There are many different pathways for obtaining a visa to migrate to Australia. Every person is different and it clearly depends on your situation which visa is right for you.
The most commonly used pathways are:
The General Skilled Migration Program is designed for professionals and other skilled migrants who are not sponsored by an employer and who have skills in particular occupations required in Australia.
In general, if you migrate to Australia on a skilled visa, you become a permanent resident straight away. However if you work in a specified regional area, a provisional 3 year visa may apply. After living in the regional area for two years and working there for at least one year as a temporary resident you can apply for permanent residence.
This pathway is designed for skilled people to be employed in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis through sponsorship by an employer.
Similarly, it is designed for Australian and overseas employers, lawfully operating a business in Australia, to sponsor and employ skilled workers with recognised qualifications and skills and/or experience in certain occupations.
If you migrate to Australia on an employer sponsored visa, you can apply for a permanent visa straight away, if you meet the set requirements. However, most people start with a temporary employer sponsored (457) visa. This visa allows you to stay and work in Australia for 4 years to build experience in your job. After 2 of these 4 years, you can be eligible for a permanent employer sponsored visa.
If you are the partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen, your can be sponsored by your partner to migrate to Australia.
Your and your partner must either:
- Intend to get married (fiancés);
- Be married (de jure) partners;
- Be de facto partners (including those in a same sex relationship).
In general, if you migrate to Australia on a spouse visa, you become a temporary resident for two years first. After these two years, if your relationship is still genuine and ongoing, you can apply to become a permanent resident.
If you wish to remain in Australia as a student, there are many different visas options to choose from. Whether you are eligible for a certain student visa depends on the country of which you hold a passport, and on the main course of study you wish to take in Australia.
In general, if you migrate to Australia on a student visa, you become a temporary resident.
When you have completed an eligible qualification as a result of 2 years study in Australia, but do not meet the requirements for a skilled visa, you may apply for a Graduate Visa. This allows you a further 18 months in Australia, in which period you can increase your work experience and/or find an employer to sponsor you. This could then provide a pathway to permanent residence.
If you are a business person, you can apply for a visa to conduct short business visits, to establish or manage a new or existing business, or to invest in Australia.
In general, if you migrate to Australia using the business pathway, you start on a temporary (provisional) business visa. After you have fulfilled your visa and business requirements in Australia you may apply for a permanent visa.