Pathways to Australian Permanent Residency

 The permanent visa for Australia is the dream of many. Permanent resident holders can work and live anywhere in Australia indefinitely. They can also sponsor a family member, enrol in Medicare, and access Australian government services such as social welfare, social security payments and other aids associated with illnesses, unemployment, maternity and education. While permanent residents are not citizens, they do have the option to become citizens after meeting the residency requirement. Australian citizens have additional benefits including the right to vote, re-entry into Australia and can apply for government jobs. But it is not easy to get one, even with good credentials in hand. 

Is it hard to get permanent residency in Australia?

The process of getting permanent residency (PR) in Australia can be lengthy and difficult but it is attainable. If you already have a job offer or an employment contract in this country, the resettling process is pretty simple and straightforward. Or if you can create a business and job opportunities for locals, your chances of a smooth transition and successful work permit application become even greater. But I know that most of us don't get off to such a smooth start. Having said that, new immigrants in Canada, New Zealand and US are also experiencing similar difficulties there. Getting your first job in a country like Australia can be a struggle. It takes time to get a job. However, at the end, the initial struggle will be rewarded with many years of ‘good’ life!

Visa options for permanent residents

You can become a permanent resident of Australia by applying for and being granted a permanent visa that allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely. The most common permanent visas include some skilled work, family, business or investor visas. To find a visa that suits your needs explore visa options. The following are permanent visas, which lead to permanent residency:

  • Distinguished Talent visa (Subclass 124)
  • Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187)
  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191)
  • Global talent visa (Subclass 858)
  • Skilled regional visa (Subclass 887)
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (Subclass 888)
  • Business owner visa (Subclass 890)
  • Investor visa (Subclass 891)
  • State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (Subclass 892)
  • State or Territory Sponsored Investor (Subclass 893)

There are over 30 visa options for people wanting to work in Australia. The common permanent residency pathway is by applying for Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Visa or applying for General Skilled Migration visa subclasses. Here we are discussing a few common pathways to Australian PR for you.

How do I get a sponsored visa for Australia?

It’s not always necessary to have a sponsor, but sometimes having a sponsor can help your chances of getting a visa. There are two ways of getting sponsorship – you can find a sponsor yourself or you can put in an expression of interest (EOI) using SkillSelect. Completing an expression of interest (EOI) on SkillSelect is not the same as completing a visa application but it will enable Australian employers & governments to find out about your skills through the database. An employer could then invite you to apply for a visa.

The most common visa options for employer-sponsored visas includes subclass 482, Subclass 186, and Subclass 494. To be eligible for employer sponsored visas in Australia, you need to have: an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List; minimum of 2 years recent, relevant work experience; but not necessarily qualifications (varies with each occupation). The hardest part of this program is to find the Australian employer who is willing to sponsor you. If you have an Australian employer, you may be eligible for employer-sponsored visas. You’ll also need to have a quite a good level of English where you can be fluent in the workplace and also there are different opportunities in different regions of Australia. Be aware that with your occupation it’s important that you have education but also some experience.

Visa 186 is permanent residency visas whereas Visa 482 and Visa 494 are temporary visas but they do have pathways to PR if the requirements are met. After working for an employer for 3 years on 482 visas, the employer may sponsor the employee for 186 depending upon the occupation of the applicants. After working for the employer for 3 years on a 494, employee may apply for Permanent residency via Subclass 191 visa after meeting the appropriate income level requirement.

When you send an EOI through SkillSelect, you’re letting the government know you’re interested in moving to Australia. Even if no business nominates you for a 186 visa, the government might still invite you to apply for a subclass 189 or 190 visa if you are under the age of 45, & have not been sponsored or nominated by an employer, or state or territory government.

You can read more about Employer-sponsored visas here.

How do I get a skilled visa for Australia?

The most popular way to get a permanent visa in Australia is to apply for a skilled visa. The Skilled Visa to Australia is for skilled individuals or families looking to permanently migrate to Australia, to fill Australia's skill shortages. Some skilled visas, including Subclass 189, Subclass 190, and Subclass 491, are point-based visas and depending on your age, your English, your experience, your education and occupation etc. If you have skills that are listed in the Australia Skilled occupation list, you may be eligible to apply for one of Skilled Migration Visas. DHA website has a list of skilled occupations that are in demand in Australia. There are no guarantees but the more points you have the more chance you have of getting an invitation. Your level of English is really important because that can give you a huge boost of points. Also studying in Australia is a good way to to get points.

Subclasses 189 and 190 are permanent residency visas whereas regional visa 491 is a temporary visa for 5 years and has a pathway to PR through Subclass 191 visa, once the income level requirements are met. For some skilled migrants who are interested in running a small business in Australia, there are 4 states that open the small business owner pathways to 491 or 190 nominations such as QLD, Tasmania, SA and Australian capital territory.

For more information about Skilled visa, please visit here.

How can I migrate to Australia on Business & Investment Visas?

Business and Investor Visas includes Provisional visa Subclass 188 and its permanent residency pathway visa Subclass 888. Other business visa streams are not popular simply because of this 188 visa is much more suitable to business clients than others.

Depending on whether you have funds to invest, or you have a business plan and are looking do a startup, there are a few different streams available namely:

  • Business Innovation stream: This provisional visa is for people with business skills. It lets you operate a new or existing business in Australia. To be nominated, the applicant must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) via the SkillSelect system.
  • Investor stream: This provisional visa requires you to invest at least AUD2.5 million in Australian investments that meet certain requirements and maintain business or investment activity in Australia.
  • Significant Investor stream (SIV): This provisional visa is for people who invest at least AUD5 million in Australian investments that meet certain requirements and maintain investment activity in Australia. The SIV is increasingly popular due to having no age limits, no English requirements, and fast processing.

Business Innovation stream (subclass 188) are a 4-year temporary visa for people who own and manage new or existing businesses in Australia. To obtain a Business Innovation stream you must have ownership of a business with a minimum turnover of AUD 750, 000 for at least two of the last four financial years as well as have net personal and business assets of at least AUD 1,250, 000. Once you have established an ownership interest in an Australian business, you can apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation and Investment (permanent) subclass 888 visa.

How do I qualify for a global talent visa?

Are you looking to apply for a global talent visa? The 858 visa is a permanent visa for those that have a record of outstanding achievement. It is a part of the Global Talent Independent Program for Australia. This visa program is for people who have internationally recognized records of exceptional and outstanding achievements. Furthermore, applicants must be able to earn more than 158,500 AUD to increase their chance of getting the invitation. And you must have an eligible nominator who is prominent in your field. Your nominator could be either an Australian individual or organization.

Partner visas

Lastly there’s the partner visa if you fall in love and get into a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. The process will start by applying for a provisional visa and you’ll need to remain with your partner while you have that provisional visa. That process would take around about three or four years before you get a permanent visa.

Subclass 300 is a temporary visa for partners of Australian citizens/Permanent residents, who want to come to Australia to live and get married to their Australian partners. Once they get married, they may apply for a Partner visa onshore Subclass 820/801.

Final thought

Those are the four main ways you can get the permanent residency in Australia obviously there are a few more. If you lack confidence about the process, or your application is complex, you can hire a migration agent who will help you lodge a visa application, advise you, prepare documents & liaise with the Department of Immigration on your behalf. They will charge you but will provide you with correct information and your options.

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