Australian Visa Information

Australian Visa Information

Visa Application Processing Times September 2009

If your nominated occupation is on the Critical Skills List (CSL) and you have applied or will apply for an onshore or offshore GSM visa before the end of 2009, it is estimated that your visa application will be finalised within 12 months from your lodgement date. If your nominated occupation is not on the Critical Skills List (CSL) and you have applied for an offshore GSM visa or intend to apply for an offshore GSM visa later in 2009, it is unlikely that your visa application will be finalised before the end of 2012.

Critical Skills List PDF Document at DIMIA

Australian Visa Intake to be cut

From a newspaper report dated: February 23, 2009

Australia will cut its annual immigration intake for the first time in eight years due to the slowing economy and weakening demand for labour, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said today.

Australia has been accepting immigrants in record numbers in recent years and set a target for 190,300 immigrants this year. It seems that this number will now be trimmed, with the details to be announced in May 2009. However, even if it was trimmed by 25%, the result would still be the same intake as the average intake over the last 4 years. Migration Program Outcomes and Planning Levels

  • 2004/05 120,060
  • 2005/06 142,930
  • 2006/07 148,200
  • 2007/08 158,630
  • 2008/09 190,300 proposed, but now maybe to be cut (details released in March show a cut of 18,500 to be made in the Skilled Migrants group. This appears to result in an expected total migration figure of 171,800 for 2008/09)

UPDATE 16th March 2009

The Government is introducing plans to cut the intake of “Skilled” migrant workers in 2008-09 from 133,500 down to 115,000 This will affect many people already in Australia as about half of the permanent visas granted are given to applicants already living and working in Australia, on other visas.


The official list of “Skilled Migrants” is shown as:

  • 2005/06 97,340
  • 2006/07 97,920
  • 2007/08 108,540
  • 2008/09 133,500 but now reduced to 115,000

The earlier list showing a total of 190,300 proposed migrants for 2008/09 included partners and children. The reduced number only includes the initial applicant.

Australian Visa Application

When applying for migration to Australia, you will need pass the “character test”.

This takes account of various aspects and includes a criminal conviction check.

It is important to understand that “spent convictions legislation” does not apply to decisions made under immigration law, therefore you must declare ALL convictions, no matter how old.

This is specified under section 6 of the Character Checks – Frequently Asked Questions Page.

In general you must be between 18 and 45 and have skills and experience in an occupation where Australia has a shortage of workers, to be able to get a visa to live and work in Australia.

Information Booklets for Migration

A series of booklets is available from the Department of Immigration, that are designed to help in making an application to migrate to Australia.

Each booklet contains the necessary information along with the relevant application forms.

  • Partner Migration – for migration by spouses, fiances and interdependent partners.booklets/books1
  • Child Migration – dependent children, orphan relatives or adopted children. booklets/books2
  • Parent Migration – aged parents and working-age parents. booklets/books3
  • Other Family Migration – aged dependent relative, remaining relative or carers. booklets/books4
  • Employer Sponsored Migration – Employer Nomination Scheme, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, Labour Agreements or Invest Australia Supported Skills Agreements. booklets/books5
  • General Skilled Migration – independent migration, family or state/territory sponsored migration. booklets/books6
  • Business Skills Entry – business owners, senior executives, those with an ownership interest in an established business in Australia, or investment-linked migration. booklets/books7
  • Special Migration – former resident, distinguished talent, or close ties with Australia. booklets/books8
  • Sponsoring a Temporary Overseas Employee – for Australian businesses needing to recruit staff from overseas for temporary entry to Australia for a period between three (3) months and four (4) years. booklets/books11
The Various Visas for Entry to Australia
General Skilled Migration Visa

There is a range of different General Skilled Migration visas available:

  • Three of these can be applied for, and granted, while you are in Australia
  • Five can be granted while you are outside Australia
  • One can be applied for, and granted, either in or outside Australia – conditions apply
  • Three are only available to New Zealand citizens in Australia

More details at:

Employer Sponsored Migration

There are 3 permanent employer sponsored visas:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 121/856)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 119/857)
  • Labour Agreements.

