A Little Homesick
The Graduate Escape


Moving to Australia: Choosing the Visa

Ahh Australian visas, the bane of my life.

Having grown up in the UK I didn't really realise that visas were still a thing for quite a while. I mean, I was so used to just waltzing into another European country without batting an eyelid that the idea of having to apply for a bit of paper before even being allowed into a country seemed such an alien concept. I think I was sixteen before I got my first visa and even then my dad did it for me so I don't even know how much it cost or what it was.

As you can probably tell, for a long time I was rather naive towards visas. When I first decided to go to Australia I knew I'd probably need a visa but I had no idea how much it would be, how long it'd be valid for, and what I could do on it. So my adventure into Australian immigration began.

Put yourself in my shoes: I've always wanted to go to Australia. I grew up on a strict diet of Neighbours and Kylie Minogue; in recent years I'd developed a love of Bondi Rescue and Australia's Next Top Model; I even enjoyed the legendary film Kangaroo Jack. If Australia were a person, it would've already got a restraining order against me.

So imagine my surprise, horror and heartbreak when I discovered that, quite simply, Australia didn't want me.

I'd kind of assumed, naively, that I'd be able to jet over there and just live. There'd be no restrictions on working, I could be there for however long I wanted, and it wouldn't cost a small fortune. Alas, no. I don't qualify for a graduate visa. I don't qualify for a skilled worker visa nor can I just buy Australian residency. Really, my only option was the working holiday visa. One year, Β£250, six months with one employer.

So which visa is for you?

Tourist Visa

eVisitor (subclass 651): if you're planning on just travelling around Australia this is probably the visa for you. It's free and allows you in the country for up to three months. Find out more here.

Working Visa

Working Holiday (subclass 417): if you're aged between 18-31 and from one of the countries involved in the Working Holiday Program with Australia you could be eligible for this visa. As I mentioned above it allows you to live and work in Australia for up to twelve months but this can be extended after completing 88 days of regional work a.k.a farm work. Find out more here.

Working Holiday (subclass 462): for those of you from countries not involved in the Working Holiday Program (such as the USA or Spain), you can still apply for a working holiday visa, but you're unable to extend it for a second year. There's more information about this one here.

Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457): if your job is on the skilled occupation list and you've got a sponsor/business ready, this is probably the visa for you. It allows you to work in Australia for up to four years, by which time you can apply for residency. It costs around Β£595 and you can read more about it here.

Skilled - Independent (subclass 189): if you're under 50 and your job is on the skilled occupation list you can apply for the Skilled Independent visa. Unlike the Temporary Work visa, you don't need to be sponsored by an employer to get this visa. Find out more here.

Skilled - Nominated (subclass 190): this is like the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, but instead of a maximum four years, you can stay in Australia permanently. Again you must be under 50 and your job must be on the skilled occupation list. Find out more here.

Photos from Unsplash.com.