For people wanting to immigrate to Australia, there are two main pathways:
Within these two pathways are several different avenues for immigrating to Australia and starting a new life, which is outlined below.
To become a permanent resident, immigrants can apply under the migration program or the humanitarian program. Migrants can apply for permanent residency in Australia under various different visas.
There are yearly allocations for Australia’s permanent migration program, which include skilled migrants, family migrants and former residents. There is also a yearly allocation for refugees from particular countries under the humanitarian program.
Other paths to permanent residency include the family stream and the business skills stream.
You can view more information about migrating permanently to Australia at the Department of Home Affairs website.
Temporary immigration covers a number of visa categories including:
These visa categories are detailed further below.
The Australian government grants temporary skilled migrants a range of visas across a variety of industries. Some of the sponsorship work visas that are granted by the Australian Government include the following:
The most common of these is the 482 Visa, which has replaced the 457 Visa.
The TSS visa includes three streams - a Short-Term stream and a Medium-Term stream, and the Labour Agreement stream:
Existing 457 visas will continue to remain in effect, but is closed to new applications.
If you have specific skills that are required by employers within Australia, you may be able to apply for a skilled migrant visa. Some points tested visas require you to be sponsored by a state or territory government, such as the Skilled - Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa. Each state and territory government has its own lists of occupations they wish to sponsor.
The first step in the application process is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect which is the Department of Home Affairs’ online visa application system. After your EOI has been submitted, you may be invited to apply for a skilled migration visa.
See more at our Working Visas in Australia page.
Some of the skilled work temporary visas that are granted by the Australian Government include the following:
In Australia, there are also business and investor visas available for people who wish to establish or develop existing businesses, providing certain criteria are met. Potential applicants must also be nominated by a state or territory government agency and be invited to apply by the relevant government Minister.
An example of a business temporary visa granted by the Australian Government is the 188 Business Innovation & Investment (Provisional) visa.
If you are a skilled worker and also have relatives in Australia, your relatives may be able to sponsor you for a general skilled visa.
For overseas students wanting to study in Australia, the subclass 500 visa covers those wishing to study full-time at a recognised educational institution. This visa requires students to maintain adequate health insurance for the duration of their studies. Allianz Global Assistance provides Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the subclass 500 visa.
The 485 Temporary Graduate Visa lets international students, who have recently graduated from an Australian educational institution to live, study and work in Australia temporarily.
This visa has two streams, which will determine how long you can stay in Australia.
The Graduate Work stream
For international students with an eligible qualification who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation on the list of eligible skilled occupations. A visa in this stream is granted for 18 months from the date of grant.
The Post-Student Work stream
This stream is for international students who graduate with a higher education degree from an Australian education provider, regardless of their field of study. This stream is only available to students who applied for, and were granted their first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011. A visa in this stream lasts for up to 4 years, depending on your qualifications. You may also be able to bring eligible family members to Australia with you.
The 485 visa provides opportunities to find an employer sponsor once this visa has expired.
Regardless of which immigration pathway people migrate to Australia, the process can be complicated so you may require the help of a migration lawyer or agent to be guided through the process. If you arrive in Australia on a permanent visa, you might eligible for Medicare benefits. Medicare is Australia’s national health system.
If you arrive in Australia on a temporary visa, the Department of Home Affairs will specify whether health cover is required or recommended. While you are in Australia on your temporary working visa, you will be responsible for all your health costs while you are in the country. Your health costs will not be covered by Medicare unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.
Australia has reciprocal health agreements with a number of other countries, which you can view at the Department of Human Services website.
If your country is not covered by a reciprocal health agreement, Allianz Global Assistance provides Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) for temporary visa holders.
Find out more about travelling to Australia: