The Australian visa system can be a minefield and at QuickVisas we are used to receiving hundreds of questions each day from our clients and through our websites. In such a life changing process it is important for people to receive the correct information to base their choices upon and we strive to keep our clients up to date with the latest information in a forever changing system.
Listed below is a few of the more frequent questions we receive on a daily basis:
How do I get an Australian Visa?
The Australian immigration system has a vast number of different visa classes, criteria and options. Finding out which visa you may be eligible for or which one presents the best option is the first step of your journey and it can be difficult to assess the right options.
Unlike a lot of other agents and online forms that rely on self-assessment, QuickVisas offer a free initial assessment that will be made by a qualified professional and will give you advice on your eligibility and options. Simply fill in our online form and one of our advisers will review the information and contact you with an assessment of your options. It’s quick, easy, and takes the hassle out of this vital first step of your journey.
What is a Migration Agent?
Migration Agents use their knowledge of Australian migration law to assist people who wish to obtain an Australian visa. In Australia it is illegal to provide Immigration assistance unless an agent is registered with the office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). A migration agent can assist you in:
- Choosing the best visa pathway for your circumstance
- Obtaining a new Australian visa or a visa renewal
- Visa refusals/Cancellations
- Employer nominations or sponsorships
- Dealing with the Department of Immigration And Border Protection (DIBP) on your behalf
- On-going compliance with sponsorship/visa obligations and conditions
Do I need an agent to make a visa application?
You do not need to use a Migration Agent to apply for your own Australian visa, however due to the complex nature of Immigration law many people choose to use an agent to ensure that their application has the best possible chance of success. This has become even more apparent since the recent changes to a wide number of visa classes and the general restrictions across the programs as a whole.
How much does using a Migration Agent cost?
The average cost of using a Migration Agent varies according to the visa you will be applying for and the amount of work that will be involved in your individual case. The office of the MARA has published a list of a range of average fees based on a survey of 70% of Migration Agents:
QuickVisas offer a highly competitive price structure and set out all the fees involved for your individual process up front, with no hidden charges and no surprises.
How should I choose a Migration Agent?
First and foremost your agent should be registered with the office of the MARA Ask the agent questions regarding your options and your circumstances, the work that will be involved and the costs involved. A reputable agent will be happy to discuss your options with you and provide the terms of engagement and fees upfront before taking on your case.
Search for Migration Agent reviews and see the feedback left by previous applicants. Take your time to review your options and if in doubt, ask!
QuickVisas offer a no-obligation FREE assessment of your visa eligibility and always talk you through your options and the costs involved. We strongly believe that word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising so our focus is always on customer service rather than sales figures. This is why our clients have rated us as 5 out of 5 in all aspects of customer service.
Do you guarantee a positive result?
No agent can guarantee a positive result and it would be highly unethical for anyone to do so. QuickVisas can promise you that:
- You will be given an honest appraisal of your eligibility and will only be advised to apply for a visa you have a high chance of obtaining
- Your application will be handled in an expert manner and in accordance with DIBP guidelines and Migration Law.
- We can avoid unnecessary delays in your application by having the knowledge and experience to know the requirements for your particular case.
- We will take away the confusion and complexity of applying for a visa and always be on hand to answer your questions and ease your mind throughout the application.
How long will it take to get my visa?
This varies according the individual visa concerned and on a case by case basis. A wide number of factors must be taken into consideration when estimating timeframes and no two applications are ever the same.
The DIBP do publish current processing estimates on the individual visa pages on their website, however these are to be taken as a guide only and are in no way a definitive representation of current processing.
QuickVisas will ensure that your application is compiled and completed in accordance with all DIBP requirements helping to avoid unnecessary delays to your application. We pride ourselves on getting it right, the first time & every time which can often lead to a very quick visa.
What is SkillSelect? What is an EOI?
On July 1st 2012 the Department of Immigration And Border Protection launched an online service called SkillSelect which enables skilled workers to lodge an Expression Of Interest (EOI) to be considered for a skilled visa. Potential applicants add their details to SkillSelect and are searched for by employers, state governments or DIBP according to the answers they have given on their EOI and their personal attributes.
Successful candidates will receive an invitation to apply for a visa and will then get 60 days within which to complete their visa application.
An EOI will last for 2 years and if no invitation is received within that time a new EOI will have to be lodged. There are no grounds for review or appeal.
It is important to note that if you are making an EOI for a points based visa you must have completed an IELTS test and skills assessment BEFORE you lodge your EOI.
