This article is reviewed regularly by Wego‘s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

When it comes to envisioning a new life abroad, few countries charm one’s imagination like Australia. This vast island, the largest in the world yet the smallest continent, presents itself as a land of unique contrasts. Known as ‘The Lucky Country’ of the Southern Hemisphere, its cultural history is as diverse as its landscape and animal kingdom, making it truly enigmatic. 

Australians are known for their relaxed, easy-going attitude and cordiality. The Australian government supports people’s interest in moving to their country. All this makes Australia an exciting prospect for the people who move to the country every year, transfixed by the high living standards, world-class education and health services, attractive job opportunities, and so much more.

Book Cheap Flights on Wego to Australia

 

Are you planning to move to Australia? Read along with Wego to learn what to expect in the country and a complete and comprehensive guide on immigration procedures and processes you should be aware of.  

Moving to Australia 

One crucial aspect to be crystal clear about when planning to relocate as an expatriate is the kind of work visa you need.

An Australian work visa is tailored for expats who have secured a job offer in Australia, laying a strong foundation for a sustainable living arrangement in the country.

Australian work visa

When it comes to Australian work visas, there are 23 kinds of subclasses of working and skilled visas. Some of the most popular ones for permanently residing in Australia include permanent work visas and temporary work visas. 

For detailed information on the 23 subclasses, please visit the official website of the Department of Home Affairs of the Australian Government.

Permanent Work Visa 

If you aspire to become a permanent resident of Australia, then you need to apply for a permanent work visa. 

There are several categories of permanent work visas, three of which are the Employer nomination scheme visa (EMS)—subclass 186, regional sponsored migration scheme (RSMS) visa—subclass 187, and skilled nominated visa—subclass 190. 

Employer nomination scheme visa (EMS) – subclass 186

The Employer Nomination Scheme visa (EMS) is a visa that allows skilled workers who are nominated by their employer to live and work in Australia permanently. 

To be eligible for the EMS visa, applicants must:

  • have the necessary skills for the job
  • be nominated by an Australian employer
  • meet the Australian government’s health and character requirements

The EMS visa has three streams: direct entry, labor agreement and temporary residence transition.

Direct entry stream

The EMS direct entry stream visa allows applicants to: 

  • live, work and study in Australia indefinitely
  • sponsor eligible family members to come to Australia
  • apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible

To apply for this stream, applicants must:

  • have an occupation that is on the list of eligible skilled occupations
  • have at least 3 years relevant work experience, unless you are exempt
  • have a positive skills assessment unless you are exempt
Documents required

The following are some of the documents required to apply for an EMS direct entry stream visa –

Identity documents

  • present the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details, passport issue and expiry dates.
  • a national identity card, if you have one
  • proof of a change of name, if applicable. The documents that prove a change of name include:
    • a marriage or divorce certificate
    • change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or the relevant overseas authority
    • documents that show other names you have been known by

Licensing, registration or membership

  • provide evidence of any license, registration or professional membership mandatory to perform the nominated occupation in the state or territory you intend to work in, if applicable.
  • if you are a doctor, provide one of these certificates issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency as proof of full registration:
    • unconditional or general medical registration
    • conditional specialist registration, which allows you to practice only in your particular specialty with no further training or supervision requirements
  • if you are a barrister or solicitor, provide proof of admission to practice as a lawyer in the relevant state or territory.

Skills and qualifications documents

You can provide any one of the following documents:

  • documents that prove your skills and qualifications or
  • documents to prove you are exempt from proving your skills and qualifications

Age exemption documents

Please note that if you are 45 or older, provide documents showing you are exempt from the age eligibility criteria.

You are exempt from this criteria if any of the following apply to you:

  • you are nominated as an academic (university lecturer or faculty head at Academic Level B, C, D or E) by a university in Australia
  • you are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian scientific government agency
  • you currently hold a Special Category (subclass 444) or New Zealand citizen’s family member (subclass 461) visa and have worked for the employer who nominated you, in the nominated position, for at least 2 years in the last 3 years immediately before you apply. The 2 years exclude periods of unpaid leave.

English language documents

You will be required to provide documents proving you are competent in English.

Character documents

You will be required to provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.

Please note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police are accepted. For immigration purposes, Australian police certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Visa cost

The visa fee range of the EMS direct entry stream visa starts from AUD 4,640. 

