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How to Get an Australian Visa

Immigration to Australia has been the country’s largest contributor to population growth ever since European settlers arrived in the late eighteenth century. To this day the Australian government continues to condone high immigration rates and presents few barriers to naturalisation even though demand has outstripped the number of places available since the 1970s.



There are many types of visa which confer permanent resident status on the visa holder and several others which provide temporary resident status with the option to apply for permanency later.

Working Visas

The most common working visa is the employer sponsored subclass 457 visa which allows the visa holder to live and work in Australia for up to four years, bring their family and travel in and out of Australia as often as they like. Applying for this visa can only be done once the sponsoring employer has become an approved sponsor and nominated the individual. This can lead to a permanent visa after two years if the employer wants to make the position permanent, leading to a subclass 186 or and SkillSelect program. As an applicant you first have to submit an Expression of Interest in immigrating to Australia, outlining your qualifications, skills, experience and English language proficiency.

All interested parties are then available for employers, states and territories to sponsor if they meet their requirements. Any individual who finds a sponsor, or who fulfills the general requirements for skilled immigration to Australia, will be invited to apply for the relevant visa.

Individuals with certain professions, like doctors, nurses and teachers, are much more in demand by the Australian government and states/territories and are more likely to be invited to apply.

Family Visas

Australia grants a large number of visas to individuals with family ties in Australia. Some family member visas include:

  • Partner Visas - these include the subclass 820 for new partners of Australian citizens which can lead to a permanent subclass 801 after two years. To apply you need to lodge an application with a Partner Processing Centre in the relevant state or territory.
  • Parent Visas - these are for individuals who are of Australian pension age and have children living in Australia. They include subclass 804, the quicker but more expensive subclass 864 and the temporary subclass 884 which lasts for two years. To apply you need to lodge an application with the Parent Visa Centre in Perth.
  • Child visas - these include the subclass 802 for an overseas child of an Australian Citizen or permanent resident that is currently in Australia and the subclass 117 for orphaned relatives of Australian Citizens or permanent residents who are currently overseas. To apply the sponsoring parent/guardian must lodge an application with the Child and Other Family Processing Centre in Perth (for applicants in Australia) or with the nearest Australian mission (for outside applicants).

Returning Residents Visas

The subclass 155 and subclass 157 allow Australian permanent residents (non-citizens) to return to Australia. You should apply to the immigration office in your state/territory before you leave Australia.

The subclass 151 is for people who spent 9 of their first 18 years in Australia or who served in the Australian armed forces for at least three months before 1981. It grants permanent resident status and can be applied for while inside or outside Australia via post at the Perth Office.