It is critical that a potential applicant knows their visa eligibility and that the information submitted on their EOI is accurate and corresponds with supporting documentation. Due to the timeframes and potential cost implications it is advisable to seek professional advice when going through the EOI process.
What is an IELTS test?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the recognised standard in English testing for Australian immigration purposes.
The test itself has 2 different variations; academic or general and each test compromises of 4 bands; listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Due to the value the DIBP place on English language ability and the number of skilled migration assessment points attributed to high IELTS scores, studying for an IELTS test is one of the best ways of increasing your chances of qualifying for a skilled migration visa.
Can I take other English Language Tests?
Whilst the IELTS test remains the most popular option, the DIBP now accepts test results from the following providers:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)
- Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
- Occupational English Test (OET)
What is a skills assessment?
To ascertain that your qualification is comparable to the Australian qualification standard it is necessary to take skills assessments for certain visas, including:
- Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa
- Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190) visa
- Skilled – Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa
Each occupation or industry has an assessing authority with their own procedures, fees, and processing times. Some of the common assessing authorities can be found below:
- General & some trade occupations – Vetassess
- Trade Occupations – TRA
- Accountancy – CPA / ICAA / IPA
- Engineering – Engineers Australia
- Managers – AIM
- Teachers – AITSL
- Medical Practitioners – AHPRA
- IT Occupations – ACS
Assessing authorities can also look into your employment history to determine the amount of experience you have relevant to the nominated occupation you have declared. The amount of years they allocate will be used as a guide when DIBP assess your skilled points test.
Can I still get an Australian visa if I have a criminal record?
There are character criteria that must be met to obtain an Australian visa, but a criminal record does not automatically rule you out. Any criminal conviction has to be declared on the visa application. When assessing the character criteria a number of factors are taken into account, including:
- Length of sentence
- Nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding it
- Repeat offences
- Length of time since the conviction
- The visa being applied for
- Significant life changes and evidence of reformed character
The character criteria is often complex. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this area please contact a member of our team.
Do I have to have a medical for an Australian visa?
All permanent visa applicants must undertake health assessments as a mandatory part of the application process.
For non-permanent visas the requirement depends upon the length of time an applicant will be in Australia, the countries they have lived in over the last 5 years and any other significant factors.
More information on the health requirements can be found here
I have health concerns, can I still get an Australian visa?
The Department of Immigration And Border Protection will review each case on an individual basis, but in general a visa will only be refused on health grounds if the condition is:
- Considered to be a threat to public health
- Likely to result in significant health care and community service costs
- Likely to require health care and/or community services that would limit the availability of services that are in short supply to Australian Citizens or permanent residents.
QuickVisas will give you an honest appraisal of how your medical condition will affect your chances of obtaining a visa.
Am I too old to get an Australian visa?
Many visa categories, including the Independent Skilled Migration routes have an age limit range between 18 – 45 years old.
There are however a number of options for applicants over 50 years old including family and investment pathways. The temporary business long stay (subclass 457) visa also has no age limit.
I do not have any formal qualifications, can I still get an Australian visa?
Yes you can!
Whilst Australia is looking for applicants with a high level of education and experience it is still possible to obtain a visa without formal qualifications. In most instances work experience will be used as a substitute for the formal qualification.
QuickVisas can also help with obtaining a recognised Australian qualification by having your work experience and knowledge assessed against the Australian qualification training framework.
I’ve been working for 2 years on a 457 visa, can I get Permanent Residency?
This is one of the most common questions we receive on a daily basis, and there seems to be some confusion over this subject.
The Employer Nomination Scheme is an Employer Sponsored Permanent Residency pathway. One of the streams in this visa class is for Subclass 457 visa holders that have worked for their nominating employer, in the nominated occupation for at least 2 years. The time spent with the applicant’s employer acts in lieu of a formal skills assessment.
A lot of 457 visa holders assume that they must work for their sponsor for at least 2 years before applying for Permanent Residency, however this isn’t necessarily correct. There may be faster alternative pathways through the Employer Nomination Scheme – Direct Entry Pathway, or through Individual Skilled Migration.
*Please note that the pathway from a temporary 457 visa to the permanent ENS visa is likely to be affected by proposed changes coming into effect from Mar 2018.
To check your eligibility for Permanent Residency, please feel free to contact a member of the QuickVisas’ team: Contact us
Including family on an Australian visa
This really depends upon the type of visa you are applying for and your individual circumstances. Whilst it should be looked at in detail, in general terms, spouses and de facto partners can be added as secondary applicants along with dependant children and family members.
From the 1st July 2013, DIBP announced new pricing arrangements which incorporate an extra charge per additional visa applicant.