Australia, known as the Land Down Under, is a first-world oasis in the South Pacific, known for its friendly locals, awe-inspiring natural wonders, and great weather. If you’re staring out a snow-frosted window, dreaming of an exotic escape, Australia may be the place for you. With a favorable exchange rate to the U.S., as of October 2017 ($1 USD = $1.29 AUD), and English as the national language, you may think the only obstacle to moving abroad to Australia is the 24-hour flight. While it can be a straightforward process to move long-term to Australia, understanding the different visa options is crucial in saving you time, stress, and money.
Generally, people looking to relocate to Australia need to apply for either a Permanent Entry Visa, Temporary Entry Visa, or a Work Visa.
Permanent Entry Visa
To receive a Permanent Entry Visa in Australia, you’ll need to apply under “Skilled Migrant” or “Business Migrant.”
Skilled Migrants include the following:
- Those under 45 years old in a government approved occupation
- Qualified workers who can be sponsored by family members living in Australia
- Highly accomplished individuals in specialized fields such as sports or the arts
- Individual sponsored by an Australian company after efforts have been made to fill the vacancy with an Australian national first
Business Migrants include the following:
- Owners or part-owners of a business located in Australia
- Foreign nationals willing to invest significant money into the Australian economy
- Highly skilled business executives with State sponsorship
Spouses, children, and dependent parents of Australian residents can also apply for a Permanent Entry Visa.
Temporary Entry Visa
The Temporary Entry Visa program allows for foreign nationals to live abroad and work in Australia under certain, symbiotic conditions, valid for the duration of the job for which it was approved. This is what the majority of young, graduate level workers who want to live in Australia will apply for. There are a vast array of categories in which to apply for a Temporary Entry Visa, each with different qualifications and restrictions. Some of the most common are:
This is granted to those who want to travel for leisure in Australia, while working on the side to supplement their income. This allows for full or part-time work up to 3 months with one employer in a 12 month period.
This permit is offered for anyone sponsored by an Australian company, who must be present in the country for relevant training.
Allows for religious institution-sponsored priests, ministers, pastors, evangelicals, etc. to preach and undertake missions of good deed in Australia.
Those who have been approved to teach at academic institutions or undergo academic research in Australia. As with many categories of Australian work legality, the institution will need to show that the position was attempted to be filled by an Australian national first. Your employer will need to provide a letter of employment to qualify you for three months, after which you will renew the permit through sponsorship.
This program allows for mid-level employees of similarly focused companies to create a temporary exchange program. Job details will need to be relatively similar for both applicants, both companies will need to submit a letter detailing approval of the exchange, and employees cannot switch employers or change positions during the program.
The Australian Work Visa is granted to those from Canada, Japan, Ireland, Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, or the United Kingdom. It grants limited and part-time working rights for travelers on recreational trips to Australia to supplement their travel budget, ideally injecting that extra money back into the national economy.
Note: Travelers from outside Australia or New Zealand (including the U.S. and Canada) can enter the country for tourism or visiting relatives on a Visitor Visa (ETA – Electronic Travel Authority), which can be applied for online and processed within 24 hours. This grants unlimited travel in and out of Australia for 90 days within a 1-year period. To qualify, you must be free of communicable diseases and have a clean criminal record. This ETA will not allow you to work in Australia during your visit.
As is always the case, international immigration laws are constantly evolving. If you are seriously considering moving abroad to Australia, make sure to contact your local embassy or consulate for up-to-date details regarding visa application.
Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.