To learn more about the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186), please visit the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

Regional sponsored migration scheme (RSMS) visa – subclass 187

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa is a type of visa that allows skilled workers who are nominated by their employer in regional Australia to live and work in the country permanently. 

To be eligible for the RSMS visa, applicants must:

  • be nominated by an approved Australian employer for a job in regional Australia
  • be under 45 years of age
  • meet the skills, qualifications and English language requirements

The RSMS visa has two streams, namely, the direct entry stream and the temporary residence transition stream.

Please note that the RSMS direct entry stream visa is closed to new applicants.

Temporary residence transition stream

The RSMS temporary residence transition stream visa allows applicants to:

  • live, work and study in Australia indefinitely
  • sponsor eligible family members to come to Australia
  • apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible
Documents required

The following are some of the documents generally required to apply for an RSMS temporary residence transition stream visa:

Identity documents

  • present the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details, passport issue and expiry dates.
  • a national identity card, if you have one
  • proof of a change of name, if applicable. The documents that prove a change of name include:
    • a marriage or divorce certificate
    • change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or the relevant overseas authority
    • documents that show other names you have been known by

Licensing, registration or membership

You will be required to provide evidence of any license, registration or professional membership mandatory to perform the nominated occupation in the state or territory you intend to work in, if applicable.

Age exemption documents 

If you are 45 or older, provide documents showing you are exempt from the age eligibility criteria.

English language documents

You will be required to provide documents that show you are competent in English.

Character documents

You will be required to provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.

Please note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police are accepted. For immigration purposes, Australian police certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Visa cost

The visa fee range of the RSMS temporary residence transition stream visa starts from AUD 4,640. 

Please visit the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs to learn more about the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187).

Skilled nominated visa – subclass 190

The skilled nominated visa is a type of work visa that allows nominated skilled workers to live and work in Australia as permanent residents. 

This visa allows one to:

  • work and study anywhere in Australia
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • if eligible, become an Australian citizen

To be eligible for the skilled nominated visa, applicants must:

  • have an occupation on the relevant skilled list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • be invited to apply for this visa
  • satisfy the points test
Documents required

The following are some of the documents generally required to apply for a skilled nominated visa:

Identity documents

  • present the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details, passport issue and expiry dates.
  • a national identity card, if you have one
  • proof of a change of name, if applicable. The documents that prove a change of name include:
    • a marriage or divorce certificate
    • change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or the relevant overseas authority
    • documents that show other names you have been known by

Relationship documents

In case you are or have been married, widowed, divorced or permanently separated, provide proof such as divorce documents, death certificates, separation documents or statutory declarations.

Please note that if your partner or dependent children are not included in this application, make sure to provide the authorities with a reason for it (for instance, they already hold Australian citizenship or are permanent residents).

English language documents

You will be required to provide documents that show you are competent in English.

Character documents

You will be required to provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.

Please note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police are accepted. For immigration purposes, Australian police certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Partner documents

To prove your partner’s identity and relationship with you, you can provide the following documents:

  • identity documents and photos
  • character documents
  • marriage certificate, if applicable
  • documents about other relationships, if applicable

For a de facto relationship, provide either:

  • evidence that your relationship is registered by an Australian State or Territory or
  • enough documents to prove you have been in a de facto relationship with your partner for at least 12 months before you apply

For both married and de facto applicants, you must provide evidence that you are in a genuine and continuing relationship. 

Evidence can include but is not limited to:

  • joint bank account statements
  • billing accounts in joint names
  • joint leases or mortgages
  • documents that show your partner has lived at the same address as you

Please note that the authorities may also require some additional documents. Visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website for a complete list of the documents required to apply for a Skilled Nominee visa.

To learn more about which permanent work visa is suitable for you, please visit the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

Temporary work visa 

A temporary work visa allows individuals to move to Australia for temporary employment. This visa may include conditions restricting the type of work or employer.

Temporary skill shortage visa – subclass 482

The temporary skill shortage visa is a temporary visa that allows an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled worker to fill a position they cannot find a suitably skilled Australian. 

To be eligible for the visa, applicants must:

  • be nominated for a skilled position by an approved sponsor
  • have the right skills to do the job
  • meet the relevant English language requirements

The temporary skill shortage visa has three main streams: the short-term, medium-term, and labor agreement streams.

Short-term stream

The temporary skill shortage short-term stream visa allows a stay for up to 2 years or up to 4 years if an International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies.

