You can apply directly to the state where you want to live, for state sponsorship. Many people choose to do this if they do not fulfill the criteria for a Skilled Independent Visa. However, choosing this route does mean that your visa application may not be finalised for up to three years, in line with the Department of Immigration and Citizenships (DIAC) priority processing guidelines.
The benefits however, of applying for state sponsorship is that each state has their own Skills in Demand List. So if you find that your occupation is not listed on the Australian Skilled Occupations in Demand List (SOL), you might find it on one of the state lists. Please note though that as from 8 February 2010 these State Skills Lists are under review and may well change. The old CSL has already been phased out to be replaced by the Skills Occupation List that favour highly-skilled occupations over general skilled ones. In the meantime you may need to contact the state you are interested in to find out if their skills list has been reviewed yet.
State Skills in Demand Lists
Northern Territory Skills in Demand List this is the list that the NT uses as the basis for sponsorship under the Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa and also for reference for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).
If you are applying for a Skilled Sponsored Visa you can receive Territory Nomination. If your occupation is not on the NT Skills in Demand List, you can look at the Northern Territory Baseline List of Occupations but nomination for an occupation on this list is only granted under exceptional circumstances.
However, as with all Australian visas, it isn’t all that simple. You also have to fit the state criteria. This may vary, but only slightly, so we’ve listed the general criteria for state sponsorship and provided links for individual states where you can obtain more information.
Before you apply for state sponsorship you must first ensure that you are able to apply for a skilled visa. See our skilled visa guide for more information.
If you are successful, you are able to sponsor relatives who may want to join you in Australia and you will be eligible for Medicare.
Once you are certain that you are eligible for a skilled visa, you also need to fulfill the following requirements:
- You must be under 45 years of age at the time of application.
- You must have an occupation on the DIAC’s Skilled Occupation List as well as the state’s own Skills in Demand list.
- You must have recent work experience in your occupation.
- If you are not resident of an English speaking country, then you need to have passed an English Language test called an IELTS.
- You must commit to live and work in the sponsored state for at least two years.
- You must have enough funds to finance the cost of settling into your chosen state.
You may wish to apply for a provisional visa if your occupation is not on the state Skills in Demand list.
The criteria for this visa is the same as the requirements for a permanent visa. You are able to live in Australia for up to three years and can apply for permanent residency after two years.
You will not be eligible for Medicare whilst you are living in Australia so would need to take out some form of private healthcare cover. Nor can you sponsor any relatives whilst your visa is provisional.
How do I apply?
Below are links to the individual states in Australia that will provide more information about applying for state sponsorship. Make sure that you read their guidelines carefully as some states will have different procedures. For example, in Western Australia, if your occupation is on the Skilled Occupations List but not on the state occupations list for WA, then you may still apply as an off-list nomination and the state will take other factors into consideration, such as a job offer in WA or other links to WA that include friends or family.
You can apply online but will need to provide original copies of paperwork such as:
- A passport.
- A Skills Assessment
- An up-to-date CV.
- A declaration of Financial Capacity
- IELTS Test Report Form (if applicable)
- A written offer of employment
There may be a non-refundable processing fee levied by the state for your application.
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
This visa enables regional Australian employers who are experiencing skills shortages, to fill those positions with overseas workers.
The positions must be skilled, full-time vacancies that will last at least two years.
The only way to obtain a RSMS is to approach Australian employers directly or by searching job vacancies.
How long will it take?
To obtain approval for state sponsorship could take from 30 days to 2 months depending on the state and the visa subclass you are applying for. However your visa processing with the DIAC for state sponsorship could take a lot longer. The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship have stated that state sponsored visas may now take up to three years to process. There is no way around this I’m afraid, the only way to get priority processing is to have an occupation on the DIAC’s Critical Skills List.
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