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Immigration Services in Australia

Numerous countries of the world have in their population structure a share of foreigners relocated on a temporary or permanent basis. Given the fact that people have a wide range of options for relocating to a foreign country and that international transportation connects most of the world’s nations, foreign citizens can now relocate to basically all the states that have an immigration policy.

This is also the case of Australia, a country that is more isolated compared to other nations of the world, but which represents a very developed economy. Persons who want to immigrate to Australia can relocate here based on an employment visa, a visa for study purposes, family reunification programs and other types of visas prescribed by the national law.

Quick Facts  
Entry visa requirement (from EU)  (YES/NO)

Yes, EU citizens need to obtain a visa even for short stays.

Entry visa requirement (outside EU) (YES/NO)

Yes, necessary for all foreigners, with the exception of New Zealand citizens, who can enter Australia without a visa, but who will receive the SCV visa upon entry.

Types of visas available

 Visas for tourism and visits/ visas for study / work visas / permanent residency visas / family reunification visas / humanitarian visas / refugee visas / other category 
Time frame for obtaining work visa (approx.) 

It varies greatly depending on the visa stream – for instance, for the permanent work visa of Subclass 186, the processing time can vary from 5 to 20 months.

Validity of temporary residence permit It depends on the visa that granted the residency permit  – usually, the permit is available for 18-24 months, but it can increase to 4-5 years. 
Time frame for obtaining permanent residence (approx.)

In general, permanent residency can be acquired after 4 years of living here – the document can be issued in 6 to 12 months.

Investor Visa Availability (YES/NO)

 Yes (Subclass 891)

Sponsorship requirement (YES/NO) Yes (it depends on the visa the applicant needs) 
Time frame for obtaining citizenship One can start this process after 1 year of being a permanent resident in Australia – applications for citizenship by descent are processed in approx 5 months, while applications for citizenship by conferral, in 9-17 months.
Citizenship/Residency by investment scheme availability (YES/NO) There isn’t a direct program for citizenship, but permanent residency is available through investments.
 Tax benefits for expats  They can apply on employment matters, capital gains and others / temporary residents do not have to pay taxes in Australia.
Visa issuance fees   The fees vary from AUD 0 to AUD 13,860.  

Fees charged for the issuance of a residence permit  

 AUD 1160 – AUD 4640 (they vary based on the age of the applicant and the type of permit).  

 Institution in charge with the immigration formalities  

 Immigration services in Australia are completed with the assistance of the Department of Home Affairs.  

 Right to appeal a visa refusal (yes/no)  Yes 
 When can a person make an appeal  

 A foreigner can make an appeal if the visa application has been denied within a certain amount of time since the date of the decision (9 days for situations regulated under the Section 501 and 501CA of the Migration Act 1958 or 28 days for all other situations).

The appeal can be made for all situations, including those of refusal for the issuance of a protection visa, or of those refused on character grounds.  

 Fee exemption for the issuance of a residence permit (yes/no) 


 When can a foreigner be exempted from fee payment  

 Immigration services in Australia offered by the Australian immigration institutions can be exempted from the payment of fees for certain categories of visas (for example, Subclass 802 – Child visa, Subclass 808 – Confirmatory Residence Visa, Bridging Visa A/C/D/F, etc.). 

How long does it take to obtain a business visa?   

 It depends on the business stream selected by the investor.

Visa applications can be processed in a period of up to 36 months or even more (such as it is the case for the Subclass 888 – Business Innovation and Investment visa). 

 Registration obligations  

 Persons who are issued with Australian visas that grant the right to residency here must apply for an ImmiCard, which is similar to an identity card fo foreigners available on the Australian territory. 

 What happens in case of overstaying a visa?  

Overstaying a visa can have negative consequences for a person.

Provided that the person has contacted the immigration authorities withing the first 28 days since the expiration of the visa, a bridging visa can be issued (but this depends on the visa the person initially was issued with).

For overstays longer than 28 days, a period of exclusion from any other visas will apply.

The person can be arrested, deported and required to pay specific fees associated with the procedure.   