Documents required

The following are some of the documents generally required to apply for a temporary skill shortage short-term stream visa. 

Identity documents

  • present the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details, passport issue and expiry dates.
  • a national identity card, if you have one
  • proof of a change of name, if applicable. The documents that prove a change of name include:
    • a marriage or divorce certificate
    • change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or the relevant overseas authority
    • documents that show other names you have been known by

Skill and occupation documents

If it is mandatory for you to provide a skills assessment or proof that you have arranged to obtain one:

  • your application must include the relevant skills assessment reference number for the TSS skills assessment by Trades Recognition Australia.
  • for the occupations of Project and Program Administrator or Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified, you must include the relevant skills assessment reference number for your VETASSESS Skills Assessment.

Please note that in case you are claiming an exemption from undertaking a mandatory skills assessment because of an exemption specified in the legislative instrument, you must provide relevant evidence with your application.

If it is not mandatory for you to undertake a skills assessment, you are still required to provide other evidence to demonstrate that you have relevant skills, qualifications and employment background to undertake the nominated occupation.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • a copy of relevant qualification certificates (professional and educational)
  • a copy of any required registration/licensing
  • previous employment reference
  • your curriculum vitae or resumé
  • previous employment references

Registration/licensing

Where relevant, you must provide evidence from the relevant Australian registration or licensing authority (in the state or territory in which you will be working) that you hold or will be able to meet necessary registration or licensing requirements.

The information relating to registration or licensing required must specify the type of registration or licensing held and the name and contact details of the registering or licensing authority.

Please note that your approved sponsor should be able to provide you with the necessary licensing and registration information.

If you are going to register as a medical practitioner, then you must provide the following documents: 

  • written evidence that the relevant medical board has recognized your qualifications and that you have been registered or will be given medical registration.
  • health workforce certificate for General Practitioners, Resident Medical Officers and Medical Practitioners.
  • curriculum vitae (CV)/resume: The curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé that you provide must include full employment and educational history, including dates and positions held, for at least the last 5 years.
  • employment references: your employment references should cover a period sufficient to demonstrate a relevant skill level. They must be on the letterhead of the employer and include the following:
    • the name, title and contact details of the referee
    • employment details of your position
    • dates of service

Health documents

You will need to provide evidence of adequate health insurance for you and any secondary applicants for the duration of your stay in Australia.

Character documents

You will be required to provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.

Please note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police are accepted. For immigration purposes, Australian police certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

English language documents

You will be required to provide documents that show you are competent in English.

Please note that the authorities may also require additional documents. Visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website for a complete list of the documents required to apply for a Temporary Skill Shortage short-term stream visa.

Visa cost

The visa fee range of the temporary skill shortage short-term stream visa starts from AUD 1,455.

Medium-term stream

The temporary skill shortage medium-term stream visa allows a stay for up to 4 years. 

To be eligible for this visa, applicants must:

  • be nominated to work in an occupation on the list of eligible medium and long-term skilled occupations
  • have at least 2 years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field
  • have a relevant skills assessment if this is required for your occupation
  • work only for your sponsor or associated entity unless you are exempt
  • meet minimum English language proficiency standards unless you are exempt from needing to show this.
Documents required

The following are some of the documents generally required to apply for a temporary skill shortage medium-term stream visa. 

Identity documents

  • present the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details, passport issue and expiry dates
  • a national identity card, if you have one
  • proof of a change of name, if applicable. The documents that prove a change of name include:
    • a marriage or divorce certificate
    • change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or the relevant overseas authority
    • documents that show other names you have been known by

Skill and occupation documents

If it is mandatory for you to provide a skills assessment or proof that you have arranged to obtain one:

  • for the TSS skills assessment by Trades Recognition Australia, your application must include the relevant skills assessment reference number
  • for the occupations of Project and Program Administrator or Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified, you must include the relevant skills assessment reference number for your VETASSESS Skills Assessment

Please note that in case you are claiming an exemption from undertaking a mandatory skills assessment because of an exemption specified in the legislative instrument, you must provide relevant evidence with your application.

If it is not mandatory for you to undertake a skills assessment, you are still required to provide other evidence to demonstrate that you have relevant skills, qualifications and employment background to undertake the nominated occupation.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • a copy of relevant qualification certificates (professional and educational)
  • a copy of any required registration/licensing
  • previous employment reference
  • your curriculum vitae or resumé
  • previous employment references

Registration/licensing

Wherever needed, you must provide evidence from the relevant Australian registration or licensing authority (in the state or territory in which you will be working) that you hold or will be able to meet necessary registration or licensing requirements.

