It isn’t easy to see how the various stages in the skilled visa application process fit together.
So here is a quick guide, specially written for skilled trades people in the UK that want to move to Australia.
- If you don’t have a qualification that is relevant to your trade already – and even if you do this can make the application process easier – obtain an Australian qualification (an AQF Certificate III) in your occupation. This usually involves submission of documents, followed by a practical test. The practical can often be done at various places in the UK – we work with all of the assessing bodies that assess practicals in the UK.
- Apply for a Migration Skills Assessment from Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) – if this isn’t available from one of the assessors in the UK.
- Obtain formal confirmation of your skilled work experience, also from TRA – known as Migration Points Assessment. (MPA) Although the MPA isn’t mandatory, we generally recommend this is done, as it provides comfort when claiming points for skilled work experience under the skilled visa points test. In this regard, remember that over claiming points when lodging the Expression of Interest (see below) can mean the visa application is refused, leading to a loss of Visa Application Charges paid to the Department of Immigration.
- Undertake a test of English language competency. This is usually required to improve the points claimed for English language ability in the skilled visa points test.
- Lodge an Expression of Interest with the Department of Immigration through ImmiAccount.
- Seek State sponsorship, if progressing your visa application via a subclass 190 or 489 Skilled State sponsored pathway.
- Obtain an invitation from the Department of Immigration to lodge your visa application.
- Accept the visa application, lodge documents, and proceed to visa grant.
The same process is broadly followed by those with other skilled occupations.
Note that State sponsorship can speed up the visa application process, by ensuring that a visa invitation from the Department of Immigration is issued quickly compared with an application for a subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa application.
A subclass 189 visa application does not require sponsorship by a State Government or a family member already residing in Australia.
Invitations from the Department of Immigration to apply for subclass 189 Skilled Independent and subclass 489 Skilled Family Sponsored visa applications can take longer – often several months longer – to be issued.
In this regard we recommend that intending skilled migrants look at the requirements of each State as to sponsorship after they have secured a positive Migration Skills Assessment: these requirements can change, so it is best to review visa strategy again when lodging the Expression of Interest with the Department of Immigration .
Note that not all of the States sponsor all occupations.
A subclass 190 visa is a permanent residency visa.
A subclass 489 Skilled Regional Sponsored visa is a provisional visa, requiring each visa holder to live and work in a regional area of Australia (as defined – eg all of TAS/SA, outside a metro area of Brisbane/Gold Coast in Qld, outside metro Melbourne in VIC, outside Sydney and Wollongong in NSW.
After the principal 489 visa holder has lived in a regional area for 2 years and has worked there for 12 months s/he can progress to a permanent residency visa under subclass 887.
In other words, a subclass 489 visa is the first step in a two stage pathway to permanent residency.