 Ways to acquire citizenship

Citizenship in Australia can be acquired by birth, by descent or by conferral (naturalization).  

 Requirements for citizenship by naturalization 

 The person must be a permanent resident (living in Australia for minimum 4 years under a permanent visa), initiate the application from Australia, show intention of staying in Australia, be the holder of a Special Category visa for at least 12 months prior to the application. 

Fees for citizenship application  

 AUD 0 to AUD 540.

 Residency rights for refugees 

Refugees receive the right to long-term residency (of 3 years) which can later be transformed in permanent residency.

They can work in Australia, if they meet the basic requirements, and they are entitled to receiving assistance in finding a job, obtaining financial assistance based on their needs (children, disability, etc.), obtaining housing.  

 Laws on immigration in Australia   Immigration services in Australia, immigration rules and regulations and other procedures are prescribed by the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994.  

For in-depth advice on the types of immigration documents available for a specific nationality, you can rely on the services of our immigration lawyer in Australia, who can explain the legal procedures a foreigner should expect when relocating here (applying for a visa, obtaining a residence permit in Australia, renewing his or her immigration documents and others).

Residency in Australia can be granted on a temporary or permanent basis. The latter can be obtained through 3 main visa pathways:

  1. visas issued for employment;
  2. visas for business purposes or for investors;
  3. visas issued for family reunification.

Foreigners must know that the Australian authorities issue a limited number of visas per year. For instance, for 2022-2023, the work visa stream accounts for 142,400 visas.

What are the basic services in order to immigrate to Australia?

As a foreigner, you can arrive in Australia for different reasons and for each type of situation that determined the need to relocate in this country, one has to apply for a specific type of visa (there are certain exemptions from this regulation, which can be detailed by our immigration lawyer in Australia).

Our immigration lawyer in Australia can provide a wide range of services to foreigners which are divided based on the reasons for arrival in this country; you can request information on the full list of documents one should prepare when applying for a visa, as well as on the specific type of visa that one should apply for (Australian visas are divided into numerous categories and sub-classes). As a general rule, such documents can be divided between the following:

• general work visas – persons who would like to immigrate to Australia can apply for a Temporary Skills Shortage Visa, a Training Visa or a Working Holiday Visa, to name a few;
• visas for skilled employees – foreigners can obtain visas such as the Temporary Graduate Skilled Visa, the Skilled Work Regional Visa or the Skilled Nominated Visa;
• visas for study purposes – our immigration lawyer in Australia can help young foreigners in enrolling with local education institutions by applying to one of the numerous visa options available for this category of persons;
• visas for family reunification programs – such visas are available for persons living here who want to bring their close family members to Australia, such as parents, spouses or children, but foreigners can also apply for fiancé visas, which allow the right to get married to a person with Australian citizenship;
• business visas – foreigners interested in developing a business here can apply for various business visas (issued on a temporary basis) that can provide the right to permanent residency in this country (through a residence permit in Australia).

Immigrate to Australia

Visa options for employment in Australia

We presented above some of the main options through which a foreigner can obtain a visa in Australia, some of them referring to visas for employment purposes. As we mentioned earlier, the Australia visa schemes offers a wide variety of visas for work-related purposes. Immigration in Australia for employment can be achieved through the following visa categories:

• employment visas issued for immigration to Australia for short-term stays;
• visas created for innovation purposes, under the Global Talent Program, which aims at attracting highly skilled employees;
• visas issued for temporary work in Australia – in some cases, the applicant will need to obtain a sponsorship;
• visa issued for permanent employment in Australia – here, there is a wide range of options available for foreigners and our immigration lawyer in Australia can present the full list of visas;
• visas issued for skilled occupations – they are addressed to certain professionals who are in demand on the local employment market.

It must be noted that foreigners who immigrate to Australia for employment reasons benefit from the same rights as the local citizens or permanent residents. This is guaranteed under the Australian legislation and it is granted regardless of the visa type through which the foreigner arrived in this country and regardless of the person’s citizenship. Through some of these visas, one can also relocate here on a permanent basis and apply for Australian citizenship after living here for several years.

What is the latest data on immigration in Australia?

