study period.
  • You must advise your education provider of your home address within seven days of arriving in Australia. If you change address during your stay, you must tell your education provider within seven days.
  • You must maintain suitable health insurance throughout your time in Australia. This can be done by obtaining OSHC.

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