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The prospect of obtaining an Australian visa continues to attract migrants from all over the world, drawn by the lifestyle, weather and economic opportunities.

Far away from Europe and the US, but in close proximity to the emerging markets of Asia, Australia's economy has fared well recently. Demand from those looking to work in Australia has been met with demand for migrants to help the economy continue to grow and to help overcome the shortages that the local labour force can't meet. As a result, a well developed system to help migrants obtain an Australian visa has evolved.

australian-immigration-statistics-infographicAustralia Immigration Infographic by kind permission of McCrindle Research

Australia 's Migration Programme offers solutions at both an economic and social level. In essence, the programme has two components:

The Migration component this consists of the different streams such as the skill stream, family stream and the special eligibility migrants

The Humanitarian component as the name implies, Australia meets some of its global humanitarian responsibilities by offering entry to refugees and others in humanitarian need

The number of places available in the Migration Programme for 2013–14 is 190,000, which remains the same as the 2012-13 Migration Programme.

The makeup of the current Programme has been modestly changed by moving 700 places from the skill stream to the family stream.

In summary, of the 190,000 places, the breakdown is as follows:

Family stream - 60,885 for family migrants sponsored by family members already in Australia

Skill stream - 128,550 places including employer sponsored migrants, skilled independent migrants and business migrants

Special eligibility - 565 places for former residents who have maintained close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia.


N.B. 2014-15 Migration Programme – the programme for the coming year is yet to be set. The planning level for this programme is set at 190,000 places and the Humanitarian Programme is set at 13,750 places.

What influences the distribution of visa categories?

A number of factors influence the distribution of visa categories and places within the programme. They include:

i) The number of applications made in categories in high demand such as partner, child and sponsored skilled categories

ii) The number of applicants who take up places in the state/territory and regional nominated skilled categories

iii) The extent of national skill shortages and the ability to attract migrants to fill these vacancies

iv) The flow of sufficiently qualified applicants for skilled migration through the SkillSelect service, introduced in 2012 to help match skill shortages with the best available migrants whilst not disadvantaging local workers



Migration Programme numbers do not include New Zealand citizens or holders of Secondary Movement Offshore Entry (Temporary), Secondary Movement Relocation (Temporary) and Temporary Protection visas and are detailed at the top of the planning range.

Outcome is the net outcome as cancelled visas are returned to the Migration Programme in that year.

1 Includes spouse, fiancé and interdependent partners. Net outcome as places taken by provisional visa holders who do not subsequently obtain permanent visas are returned to the Migration Programme in the year that the temporary visas expire.

2 Includes child, adoption, dependent child and orphan relative.

3 Includes aged dependent, carer and remaining relatives.

4 Includes contributory and non-contributory parents.

5 Includes Employer Nomination Scheme and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

6 Includes state/territory nominated independent and skilled independent regional.

7 Includes brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, non-dependent children, working age parents, grandchildren and first cousins who have been skill tested.

8 State/territory sponsored and Skilled Australian sponsored (Skilled Independent Regional) categories have been amalgamated into State/territory and regional nominated category since 2013–14.

9 Known as business skills prior to July 2012.

10 Initial planning levels.

Skilled Migration to Australia

In order to find and attract migrants with the skills that Australia has identified it needs most, a new system was established. SkillSelect is an online system designed to enable skilled workers interested in moving to Australia to make an expression of interest to be considered for a skilled visa.

Under SkillSelect, people planning on emigrating to Australia may be sponsored for skilled visas by Australian employers or nominated by state and territory governments, or invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application.

It is designed to overcome the regional skills shortages as well. Many migrants focus on the big, well known cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth but, often, it is the less-well known regions which actually have the demand for skilled labour and where finding jobs in Australia may be easier.

SkillSelect will enable the regions to find the skills they need and migrants to find the regions where their skills are really needed.

How it works

From 1st July 2012, people who are interested in the points based skilled migration or the business investment and innovation visa programs must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). They can then be found by employers or the state and territory governments and then nominated for a visa. Alternatively, they may be invited by the government to lodge a visa application.

