You can become a Australian permanent resident 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 and family visas. In this blog, we will break down the most common pathways to becoming an Australian permanent resident.
People can become permanent residents of Australia in different ways. The three most common ways of becoming a permanent resident of Australia are through gaining:
- a family-stream permanent visa
- a work-stream permanent visa
- business or investor-stream permanent visa
In this blog, we will be covering the work-stream permanent visas only. If you have a family member who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, I would suggest scheduling a consultation to discuss your eligibility for a family-stream permanent visa instead.
What is a work-stream permanent visa?
Work-stream permanent visas can be broken down into two categories:
- Workers who have an Australian employer sponsoring or nominating them to work in Australia OR
- Those who have skills that Australia values and who are eligible to apply independently or have been invited to apply.
You will discover what visas are available in these categories below.
What is the first step to becoming an Australian Permanent Resident?
The first step is to assess your current situation and background to determine which visa subclass may be the best suited for you.
The main criteria that you are looking for are:
- Your Age
- Your English Language Proficiency
- Your Work Experience
- Your Educational Qualifications
Note: If you have a partner, speak any other languages, or have studied in Australia, these may also be considered for certain visa subclasses.
You should start by determining your nominated occupation. To determine this, your educational qualifications and/or work experience must be closely related to a nominated occupation on a relevant Skilled Occupation List within Australia.
What is a skilled occupation list?
Australia’s skilled visa programs are made up of three main lists:
- Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
- Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
- Regional Occupation List (ROL)
These are regularly reviewed to ensure they reflect genuine skills needed in Australia. So what is the difference between the three lists?
Generally speaking, the MLTSSL contains occupations in higher demand in Australia. The STSOL includes high-demand occupations but has certain limitations, especially when applying for an employer-sponsored visa. The ROL is for occupations positioned in regional Australia.
When writing this blog, there is also a Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). This list identifies occupations that fill critical skills needed to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Employer-sponsored nomination and visa applications with an occupation on the PMSOL are given priority processing. The skilled occupation lists mentioned above remain active, but the PMSOL occupations are being prioritised.
The PMSOL is temporary, and priority occupations may change as Australia recovers from the pandemic.
It is important to note that each list has access to different visas. Therefore, it is essential to determine your nominated occupation correctly and which Skilled Occupation List your nominated occupation or closely related nominated occupation falls under.
How to determine your nominated occupation
Firstly, you need to find the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations code (ANZSCO code) for your occupation. The ANZSCO is referred to as the principal source of information on the skill requirements for the nominated occupation used by the Department of Home Affairs. The ANZSCO provides the level of qualification required and/or the number of years of experience a person should have in order to be able to perform the occupation.
How do you find the ANZSCO code for your nominated occupation?
Information on your nominated occupation can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website www.abs.gov.au
Simply type your occupation in the search bar and find your unit group.
What important information does the abs.gov.au website have?
You will notice that your occupation will be in a unit group with a four-digit number on this website. Occupations in the same first four-digit group are referred to as ‘closely related’ occupations.
This website is a great way to find out what tasks someone in Australia would generally perform in your nominated occupation. For your work experience to be considered, you must evidence that the tasks you have performed are ‘closely related’ to those found in ANZSCO.
It can also give you information on what formal qualifications may be required for your nominated occupation in Australia. It may also provide information on whether or not your occupation may require licencing or registration in Australia.
This website also provides you information such as whether or not a certain amount of relevant work experience may be substituted for the relevant formal qualification and/or if additional on-the-job training is required following your formal qualification.
ANZSCO is also broken down into various skill levels which are defined in terms of formal education and training, previous experience and on-the-job training.
How do I find out what skilled occupation list my nominated occupation is on?
So, there are a few different ways to do this, however, a safe and up to date way to start is by going to the Department of Home Affairs website and searching for your occupation. Here is a link to that website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in-australia/skill-occupation-list
This will show you:
- what visas your occupation may have access to
- the relative assessing authority for skills assessments
- what Skilled Occupation List your occupation falls under
What workstream Australian permanent residency visas are there?
- Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)
- Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) – Points-tested stream
- Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
Tip: click on the above visas to review the minimum eligibility requirements and the process for each visa. We cannot express enough how important it is to plan correctly and ensure you are eligible for a visa prior to commencement.
If your occupation does not have access to a permanent visa or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements for a permanent visa, then you may need to seek an alternative pathway. For this, we would highly recommend that you schedule a Permanent Residency Strategy Consultation with one of our Registered Migration Agents here
Skills Assessments for Australian Permanent residency
If you intend to apply for a ‘Skilled’ visa, you must obtain a skills assessment to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills that match those required for an occupation listed on the current skilled occupation lists.
