Visas for Living in Australia

I have to warn you that I’m not an expert in this area. I’m pretty bad, actually. I’ll just tell you what I know, which is pretty limited. If you’re serious about coming to Australia, it is probably best for you to also do your own research on visas.

Before starting with visa types, you need to know that Australia accepts partners. So, if you are granted a visa, your partner may come as a dependent. A partner is not necessarily a spouse. You can check what it is by searching “de facto partnership”.

Now, visa types.

Work and Holiday

This is the visa I came with. It has a similar concept to the American version, Work and Travel, but is not exactly the same.

This visa allows 1 year of living and working in Australia. You can apply for this visa until the age of 31. Once the visa is granted, you have 12 months to move to Australia and activate the visa. The 1 year time period starts when you arrive. 

This visa doesn’t limit you to a specific area of work. You can work wherever you want. There is no limit on the number of hours you can work either. You can work full time if you wish. The only limitation is the total time for which you are working for the same employer, which is six months. After six months, you have to change your employer or change your visa.

Another thing you need to know about this visa is that you can extend it. As far as I know, this visa was originally designed to provide a larger workforce for Australian farms. If you do farm work (or similar type of work in the outback), you can be granted another year of the visa. Also, I heard that it is now possible to extend it to a third year. For this, you must complete six months of farm work.

For the detailed process of getting this visa, you need to do your own research because it differs for each country. Firstly, only people from specific countries can get this visa. And each country has its own quota. Some quotas are almost limitless, but some, like Turkey, have just 100 people per year. You can check it via the Australian Consulate in your country. If you happen to be a Turkish citizen, read my Turkish article where I give more information about the process for Turkish people. 

For more (and formal) information, please visit Australian Home Affairs website:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-462 or https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417

Graduate Engineer

This is the visa that enables new Engineering graduates to live and work in Australia for 1.5 years. As far as I know, you’re counted as a new graduate up to 2 years after completing your studies. And it is not necessarily your Bachelor’s degree. For instance, you can apply after your Master’s degree (in Engineering) as well. 

If you’re eligible, this is a much better visa type than Work and Holiday as it is longer and doesn’t require you to change your employer. I’d say it’s easier to find Engineering or office jobs with this visa compared to Work and Holiday. For casual jobs, it doesn’t matter.

So what does being eligible mean? It depends on your country, your university and your degree. Check through government websites and your university.

Lastly, the link for this one is https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-recognition-graduate-476

Company Sponsorship

As the name suggests, a company sponsors you to get a working visa. The age criterion is more flexible for this one. You can only work for the company that sponsors you. If you quit (or get fired), you have two months to find another job. If you can’t, you have to leave the country. 

The rules constantly change for this visa type. Previously, you would get 4 years of sponsorship through any employer and any occupation. And you could apply for permanent residency after two years with the same employer. Now, the duration of the sponsorship visa is dictated by a list of occupations. If there is a higher need for your occupation – which means it’s in the long term list – it is possible to get a sponsorship for four years and apply for permanent residency. But, if there isn’t a high need – which means it’s in the short term list – you can only get two years. It can be extended though. Also, if you can change your employer, you can start with a new two-year visa. Lastly, the occupation lists are amended regularly. So don’t get super sad, if your occupation is in the short term list. It may be put into the long term list at some point.

I’d like to write a few words on how to find an employer to sponsor you. To be honest, it is not easy. If you’re already working for a multinational company that has offices in Australia, then it could be as simple of asking your company to organise the sponsorship. Otherwise, it can be quite tricky. It’s especially difficult to get sponsorship when you’re living outside Australia. Once you are in Australia, though, it becomes a bit easier. I know I sound pessimistic, but I can say that finding a sponsor is not impossible. Until now, I have found two different employers to sponsor me. Just put in some effort and don’t give up.

Lastly, from what I heard, if you’re coming to work in Australia from a different country, it may take some time until you’re granted a visa. But, if you’re already in Australia with another visa, it can be a quick and simple process of switching visas. I did it twice, and both times it took two weeks for me to be granted the visa after my application was lodged.

And here is the link https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder/work

Student Visa

You can be classified as a student in different ways. You can come for a master’s degree, language school or certificate program. Australia is quite popular for studying and I heard that this visa is relatively easy to get.

When studying, you can also work, but this is limited to 20 hours/week. If you are a 2-year master’s student, you can work full time during school holidays and have 2-years of post graduate visa. (They might have changed this 2 year rule to something else. Please check before deciding.) Also, if you’re a 2-year master’s student, your partner gets full working rights.

More information is here https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder/study

Permanent Residency

If you’re able to get it, this is the best option. Everything is easier when you’re on this visa. You have medical rights (which is Medicare), you can find a job much more easily and whatnot. However, it’s not very easy to get this visa. 

There are a few ways. One of them is through your employer as I mentioned. If you get sponsored through an occupation in the long term list, after two years with the company, you can apply for permanent residency.

Another way is to apply independently. If you’re a graduate, and your degree is listed as an occupation on the long term list or you are already working in that area, you can apply yourself. You don’t have to be in Australia to do this. There is a general list and state-specific lists, so check both. For occupations on the general list, if you get the visa you are able to work wherever you want. For the state list, you have to work in that state for a specific period of time then you are free to work anywhere. Also the process to get this can be quite complex. There is a points-based system. You get points for your age, education, language skills, experience, etc. You need a skills assessment from an Australian institution for education and experience. The institution and process is different for each occupation. Once you collect all the necessary documents and apply, you enter a pool of candidates. And the government grants the visa starting from the highest point candidates. For some occupations, it’s pretty quick. For some, you have to wait for a long, long time as the pool of candidates is large. It all depends on your occupation.

The two ways I explained are the ones I know. There may be other ways too. You can do your own research and start from here https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/permanent-resident

It’s the best to get information through the government website. For general information on visas and find one for you, you can visit https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder

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