The information relating to registration or licensing required must specify the type of registration or licensing held and the name and contact details of the registering or licensing authority. 

Please note that your approved sponsor should be able to provide you with the necessary licensing and registration information.

If you are registering as a medical practitioner, then you must provide the following: 

  • written evidence that the relevant medical board has recognized your qualifications and that you have been registered or will be given medical registration.
  • health workforce certificate for General Practitioners, Resident Medical Officers and Medical Practitioners.
  • curriculum vitae (CV)/resume: The curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé that you provide must include full employment and educational history, including dates and positions held, for at least the last 5 years.
  • employment references: your employment references should cover a period sufficient to demonstrate a relevant skill level. They must be on the letterhead of the employer and include the following:
    • the name, title and contact details of the referee
    • employment details of your position
    • dates of service

Health documents

You will need to provide evidence of adequate health insurance for you and any secondary applicants for the duration of your stay in Australia.

Character documents

You will be required to provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.

Please note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police are accepted. For immigration purposes, Australian police certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

English language documents

You will be required to provide documents that show you are competent in English.

Please note that the authorities may also require additional documents. Visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website for a complete list of the documents required to apply for a Temporary Skill Shortage short-term stream visa.

Visa cost

The visa fee range of the temporary skill shortage short-term stream visa starts from AUD 3,035. 

Labour agreement stream

The temporary skill shortage labour agreement stream visa is for skilled workers nominated by employers who have a Labour agreement. It allows applicants to live and work in Australia temporarily.

The Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must:

  • be nominated to work in a specified occupation under the terms of a Labour Agreement
  • have at least 2 years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field
  • have a relevant skills assessment if this is required for your occupation
  • work only for your sponsor
  • meet minimum standards of English language proficiency unless you are exempt from needing to show this
Documents required

The following are some of the documents generally required to apply for a temporary skill shortage labor agreement stream visa:

The temporary skill shortage labour agreement stream visa is for skilled workers nominated by employers who have a Labour agreement. It allows applicants to live and work in Australia temporarily.

The Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must:

  • be nominated to work in a specified occupation under the terms of a Labour Agreement
  • have at least 2 years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field
  • have a relevant skills assessment if this is required for your occupation
  • work only for your sponsor
  • meet minimum standards of English language proficiency unless you are exempt from needing to show this.

Skill and occupation documents

If it is mandatory for you to provide a skills assessment or proof that you have arranged to obtain one:

  • for the TSS skills assessment by Trades Recognition Australia, your application must include the relevant skills assessment reference number.
  • for the occupations of Project and Program Administrator or Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified, you must include the relevant skills assessment reference number for your VETASSESS Skills Assessment.
  • qualification certificates (professional and educational).
  • registration, licence or professional membership if you need it to work in Australia. Documents from the relevant authorities must show that you hold or can get the registration, licence or membership. The documents must specify:
    • the type of registration or licence held
    • the name and contact details of the authority
  • references from previous employers must cover a period long enough to show the needed skill level and experience. References should be on the employer’s letterhead and have:
    • the name, title and contact details of the referee
    • details of your position and the dates of service.
  • your curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé should cover at least the last 5 years and show:
    • full employment and educational history
    • dates and positions held
    • the name, title and contact details of the referees
    • that you meet the 2 years work experience if this applies.

Health documents

You will need to provide evidence of adequate health insurance for you and any secondary applicants for the duration of your stay in Australia.

Character documents

You will be required to provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.

Please note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police are accepted. For immigration purposes, Australian police certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

English language documents

You will be required to provide documents that you meet the minimum standards of English language proficiency.

Please note that the authorities may also require additional documents. Visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website for a complete list of the documents required to apply for a temporary skill shortage labour agreement stream visa.

Visa cost

The visa fee range of the temporary skill shortage labour agreement stream visa is AUD 3,035. 

To learn more about which temporary work visa is suitable for you, please visit the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

How to apply for an Australian work visa?

To apply for any Australian work visa, simply follow the steps given below:

  • create an ImmiAccount, and then log in to your account
  • select the type of visa to apply for
  • complete the Australian visa application form
  • upload the required visa documents
  • pay the visa fee
  • submit your Australian visa application

Please note that if any information in your visa application has changed, you can visit the ImmiAccount website to contact the Australian authorities.