The data on the number of foreigners living in Australia is gathered by the Department of Home Affairs of the Australian Government. The institution has made public the statistics on the immigration program for 2018-2019, which reveals that immigration to Australia was mainly done through work opportunities and then through family-related options, as follows:

immigration documents related to employment accounted for 109,713 approvals;
• the highest number of employment visas was issued as employer-sponsored visas (35,879);
immigration to Australia related to family purposes accounted for 47,247 documents in 2018-2019, accounting an increase of 5,1% compared to the previous year;
• the highest number of visas for family-related matters was issued as partner visas (20,490)
• the highest number of immigrants arrived from India (33,611 persons), China (24,282 persons) and the United Kingdom (13,689 persons).

Obtaining the refugee status in Australia

A refugee is a person who needs to leave his or her home country due to various reasons that are threatening the person’s life or integrity. A refugee in Australia, or an asylum seeker, can obtain this status through a process which is called refugee status determination.

Through this process, the asylum seeker presents the reasons for which he or she needs to relocate from his or her home country and, after this, the Australian officials will provide the refugee status, if it meets the definition of the Refugee Convention. You may find out more on this subject from our immigration lawyer in Australia, who can also legally represent a refugee in this process.

The legislation for immigration in Australia provides visas for humanitarian reasons, but also visas for refugees which can be granted for onshore purposes or for offshore purposes, depending on the location of the respective asylum seeker. Generally speaking, persons seeking asylum in Australia can apply for a Protection visa (subclass 866), which provides the right to permanent protection.

One can apply for a temporary protection, under the Temporary Protection Visa (subclass 785). Another option for temporary protection is the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (subclass790). Persons who are seeking for asylum when they immigrate to Australia must know that they can benefit from a set of rights, besides the one for protection against various issues happening in the home country (persecution, war, life threatening situations).

A short presentation on our immigration services in Australia is available in the video below:

Can a foreigner become an Australian citizen?

Yes, foreigners can become Australian citizens. There are several ways through which foreigners can obtain Australian citizenship. As a foreigner who is not related in any way with a local national, one can obtain citizenship by becoming a permanent resident (as a foreigner, it is necessary to have a permanent residence permit in Australia if you want to become a citizen).

The legislation on immigration in Australia prescribes several legal options designed for different categories of citizens. For example, one of them refers to the citizens of New Zealand and the permanent residents of this country, who can become citizens of Australia in given conditions.

Then, another category of persons refers to foreigners with an age above 60 years old, who can become Australian citizens if they have gained their permanent residency in this country, if they are the spouses of Australian citizens, if they are eligible New Zealand citizens with an age above 60 years old, or if they are migrants who have arrived here for humanitarian reasons or who are refugees.

A person is entitled to the citizenship if one of the parents is an Australian citizen, and, at the moment when the applicant’s birth took place, the event took place overseas. However, it must be noted that one of the parents must have been a citizen of Australia at the moment when the birth occurred, so that the applicant can receive his or her citizenship under this legal option, which refers to citizenship by descent. Other categories of persons are the following:

• children with an age below 15 years old who have obtained the permanent residency in Australia;
• persons who had at least one parent with an Australian citizenship at the moment of their birth and who, since then, has lost the citizenship;
• persons who are adopted by Australian citizens from other countries;
• citizens of Papua who were born prior to the year when the country obtained its independence (in 1975);
• persons who have had the citizenship and who have lost it are also entitled to become Australian citizens again;
• persons who are born in Australia and who were considered stateless.

Please mind that the procedure requires the applicant to pay a processing fee. According to the Department of Home Affairs, the application for Australian citizenship by conferral has a standard fee of AUD 540 (fee charged starting with 1 July 2023).

The cost is of only AUD 330 in the case of applicants who have an age of 16 or 17 years old at the moment of the application. For younger applicants, with an age below 15 years old, fee exemptions can apply.

Persons who are married to local citizens can also apply for  citizenship. There are different legal requirements based on the specific situation of a foreigner and this is why we invite you to address our imigration lawyer in Australia for professional legal advice and legal representation.