Australia is a hugely popular emigration destination, thanks in part to its amazingly beautiful beaches, laidback atmosphere and comparatively high average earnings.
However, those looking to stay there for any length of time will need a visa. As the process of applying for a visa can be a little complex, we’ve provided a brief overview of the key information you need to know.
How long can you stay without a visa?
Australia maintains a universal visa regime, meaning you’ll need one for even a short stay.
However, if you’re coming from one of the 45 eVisitor and ETA eligible countries around the world, which includes members of the EU and the US, you can apply for a free Visitor Visa. This allows you to stay in the country for up to three-months over a twelve month period.
Different types of visa
When it comes to the many other kinds of Australian visas, it’s important to pick the right one for your situation.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection receives thousands of visa applications every year, and many are denied due to applicants applying for the wrong one.
If you’re looking to study in Australia then you’ll want to apply for the Student Visa, although you’ll need to meet both the English language and financial capacity requirements, and ensure that you apply well ahead of the academic year.
If your partner is an Australian citizen, then you may be able to take advantage of the various family visas on offer.
Australia also offers visas that allow you to become a temporary or permanent resident, although these are generally only granted to those who have a relative who is already an Australian or New Zealand citizen.
There are also specific visas for those looking to work in Australia, which you can read more about below.
If you’re planning to find employment upon arriving in Australia then you’ll need to ensure that your visa allows you to work.
Your first stop when looking at employment visas should be whether your skills are currently in demand in Australia, as this may allow you to apply for a skilled migration visa.
You can check what skill sets are currently being sought by employers by visiting the Australian government’s SkillSelect Website.
If you’re fortunate enough to have already found a job before moving to Australia, then you should ask your employer if you’re eligible for a sponsored work visa.
Staying in the country long-term
If you plan to stay in Australia indefinitely then you’ll need to look into obtaining a permanent residency visa, although it is important to note these are usually only granted to skilled migrants or on humanitarian grounds.
A holder of a permanent residency visa will be able to stay in Australia as long as they wish without needing to reapply for a visa.
Upon being granted a permanent residency visa, you’ll also be given a 5-year initial visa which allows you to leave and re-enter the country at will.
Those with a permanent residency visa will have many of the same rights as citizens, such as free or subsidised legal and health services, although they can’t vote in federal elections.
After meeting the eligibility criteria and having spent at least four years in Australia, you can look into becoming a citizen by taking the citizenship test.
Being given citizenship will give you many advantages, the most notable of which is the ability to apply for an Australian passport and being able to leave and re-enter the country without applying for a resident return visa.
While applying for a visa in Australia can be a daunting task, as long as you persevere and ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria, you should be successful.
If you’re really struggling to make any headway, you may want to look into hiring a visa agent to help walk you through the process.