Visa and emigration in Australia and New Zealand

It is one thing to think about how great a new life Down Under would be, it is quite another to turn your dreams into reality. For a start you will need to qualify for a visa to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand in order to live in either country, and this is likely to require having certain skills which are in demand in either nation or family members already living in the country. Without these things a move may still be possible, but it will be a great deal harder and more time consuming to make this happen.


If your query relates to visiting, working in or migrating to Australia, you will need advice from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. But skilled migration visas provide one of the best opportunities for skilled workers to live and work in Australia.

Under the Australian General Skilled Migration programme, skilled migrant and skilled worker applicants can use their qualifications, work experience and language ability to meet the Australian immigration requirements for a permanent Australia visa. Fortunately, both Australia and New Zealand have major skills shortages and are looking to the UK to recruit the thousands of workers they need.

Paul Arthur, director of The Emigration Group, says: “New Zealand and Australia are in the middle of an economic boom and there are now thousands of job opportunities which need to be filled by skilled workers from overseas. Sectors where there are particular shortages Down Under are in the automotive, medical, IT and construction fields, but there are a vast range of job opportunities for skilled Brits and both countries are actively encouraging migration.”

In 2012, Australian immigration authorities introduced a new skilled worker programme, called the Skilled Migrant Selection Register, known as SkillSelect. In order to apply, you need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). The SkillSelect will work as an electronic two-stage process where prospective visa applicants first submit a claim for skilled migration through an online EOI. Following this, applicants may then be invited to submit an Australian visa application on the basis of their EOI.

Australian visa applicants will be selected based on their points test score in a number of selection criteria. All prospective visa applicants will be required to meet the relevant English language requirements and obtain the necessary skills assessment prior to their EOI submission. However, you will have to also be approved by SkillSelect to obtain your visa.

A foreign national wishing to enter Australia must obtain a visa unless he or she is:

  • A citizen of one of the 36 eVisitor or nine Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) eligible countries,
  • A citizen of New Zealand, under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, or
  • Eligible for visa-free travel under other laws such as Special purpose visa.

New Zealand

New Zealand has a range of visa options depending on whether you want to work there, study, invest or simply enjoy a visit.

Their immigration policies have been developed to support New Zealand’s economic growth. If you are looking to make New Zealand your permanent home and have skills, experience or capital that is in short supply locally, you could qualify for a visa, especially a work-related one.

There is a range of New Zealand visas, some of which you may be eligible for. Choosing the best option for your circumstances will likely depend on how long you want to stay, whether you have already got a job lined up and if there is a shortage of your skills in New Zealand.

According to Paul Arthur of The Emigration Group, the gap between supply and demand for highly skilled staff has grown substantially down under over the past three years and there is no sign of it declining any time soon.

“In New Zealand in particular over 35% of employers are now taking new measures to attract overseas staff such as increased starting salaries, clearer development paths and additional training,” says Arthur.

Potential migrants looking to pursue the dream of moving to New Zealand may qualify for any one of the following:

Resident Visa, Work Visa, Student Visa, Working Holiday Visa or an Investment Visa. Each visa type has an application form and accompanying guide. But to be potentially eligible to live in New Zealand permanently, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • Work in skilled employment
  • Invest in New Zealand
  • Start or buy a business
  • Join a partner or family member


Arthur continues: “Many Brits are looking for a better work life balance, where they can enjoy quality free time and a successful career. Australia and New Zealand are countries that offer this lifestyle opportunity and now with so many shortages there is a good chance that your occupation is on the ‘in demand list’, which means you could be eligible for a permanent residence visa.”

A foreign national wishing to enter New Zealand must obtain a visa unless he or she is:

  • A citizen of one of the 58 visa waiver eligible countries,
  • A citizen or permanent resident of Australia, under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement,
  • A holder of the United Nations laissez-passer, or eligible for visa-free travel under other provisions (visiting force, cruise ship passengers and crew, aircraft crew and so forth).


Note: UK citizens and other British passport holders who produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the UK may travel to New Zealand without visa for 180 days.


Mortgages in Australia and New Zealand


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