For each skilled occupation listed on relevant occupation lists, the Department of Home Affairs has specified an assessing authority that may carry out skills assessments for that occupation. The Department will accept only a skills assessment conducted by the relevant assessing authority in support of an EOI or visa application.
The assessing authority will review your qualifications and work experience to determine whether or not you possess the necessary skills to undertake your chosen occupation in Australia. Although the requirements for each occupation (and each assessing authority) differ, as a minimum, you will generally be required to provide evidence of your:
- identity (e.g. passport)
- qualifications (e.g. award certificates and academic transcripts)
- work experience (e.g. written work references, tax records, employment contracts)
- overseas or Australian registration or licensing, if applicable (e.g. registration/licensing document)
In addition, you must pay the fee charged by the authority for the skills assessment, and provide any other documents or information required.
NOTE: The exact requirements for a skills assessment application will vary depending upon your chosen skilled occupation and the relevant assessing authority. We also provide Skills Assessment services should you require assistance, and you can schedule a consultation here.
What are the highest-demand occupations in Australia?
- Accountant (General)
- Aeronautical Engineer
- Agricultural Consultant
- Agricultural Engineer
- Agricultural Scientist
- Airconditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber
- Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic
- Analyst Programmer
- Artistic Director
- Arts Administrator or Manager
- Automotive Electrician
- Biomedical Engineer
- Boat Builder and Repairer
- Cardiothoracic Surgeon
- Carpenter and Joiner
- Chemical Engineer
- Child Care Centre Manager
- Civil Engineer
- Civil Engineering Draftsperson
- Civil Engineering Technician
- Clinical Psychologist
- Computer Network and Systems Engineer
- Construction Project Manager
- Dancer or Choreographer
- Developer Programmer
- Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist
- Diesel Motor Mechanic
- Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teacher
- Educational Psychologist
- Electrical Engineer
- Electrical Engineering Draftsperson
- Electrical Engineering Technician
- Electrician (General)
- Electrician (Special Class)
- Electronic Equipment Trades Worker
- Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (General)
- Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (Special Class)
- Electronics Engineer
- Emergency Medicine Specialist
- Engineering Manager
- Engineering Professionals nec
- Engineering Technologist
- Environmental Consultant
- Environmental Engineer
- Environmental Manager
- Environmental Research Scientist
- Environmental Scientists nec
- External Auditor
- Fitter (General)
- Fitter and Turner
- Food Technologist
- General Practitioner
- Geotechnical Engineer
- ICT Business Analyst
- ICT Security Specialist
- Industrial Engineer
- Intensive Care Specialist
- Internal Auditor
- Land Economist
- Landscape Architect
- Life Scientist (General)
- Life Scientists nec
- Lift Mechanic
- Management Accountant
- Management Consultant
- Marine Biologist
- Materials Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
- Medical Laboratory Scientist
- Medical Practitioners nec
- Medical Radiation Therapist
- Metal Fabricator
- Metal Machinist (First Class)
- Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)
- Motor Mechanic (General)
- Multimedia Specialist
- Music Director
- Musician (Instrumental)
- Naval Architect
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist
- Nurse Practitioner
- Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Organisational Psychologist
- Orthotist or Prosthetist
- Other Spatial Scientist
- Painting Trades Worker
- Petroleum Engineer
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
- Plumber (General)
- Primary Health Organisation Manager
- Production or Plant Engineer
- Psychologists nec
- Quantity Surveyor
- Radiation Oncologist
- Radiocommunications Technician
- Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
- Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)
- Registered Nurse (Community Health)
- Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
- Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability)
- Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation)
- Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)
- Registered Nurse (Medical)
- Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
- Registered Nurse (Paediatrics)
- Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
- Registered Nurse (Surgical)
- Registered Nurses nec
- Roof Plumber
- Secondary School Teacher
- Sheetmetal Trades Worker
- Social Worker
- Software and Applications Programmers nec
- Software Engineer
- Solid Plasterer
- Special Needs Teacher
- Specialist Physician (General Medicine)
- Specialist Physicians nec
- Speech Pathologist
- Structural Engineer
- Surgeon (General)
- Systems Analyst
- Taxation Accountant
- Technical Cable Jointer
- Telecommunications Engineer
- Telecommunications Field Engineer
- Telecommunications Network Engineer
- Telecommunications Network Planner
- Telecommunications Technical Officer or Technologist
- Tennis Coach
- Transport Engineer
- University Lecturer
- Vascular Surgeon
- Wall and Floor Tiler
- Welder (First Class)
- Welfare Centre Manager
Currently, these occupations may experience a shorter processing time than other occupations. If your occupation is not on the above list no need to worry. There are hundreds of occupations on the skilled lists. As of writing this blog most states and territories are now opening up to most occupations on the Skilled Occupation List.
