Tropical beaches, lush rainforests, untouched nature, wide open spaces, and adventure sports that are sure to get your heart thumping — Australia has it all, and then some! It’s no wonder then that the Land Down Under is such a tourist hotspot!
The country has also played home to over 7.5 million immigrants since 1945 when the Australian immigration system first took root. And this number is only set to increase with the easy availability of Australian visas.
If you, too, are interested in experiencing this vast continent in all its glory, here’s what you should know about Australian visa eligibility.
What is an Australian Visa
An Australian visa is an official permit that allows you to travel, live, and in some cases, work, in the country for a specified period of time.
Individuals must apply for a visa to be approved to visit the country. However, there are exceptions for citizens of New Zealand who get a visa on arrival (Special Category Visa) to stay, work, study, or visit the country.
Types of Australian Visas
Australia has over 120 types of visas available for those who meet their character requirements. We’ve included the major Australian visa categories below. Select one that suits your needs and you’re halfway through the process already!
Temporary or short-term visas allow you to visit the country for training, social or international relations, religious work, and humanitarian purposes. Here are some visa schemes you can explore under this category:
- Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400): Perfect if you have highly specialized skills that are found lacking in Australia. It is based on contractual obligation, is valid only for up to 6 months, and can cost AU$ 325.
- Temporary Activity (Training) Visa (Subclass 407): Allows sponsored, nominated, and invited professionals to enhance their skills in a professional training program. Valid for up to 2 years and costs starting from AU$ 325.
- Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408): You must be supported or sponsored for this one! It is only for participating in events that the Australian government has sponsored. It is valid for up to 4 years, depending on the relevant stream, and can cost AU$ 325.
- Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482): Suitably skilled professionals can help the government address labor issues with this visa, which lasts 2 to 4 years and costs AU$ 1,330 to 2,770. The only drawback is that you cannot work for another employer until yours has a newly approved nomination.
Need to enter Australia to conduct business? There’s a visa available for that! The Business Visas.
Australia offers a variety of visas to business owners who can provide an expression of interest (EOI) in SkillSelect and are invited or nominated by a Territory or State Government Agency.
- Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (Subclass 188): If you want to own or manage a business in the country, you can get this visa for around AU$ 4,240 to 6,270. It is valid for up to 5 years, giving you plenty of time to breathe life into your entrepreneurial goals.
- Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (Subclass 888): Holders of subclass 188, 444, or 457 who can show they have ongoing business involvement or hold an investment of AU$ 5-15 million for over four years can apply for this visa. Costs start from AU$ 3,025, and the length of stay is permanent.
- Business Owner visa (Subclass 890) or State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (Subclass 892): If you own or operate a business in Australia, permanent citizenship is possible with a qualifying visa. Costs for these visas start at AU$ 2,570.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to provide an English language proficiency certificate, financial documents, and other related documents to be considered eligible.
Visas for Skilled Individuals
If you’re a highly-qualified individual who wants to live and work in Australia legally and if you qualify for the General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program, you could qualify for the visa for skilled individuals. You require a minimum of 65 points to be eligible for these visas; if you’re unsure of your ranking, you can use this calculator to find out.
If you satisfy the requirements, this visa category will allow you to take up jobs that the locals couldn’t or wouldn’t. This visa will thus help you stimulate the country’s economic growth while establishing a career in Australia’s favourable job market.
Here are some categories of visas you can access:
- Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189): Invited individuals from New Zealand, Hong Kong, and British nationals with the required professional trade skills and under 45 can apply for this visa. It allows you to stay permanently in the country, with costs starting from AU$ 4,240.
- Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190): If you have an occupation on the skilled list, have suitable skills for the job, and satisfy the points test, you could live permanently in Australia. The cost for this type of visa starts at AU$ 4,240.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491): This visa is for qualified individuals who’re either nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible relative and who satisfy the points test. It is valid for 5 years and costs around AU$ 4,240 per applicant.
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 494): If you’re qualified in an occupation that is experiencing a labor shortage in Australia, you can apply for this visa — but only if sponsored by regional employers. It is valid for up to 5 years, with costs for the visa starting from AU$ 4,240.
- Skilled Regional visa (Subclass 887): This visa is for those who previously held a visa in specific areas of Australia for at least 2 years. If eligible, they can stay in the country permanently, paying AU$ 435 for visa costs.
Visas For Family
If you have any family in Australia, you may be able to apply for a visa for family through them.
Family members and carers who can provide proof of relationship to permanent residents or citizens of Australia or New Zealand can apply for a visa. However, they need to be sponsored by a responsible relative in Australia. Here are the visa categories you can qualify for.
- Adoption visa (Subclass 102): If you’ve adopted non-Australian children, they could join you in Australia with this visa, which costs AU$2,790. Validity is lifelong, and access to Medicare is granted.
- Remaining Relative visa (Subclass 115) and Subclass 835: If you don’t have any family members except those who stay in Australia, you can join them by applying for this visa, whose costs start from AU$ 6,625.
- Carer visa (Subclass 116) and Subclass 836: If you’re a carer for an Australian resident with a long-term illness, you can live in the country permanently with this visa. Although you need to prove they have no other access to care available. This can put you down around AU$ 3,945.
- Orphan Relative visa (Subclass 117) and Subclass 837: Children whose parents have passed away, cannot be found, or cannot care for them can join their relatives in Australia by paying visa fees starting from AU$1,710.
- Dependent Child visa (Subclass 445): If your parent’s permanent partner visa application is under process, you could stay in Australia temporarily by getting this visa, which costs around AU$ 2,790.
- New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa (Subclass 461): Family members of New Zealand citizens can live in the country for up to five years with this visa, even if they are not New Zealand citizens themself. Costs for this visa application start from AU$ 385.
- Aged Dependent Relative visa (Subclass 838): If you financially rely on a relative living in Australia, apply for this visa by paying AU$ 6,625.
Want to take up a full-time educational course in Australia?
If you have the required English language test scores, can explain your statement of purpose, meet the health and character requirements, and have good insurance coverage, you can apply for one of these student visas in the country.
- Temporary Graduate visa (Subclass 485): For international students qualified in a CRICOS-registered course. It is valid for 18 months to 5 years, depending on what visa you apply for, and you can expect to shell out AU$ 680 to 1,730.
- Student visa (Subclass 500): For international students enrolling in an Australian study course. Valid for up to 5 years, with costs starting from AU$ 650.
While you have to prove financial capacity to be eligible for the Student Visa, Australia allows you to work 20 hours per week to supplement your income during your stay.
Parent Visas are issued to parents of settled Australian citizens, eligible New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents. Available visas in this category include Parent Visa (Subclass 103), Subclass 143, Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804), and Subclass 864, allowing parents (aged or otherwise) to move to the country permanently to be with their children.
Costs for this visa start from AU$ 6,625 to AU$ 47,955, depending on the scheme.