Once upon a time, Brits could move to Australia just by paying a fee of £10, hence the ‘ten pound pom’ saying. It’s not quite as simple these days, but there are still a number of visa options available to those looking to move Down Under.
Australia has a skilled migration programme so if you’re in a profession that the government considers to be a shortage occupation, you may be able to apply under this category.
Current occupations on the shortage list include accountant, surveyor, special needs teacher, environmental health officer and dentist. There are also a number of trades on the list, for example, fitter and turners, motor mechanics and bricklayers. The lists are updated regularly so make sure you look at the most up to date list when applying.
The system is points based and you must get at least 65 points in total to be eligible for a visa. You are awarded points for age, health, dependants, qualifications and work experience. If you qualify for a skilled independent visa, which is the most popular route of entry into Australia for migrants, then you will be free to move anywhere in the country and take up employment with any employer.
There is also what’s called a skilled ‘nominated’ visa, which means you have been nominated by either a state or territory that has a specific shortage in your skill area or an employer.
If you are awarded one of these visas, you will be restricted (at least for an initial period) to working in that state or territory or working for the employer who sponsored you. Although these visas are more restrictive, they are higher in the processing queue than independent visas so can prove a quicker route of entry to Australia.
Facts and figures
At some points the backlog in skilled visa applications has been two years or more, so speedier options may well be worth considering. There is a set allocation for skilled visas each year and once it is filled, further applications are not considered until the following year.
All in all applying for a skilled visa for Australia can be a lengthy process so it’s best to apply a long time in advance. As a guide, a skilled independent visa applicant with a spouse is likely to have to pay about £3,000 in visa costs.
From time to time there are also temporary regional visas available to deal with specific shortages in some regions. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the work section of the Australian Government’s immigration website to see what’s available.
Other Australian visa options
Working Holiday visa
One of the most popular temporary visa options for those aged under 30 (and over 18) is the working holiday visa. This allows young Brits (and those from many other countries) to travel to Australia and work for one year. If you spend at last three months of that year working in plant/animal cultivation, fishing, tree farming, mining or construction work, you can get a second year added to your visa.
If you happen to have a partner who is Australian or has an Australian passport, you may be able to apply for a partner visa. Australia recognises both married and unmarried couples, provided they have been in a relationship for more than one year.
There are also visa options for retirees and investors, though you need significant capital to qualify for these categories.
page last updated June 2015