Applying for a tourist visa to most countries is relatively easier than applying for a skilled migration visa to Australia.

The documentary requirements for a skilled migration visa are relatively more difficult to obtain and may take longer to process compared the basic documentary requirements for tourist visas.

Many of the basic documentary requirements are the same for most types of visas but a work visa has some additional requirements. The basic requirements for most visa applications include a passport, birth certificate, proof of income, completed application form and processing fee.

Some countries have special privileges that exempt their citizens from visa requirements to enter other countries as tourists. American citizens, for instance, are not required to apply for visas to enter many countries in Europe, South America and Asia. Australia, however, requires Americans to get an e-Visa.

Australia is among the countries that offer convenient processing of visas online. It has a list of countries whose citizens are qualified to apply online. Citizens of other countries not on the list are required to apply to the nearest Australian embassy.

Applying for a skilled migration visa to Australia involves more stringent requirements because those who qualify are typically granted permanent residence and, eventually, citizenship.

Here are the basic steps on how you can secure a skilled migration visa to Australia:

Determine what type of skill-based visa you need

Australia offers two main categories of skill-based visas, namely, sponsored visas and points tested permanent skilled visas.

Each specific type of visa has its own requirements and validity.

As the name implies, the sponsored skilled visas require sponsorships from Australia-based employers. These include the following:

  • The Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
  • The Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186)
  • The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (Subclass 187)

On the other hand, points tested permanent skilled visas do not require sponsorship from specific employers but the applicants must pass the applicable skills tests. The applicant must also be nominated by a state/territory government or a qualified relative. These types of visas include the following:

  • The Skilled-Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
  • The Skilled-Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)
  • The Skilled Regional Provisional Visa (Subclass 489)

Know if your skills are included in the list of qualified occupations

Research about the qualified occupations and see if your skills match those occupations.

You may consult the website for the detailed list of eligible occupations. The list changes because it is regularly reviewed by the Department of Jobs and Small Businesses.

If you currently hold a valid visa for a listed skill that has been removed from the list, your visa will continue to be valid. However, you might be affected if you are transferring from one employer to another.

Know the specific requirements for each visa

Each type of visa has its own particular eligibility and requirements. You can consult the website to find out the exact details.

For instance, if you are applying for a Skilled Regional Provisional Visa (Subclass 489), your skills must be one of those enumerated in the eligible skilled occupations.

You must also undergo a skills test conducted by a relevant assessing authority. You must be below 45 years of age, have English language proficiency, and must be invited to apply. If you are approved, the visa will be valid for up to four years.

Get assistance from an immigration establishment

If you still do not have a direct employer from Australia or are unfamiliar with the process of applying for a visa, you may ask for assistance from a reputable immigration services company or from the designated government immigration institution in your country.

You will need to pay fees for the services offered but it would be a lot more convenient than trying to figure out the whole process on your own. However, just make sure that you do a proper background check on the company or establishment you are dealing with to avoid any problems down the line.

You may also ask previous successful applicants you know for some tips. They will be able to advise you on the best immigration company that you can contact to get the process going.


Bevan Berning is an Immigration professional and owner of Pathway Visas, an Immigration Agency dealing mostly with skilled immigration to Canada and Australia. Bevan’s enthusiasm for the industry has kept him in the Immigration field for the past seven years. Bevan is South African by birth and has been residing in Dubai for the past eight years.