Visa processing times for Australian permanent residency
Global visa processing times are updated monthly, providing you with an indicative timeframe for how long the Department may take to process certain applications. Processing times are available for the majority of visa subclasses, but tend to exclude a few subclasses such as those closed to new entrants, subject to capping and queueing, or which have a low volume of applications. Two processing times are displayed in calendar days, indicating how long it takes to finalise 75 and 90 per cent of applications submitted globally.
Processing times are impacted each month by changes in application volumes, seasonal peaks, complex cases, and incomplete applications. Processing times include applications lodged online and by paper.
The 5 circumstances that affect Australian permanent residency processing times
The Department assesses applications on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances, including:
- Whether you have lodged a complete application, including all necessary supporting documents, this is a tip that we will cover below.
- How promptly you respond to any requests for additional information. If your application is missing certain information, the Department may contact you to comment or provide further information. They generally give you 28 days to respond. At Migration Unity, we aim to lodge a ‘decision ready’ application, which is another key tip that we will cover below.
- How long it takes the Department to perform required checks on the supporting information that has been provided.
- How long it takes the Department to receive additional information from external agencies, particularly in relation to health, character, and national security requirements when assessing your file.
- How many places are available for the migration program in that financial year.
The top 3 tips to get your permanent residency processed faster!
Obtaining permanent residency in Australia can be stressful and time-consuming. The process of preparing such an important application without any previous experience or any knowledge of immigration law can be daunting.
It doesn’t stop there. Once you have finally submitted your application, the processing times can also end up feeling like a never-ending cycle of anxiety, constantly wondering when the application will be picked up and if you have made any mistakes.
These days work-stream permanent visas can take anywhere from 6 months to 18 months to be processed, in some cases even longer.
Below are the 3 ways to maximise the chances of your application being processed faster!
1. Prepare a decision-ready application
Knowing the requirements of the particular Australian permanent residency visa that you are applying for will enable you to gather the required documents and supporting evidence prior to lodgement. Having your application prepared correctly will give you peace of mind and may also speed up the processing of your application.
Think about this, the decision maker from the Department reviewing your application is a human being. To them, it is just another day in the office. The chances are the person reviewing your application may be bombarded with many other applications at any given time. That’s why you want to make sure your Australian permanent residency application is as strong as possible before lodgement.
When the decision maker picks up your application, you want to ensure that your supporting evidence is presented in the best possible manner, in the correct format, named correctly, and most importantly, meets the applicable legislation for your particular visa subclass.
This is what we call a ‘decision-ready’ application. If the supporting evidence provided with your application is not prepared correctly, the decision maker is left with limited options. They may either determine that you do not meet the applicable legislation and commence the refusal process or request you to provide further information, which ultimately slows down the processing time for your application.
2. Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
As briefly mentioned above, the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies occupations that fill critical skills needed to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The list is based on expert advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with Commonwealth departments.
Occupations on the PMSOL may be given priority processing which is something to keep in mind. Some of our applicants who have nominated occupations on the PMSOL have been approved within days.
3. Knowing how and when to contact the Department
Firstly, it is important to know that contacting the Department of Home Affairs via phone is not always a good option. Only Registered Migration Agents, Legal Practitioners, and exempt persons can provide immigration advice in Australia. In most cases, when you contact the Department via phone, the person you speak with cannot give you immigration advice.
The Department has various office locations throughout Australia, and each processing team has different email addresses. In some cases, when an application is outside of the global visa processing times, it may be considered appropriate to contact the relevant processing team and request them to process the application. It is not guaranteed that the application will be processed quicker, as this depends on several different factors. However, we often see success in the process.
Alternatively, the Department has a Global Feedback Unit that can be contacted by lodging online feedback or complaint. In some cases, providing feedback and/or a complaint to the Department may speed up the processing of an application that is currently outside of the global average visa processing times.
What happens if my Australian permanent residency application is refused?
Around 40,000 Australian permanent residency visa applications are refused each year. Australian immigration law is complex and difficult to navigate.
At Migration Unity, we understand how life-changing it can be to obtain Australian permanent residency. The legal requirements and policy procedures behind these visas can make the process very daunting without support. Not to mention how costly the process will be if you get it wrong the first time.
People come to us with refusals having wasted thousands of dollars which often limits them to a small number of options such as departing Australia or appealing the refusal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
If you are not eligible for direct permanent residency, alternative pathways may be available. This is very common as many temporary visas lead to permanent residency, depending on your circumstances.
We understand the importance of getting your application right the first time. That’s why we offer a 100% money-back guarantee (no visa, no fee) on our professional fees so you can be confident that your Registered Migration Agent is doing everything in their power to achieve a successful outcome for you.