More details at:

Business Skills Entry

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.

They are available as both Provisional and Permanent, with full details at.

Some of the Visa options are:

Temporary Provisional Residency

  • Business Owner (Subclass 163) for people with a successful career of business ownership.
  • Senior Executive (Subclass 164) for senior executive employees of a major overseas business.
  • Investor (Subclass 165) for people with a successful business or investment career.

Permanent Residency

  • Business Talent (Subclass 132) for extremely high calibre business people who are owners or part owners in an overseas business. This visa provides permanent residency without the need for a provisional visa.
  • Business Owner or Senior Executive (Residence) (Subclass 892) for Business Owner or Senior Executive provisional visa holders who are applying for permanent residence.
  • Investor (Residence) (Subclass 893) for Investor provisional visa holders who are applying for permanent residence.
Family Migration

There are a number of Family Migration options for fiance’s, partners, children, parents and other family members of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens.

Visas subclass 309 and subclass 820 are provisional visas issued to people who are applying for permanent residence on ‘spouse’ grounds.
The provisional visa will lead to the grant of a permanent ‘spouse’ visa (subclass 100 or subclass 801) as long as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship decides that the person’s relationship is still genuine and ongoing’ 2 years after the person applied for the visa.

Family Migration Link

Retirement Visa

An Investor Retirement Visa (subclass 405 – Temporary) is a temporary entry visa only. It does not lead to permanent residence in Australia or to Australian citizenship.

If you are considering applying for an Investor Retirement visa, the principal applicant must be 55 years or older, have no dependants (other than a spouse), and be able to be self-supporting in Australia without cost to Australia’s social and welfare services systems.

The Investor Retirement visa does not provide any entitlement to coverage by Medicare (Australia’s national health cover) or to Australian social security benefits. Applicant will be required to hold private medical coverage for the duration of their visa.

If your application is approved, you will be given a visa that will allow multiple travel in and out of Australia initially for 4 years. Before your visa expires, you may apply to remain for further stay of 4 years, however, you will need to satisfy particular criteria for this further visa. There is no maximum period for which you can remain in Australia as the holder of consecutive Investor Retirement visas.

Investor retirement visa holders are subject to the 8104 ‘limited work rights’ condition and will be valid until the expiry of your current visa allowing you to work for up to 20 hours per week.

There are no concessions if you have any family or children in Australia.

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs – Retirement Visa Link

Occupation in Demand

The Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) lists those occupations and specialisations identified by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) as being in ongoing national shortage.

Doctors & Nurses

Information and visa options for Doctors and Nurses who want to work in Australia.

457 Temporary Business Visa (Long Stay)
475 Skilled Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa

This visa requires you to be sponsored by an eligible person or government.

You must live for two years and work for at least 12 months in a Specified Regional Area of Australia.

After that time you can then apply for Permanent Residency.

Skilled Independent (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 175)

A permanent visa for people with skills in demand in the Australian labour market.
Applicants are not sponsored and must pass a points test.

Skilled Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 176)

A permanent visa for people unable to meet the Skilled Independent pass mark.
Applicants must be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in Australia or nominated by a participating State or Territory government.
Applicants must pass a points test lower than that for the Skilled Independent visa.

Skilled Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 475)

A three (3) year provisional visa for people who can meet the lower pass mark for this visa.
Applicants must be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia or nominated by a participating state/territory government.

After living for two (2) years and working for at least one (1) year in a Specified Regional Area, applicants can apply for a permanent visa.

Skilled Recognised Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 476}

An 18 month temporary visa for graduates of recognised overseas educational institutions who have skills in demand in Australia.
There is no points test for this visa.

Student Visa

From 26 April 2008, people granted a Student Visa will automatically receive permission to work with their visa grant. Most student visa holders will no longer need to apply separately in Australia for permission to work.

Tourist Visas and Working Holiday Visas

Tourist Visa’s and Working Holiday Visa’s (for those aged 18-30) need to apply for various Visitor Visa’s, some of which are available electronically.

