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How The Visa System Works

The Australian visa system can be quite hard to figure out, and can take some time to process. One of the best ways to secure permanent entry (other than through family) is via the Australian Skilled Migration Programme, which employs a points system. This points system is currently under review however and is due to change this year.

Under the Australian General Skilled Migration program, applicants can use their qualifications, work experience and language ability to satisfy Australian immigration requirements that they can live and work in Australia.

The points system works out your eligibility for an Australian skilled migration Visa, and to secure a visa you must tot up a certain number of points.

  • Skilled Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 175)
  • Skilled Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176)
  • Skilled Independent (Residence) visa (subclass 885)
  • Skilled Sponsored (Residence) visa (subclass 886)

Points are awarded according to your age, your English language ability, your education and work experience, an assessment of your skills, and your occupation. If your occupation is in demand and on the new SOL list, you could secure up to 60 points on the strength of this alone.

In late 2008 the government introduced a Critical Skills List (CSL) which targets specific skills shortages in Australia and matches them up with the right highly skilled migrants. If your occupation wss on the CSL and you met all the requirements your application was fast-tracked. However the CSL was phased out and replaced in July 2010 by the new Skilled Occupation List. All new applicants who want to emigrate to Australia as a skilled worker should first view the SOL to see if their occupation is on this list in order to give their visa application priority.

For more information on the points system the DIAC have produced a booklet that explains the system and how many points you get based on your circumstances. Click on the Australian immigration points test.

Once you have secured your visa, you will have to present this, and the following items, in order to secure entry into Australia:

  • a valid passport or other acceptable travel document
  • a completed and signed Incoming Passenger Card, including health and character declaration.

An essential tool in organising your visa is the Australia Immigration website, which can also offer you contacts for Migration Agents, who can help organise your visa for you.

Read the latest news on Australia immigration and Australia visas.

Got a question on Australia visas? Get the answer you need from our friendly community!

This page was last updated June 2010.

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