Compared to other Western countries like the US, Australia has a very progressive immigration system, at least where workers are concerned. The country simply isn’t keen on skill shortages, so if you happen to be a skilled worker seeking greener pastures abroad, migrating to Oz could very well be the way to go.
The most popular work visa is the Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 489). It allows skilled workers to live and work in specific Australian regions for up to four years.
Who is Eligible?
There are two pathways to getting a Skilled Regional Visa, and they are:
You can get a letter of invitation for this visa if you:
Are no more than 50 years old;
Can speak English competently;
Were nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency OR sponsored by a relative in possession of this same visa or any of the following provisional visa subclasses: a provisional skilled-regional sponsored visa (subclasses 475 or 487), a provisional skilled-independent regional visa (subclass 495), or a provisional skilled-designated area sponsored provisional visa (subclass 496).
Were nominated for any of the occupations on the skilled occupations list;
Achieved the score specified in your letter of invitation based on the factors in the points test;
Do not have any outstanding debts to the Australian government.
Extended Stay Pathway. If you already possess a provisional visa subclass 475, 487, 495, or 496, you can apply for a skilled regional visa granting you an extended stay. However, you must never have held more than one of the aforementioned visas.
What Rights Does This Visa Give You?
The Skilled Regional Visa allows you and your family members to:
Travel in and out of Australia for as many times as you need or want, so long as your visa is still valid;
Stay in the country continuously for up to four years;
Work, study, and live in a specific regional area in Australia.
How Do I Apply?
If you wish to get a visa via the invited pathway, you need to do the following:
Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) online through here.
If you meet the criteria mentioned earlier in this article, you will receive an invitation. You will then have sixty (60) days to complete your online application. Note: You CANNOT change any of the information in your EOI once your application period begins.
Submit the required documents on the checklist. Use your ImmiAccount to upload them to reduce delays. Pro-tip: Given how some of the documents on this list take time to obtain, you may want to start collecting them before you file an EOI. If you are being sponsored by a relative, s/he too will need to submit documents for your application.
Pay the initial visa application cost via credit card. You can use this link to estimate how much your application would cost.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will then acknowledge receiving your application and documents. They will also give you an email address for future correspondence pertaining to your application.
Wait for the outcome, of which there are two:
If your visa is approved (hurrah!), you will be notified as to when it will take effect, the visa grant number, and conditions attached to it, if any.
If your application was rejected, you will be informed as to why, whether you are eligible to have the decision reviewed or not, and how much time you have to apply for the said review.
Applying for a visa via the extended pathway is pretty much the same, except that you need to apply for a Skilled Regional (Provisional) Renewal (subclass 489) visa when you file your EOI online and there will be fewer documents for you to submit, as shown here.
A Quick Note on Sponsorship
To be eligible as a sponsor, you need to be:
At least 18 years of age;
Currently living in a designated area in Australia;
An Australian citizen/permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
To be eligible for sponsorship, an applicant should be one of the following relations to the sponsor:
Child or stepchild;
Parent or step-parent;
Sibling or stepsibling;
Niece or nephew (adoptive ones also qualify);
Aunt or uncle (adoptive ones also qualify);
So, I’ve Got My Work Visa. Now What?
Where you go next depends on what you put in your EOI. Now, each state and territory in Australia has its own list of in-demand occupations that determine the sort of skilled workers they allow in, and you were probably made to choose between expressing an interest in one specific state or territory or being open to nominations from any of them.
Once you accept a nomination from a specific state or territory, you may have to:
Live in the aforementioned area for at least two (2) years;
Provide the said state or territory with your address before and after you arrive in Australia;
Complete surveys and any other forms that they might present you with;
Meet any other requirements.
Still, congratulations! You (and your family, if they’re coming with you) are in for an exciting four years in the land of opportunity that is Australia. Here’s to you making the most of it, yeah?
To our valued clients and readers, please note that the information on our visa articles are gleaned from the websites of all proper authorities (e.g., border.gov.au). However, this information IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR UPDATES AT ANY TIME WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE, and well after the time of writing. Please exercise due diligence by double-checking the information with the links provided in the articles.
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