Living in Australia

Living in Australia will offer you a unique experience, a cornucopia of a cultural melting pot with a rich history and opportunities. In order to enjoy your life here as an expatriate, you must understand the immigration laws and necessary permits that you will be dealing with on an everyday basis. 

Residency in Australia

One crucial thing to remember about residency in Australia is that being an Australian permanent resident is not the same as being an Australian citizen. As an expat, you are only eligible to become a permanent resident of Australia. 

An Australian permanent resident is a term for non-citizens who hold an Australian permanent visa or who are usually residents of Australia and hold a permanent visa.

As a permanent resident of Australia, you generally can:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enroll in Australia’s national health scheme, Medicare and private health insurance.
  • apply for bank loans to buy property
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible
  • travel to and from Australia for as long as your travel facility permits.  
  • attend free English language classes provided by the Adult Migrant English Program
  • work in New Zealand

A permanent resident can also qualify for other government benefits and services. However, if you hold a permanent visa but do not reside in Australia, your eligibility for the above may be impacted. Please contact the relevant government departments or authorities to confirm your rights and obligations.

Unlike Australian citizens, a permanent resident generally cannot:

  • have an Australian passport
  • vote in Australian Government elections unless you enrolled (as a British subject) before 26 January 1984
  • access student loans
  • join the Australian Defence Force
  • obtain ongoing work in the Australian Government
  • return to Australia from overseas without a valid travel facility (you do not have the automatic right of entry to Australia). 

Please visit the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website for more information on traveling as an Australian permanent resident. 

​​​Individuals can become permanent residents of Australia in different ways. Three common ways of becoming a permanent resident are through gaining:

  • a family-stream permanent visa
  • a work-stream permanent visa
  • business or investor-stream permanent visa

If your visa has a “no further stay” condition, you cannot extend your stay in Australia to apply for permanent residency.

Family-stream permanent residence visas

A family-stream permanent residence visa is applicable for: 

  • partners, children, parents or dependent relatives of an Australian citizen, permanent resident of Australia or Eligible New Zealand citizen
  • children being adopted or in the process of being adopted outside of Australia
  • caregivers who need to move to Australia to provide long-term care for an approved relative

Please visit the official website of the Department of Home Affairs to learn more about permanent visa options for families. 

Work-stream permanent residence visas

A work-stream permanent residence visa is applicable for workers who have an Australian employer sponsoring them to work in Australia or have skills that Australia values.

Please visit the Department of Home Affairs’s official website to learn more about permanent visa options for workers.

Business or investment-stream permanent residence visas

Another common way to acquire a permanent resident visa is to start a business or invest in a business or property in Australia. 

To learn more about Business or investment-stream permanent residence visas or other types of permanent residency visas, we recommend visiting the Department of Home Affairs’s official website. 

How to apply for an Australian residency visa?

To apply for any Australian residency visa, simply follow the steps given below:

  • create an ImmiAccount, and then log in to your account
  • select the type of visa to apply for
  • complete the Australian visa application form
  • upload the required visa documents
  • pay the visa fee
  • submit your Australian visa application

Please note that if any information in your visa application has changed, you can visit the ImmiAccount website to contact the Australian authorities.

Financial aspects of living in Australia

Anyone who is willing to move away from their home country for a better life does so because they want a better future for themselves and their loved ones. Among the many things that make life in a new country better as an expat, the improved financial circumstances peaks in the reasons why. 

Salary expectations 

One of Australia’s unique features is that employers are required to pay their overseas workers the exact amount they are required to pay an Australian citizen for that position. Whether you are a temporary skilled worker or living in Australia with a permanent residency, employers have to pay overseas workers no less than an Australian worker who is doing the same work in the same location, that is, the ‘annual market salary rate (AMSR).’ 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in March 2024, the total monthly wages and salaries paid by employers in Australia were increased by 2.1%, resulting in a grand total of AUD 99,521 million being paid to employees. 

High-quality healthcare

Healthcare is another crucial aspect to consider when emigrating, and Australia’s health system is one of the best in the world.

As permanent residents of Australia, you and your family will have access to safe and affordable health care, be it Australia’s national health scheme, Medicare or other private health insurance.

World-class education system

There is a correlation between a country’s education system and its general state of economy, and Australia ranks among the top 20 in global education systems. 

 

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