Visa Programmes in SkillSelect

If you are interested in the following visas, you will need to submit an EOI and receive an invitation before you can apply for a visa:

  • Subclass 189 Skilled – Independent (Permanent)
  • Subclass 190 Skilled – Nominated (Permanent)
  • Subclass 489 Skilled – Regional Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional)
  • Subclass 132 Business Talent (Permanent)
  • Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional)

 You can also express interest in the following visa programs on your EOI to be contacted by an employer:

  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Scheme (RSMS)
  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled)

You can express interest in a range of skilled migration visas in one EOI. Remember, an EOI is NOT an application – it is an INDICATION that you want to be considered for a skilled visa. You will be asked to provide a variety of information, depending on the specific visa you want to be considered for. It is likely to contain such information as

  •  basic personal information
  •  nominated occupation
  •  work experience
  •  study and education
  •  level of English skills
  •  details of a Skills Assessment, related to your nominated occupation
  •  business and investment experience

It is worth noting that the government can set priority processing arrangements for certain skilled visas. At the moment, regional employer sponsored visas have the highest processing priority.

The priority processing arrangements apply to applications for the following visas:

  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Points-tested skilled migration.

Australian Government - Overview of Skilled Migration

Since 1 July 2013, processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) are:

1. applications from people who are sponsored under the RSMS programme

2. applications from people who are sponsored under the ENS programme

3. applications from people who are nominated by a state or territory government agency

4. applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL)—Schedule 1 in effect since 1 July 2013 (See: Skilled Occupation List)

5. all other applications


Family Migration to Australia

Australian Government - Overview of Family Migration

Applicants in the Family stream are selected on the basis of their family relationship with the person/s that is sponsoring their move to Australia. The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen must, usually, be over 18yrs old. Unlike the skilled stream, there are no tests for skills or languages.

There are four main categories:

  •  Partner
  •  Child
  •  Parent
  •  Other family

Breaking down the numbers and using the split from the 2012-13 family stream (total of 60,185 visas versus 60,885 for 2013-14) there are

Partner – 46,325 places

Child – 3,850 places

Parent – 8,725 places

Other family – 1,285 places

All family stream applicants must be assessed against Australia's health and character requirements.


Special Eligibility Migration to Australia

The small number of places in this stream (565 for 2013-14) is reserved for

  • people who have spent at least nine out of their first 18 years in Australia as permanent residents, are under the age of 45 at the time of lodging their application and have maintained business, cultural or personal ties with Australia
  • people who served in the Australian armed forces before 1981. Applicants must have either completed at least three months' continuous Australian Defence Force service or have been discharged on medical grounds before completing three months' continuous service. No age limit applies to this category

Applicants in Australia must also apply within 12 months of the expiry of their last substantive visa.

Cost of applying for a Visa

Given the large range of visas available for moving to Australia, it is difficult to give a comprehensive list of prices for every permutation. By way of example, we have listed below the pricing for applying for a few of the more popular visas.

N.B. This is the fee that must be paid to the government for your application. It does not include the fees that many people pay to a registered migration agent to help assess and submit your application on your behalf.


N.B. If you pay for your visa application by credit card, a surcharge will apply. The current surcharge rates are:

• Visa and MasterCard - 1.08%

• American Express and JCB - 1.99%

• Diners Club International - 2.91%

The above information was taken from the Department of immigration and Border Protection website as of May 2014. Please note that prices and information may vary in the future.

For a fully up-to-date assessment of the costs involved with your visa application, please see the Australian Government's Visa Pricing Estimator.

Australian Government - Visa Pricing Estimator

Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) Migration Blog

This is a fantastic resource, packed full of information and advice and the Emigration Store would strongly recommend you visit the site to try to help answer as many of your questions as possible.

As a Migration Agent will act as an intermediary bewteen you and the Australian Government, it is very useful to understand how the Government sees the relationship between themselves and your Registered Migration Agent.

dibp-migration-blogSource: Department of Immigration & Border Protection Migration Blog (December 8, 2014)

The original article and all of the posts in the Blog can be found here  dibp-migration-blog-cta

Emigration Store Australian Visa Partner

The above information is taken from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website Department of Immigration and Border Protection: Find a visa

Navigating the wide range of visas, whether temporary or permanent, Sponsored or Independent, Regional or Business Owner is a complex task.

Many people choose to use the services of a Migration Agent to help them navigate what can be a confusing process. It should be stressed that it is not a requirement to use an agent, but, should you choose to do so, the Emigration Store strongly recommends that you use one that is accredited and registered.

You can search the Register of Migration Agents here    Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority - Register

Where To Live In Australia?