From 21 April 2008, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has implemented some minor changes to the ETA system. Most ETA applications will still be processed instantly, however a small number of cases may require some additional processing.

There is also a slight change being made from 26 April 2008 to the e676 eVisa form to contain additional questions on Health and Character.

Working Holiday visa (subclass 417)

For people from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom

Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)

For tertiary educated people from Chile, Thailand, Turkey and the USA to holiday and work in Australia.

Tourist Visa (Subclass 676)

This visa is for people who want to visit Australia for a holiday or recreation, visit family and/or friends, or study for up to three months. This visa may also be used for other short-term non-work purposes including study for less than three months.

This temporary visa is generally granted for a stay of 3 or 6 months.

You can apply for a stay up to 12 months but the period of stay granted will depend on the purpose of the visit and your personal circumstances.

ETA (Visitor) (Subclass 976)

An ETA (Visitor) subclass 976 is designed for people who are outside Australia and want to visit Australia for holidays, tourism, recreation, and informal studies or training.

Sponsored Family Visitor visa (subclass 679)

For people seeking to visit family in Australia. Formal sponsorship by an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required.

You can visit Australia once, usually to stay for a period of up to 3 or 6 months, but in certain circumstances a stay of 12 months may be granted.
While in Australia you can also study for up to three (3) months.

Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (Subclass 173)

This visa allows you and your accompanying partner and dependent family members to live as a temporary resident in Australia for two (2) years.

It will allow you to:

  • have access to Australia’s medical expenses and hospital care assistance scheme, Medicare
  • work in Australia

Costs at June 2009

  • 1st instalment $1,705
  • 2nd instalment $20,595


To convert from subclass 173 to subclass 143..

  • 1st instalment $230
  • 2nd instalment $13,730
Contributory Parent (Migrant) visa (subclass 143)

This visa allows you, your accompanying partner and dependent family members to live as permanent residents in Australia.

It will allow you to:

  • work and study in Australia,
  • receive subsidised healthcare through Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • access certain social security payments (subject to waiting periods)
  • be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship (subject to the residency eligibility criteria)
  • sponsor people for permanent residence (subject to waiting periods).

Costs June 2009:

  • 1st instalment $1,705
  • 2nd instalment $34,330

1st instalment of the Visa Application Charge is payable for the entire family unit in the application.

Once the Visa is approved, the 2nd instalment of the Visa Application Charge is payable for each person included in the application.

and… for after you have your Permanent Residency (PR), and your initial entry visa has expired, but before you get your Citizenship…

Resident Return Visa (RRV)

A (RRV) is valid for 3 months or 5 years (depending on circumstances).

It allows Australian permanent residents to travel to and from Australia as often as they wish within the validity of the visa, while maintaining their status as permanent residents. A 5 year RRV costs AUD$240 (July 2008) regardless of whether you apply within Australia or overseas.

How do I apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV)?

To be eligible for a Resident Return Visa (RRV), you must be:

  • a permanent resident holding a valid permanent visa,
  • a former permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not cancelled,
  • a former Australian citizen who has lost or renounced their Australian citizenship.

In addition to the above, to be eligible for a five year RRV:

  • you must be lawfully present in Australia for a total of at least 2 years in the 5 years immediately before lodging the application for the visa, or
  • you must have substantial and beneficial business, cultural, employment or personal ties to Australia and compelling reasons if you have been absent from Australia for more than 5 years, or
  • you must be a member of the family unit of a person who holds a valid RRV or who has applied for and met the criteria for an RRV.

If you do not meet these criteria, but have to leave Australia for compassionate and compelling reasons, you may be eligible for a 3 month RRV. If you are unable to meet the RRV requirements in your own right, but you are a member of the family unit of a person who holds an RRV, you may be granted an RRV with the same validity period as the family head’s RRV.

Immigration Links
    Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Home Page

Australian Passports – Passport Offices

Immigration and Advice Rights Centre – Australia

Migration Institute of Australia

Migration Review Tribunal

Migration Agents Registration Authority


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