Australia PR Visa

Australia has always been a popular choice for individuals who desire to migrate to another country.  The country has favorable factors such as a thriving economy which means more job opportunities. Australia promises a better quality of life and a multicultural society where there is peace and harmony.

Australia offers a permanent residency or PR visa to immigrants. The visa has a validity of five years. With a PR visa, you can move into Australia along with your family. You can apply for citizenship after living in Australia for three years with a PR visa.

Benefits of having a PR visa
  • You can live and travel anywhere within Australia
  • You can pursue higher studies in Australia and can apply for certain educational loans
  • You become eligible for Social Security benefits after two years of having a PR visa
  • You can sponsor the PR of your relatives if they meet certain pre-requisites
  • You can apply for government jobs
  • You can travel to New Zealand and can even apply for a visa there
General eligibility requirements

There are various categories under which you can apply for a PR visa which have different eligibility requirements. But the general eligibility factors are as under:

Points Requirement:  Points determine your eligibility for a PR visa You must score at least 65 points under the Point’s Grid. The below table describes the different criteria for scoring points:

Category   Maximum Points
Age (25-33 years) 30 points
English proficiency (8 bands) 20 points
Work Experience outside Australia (8-10 years) 15 points
Work Experience in Australia (8-10 years) 20 points
Education (outside Australia) – Doctorate degree 20 points
Niche skills such as Doctorate or master’s degree by research in Australia 10 points
Study in a regional area 5 points
Accredited in community language 5 points
Professional year in a skilled program in Australia 5 points
State sponsorship (190 visa) 5 points
Skilled spouse or de facto partner (Age, Skills & English language requirements to be met) 10 points
Spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’ (No need to meet Skills requirement or age factor) 5 points
Applicants without a spouse or de facto partner or where a spouse is an Australia citizen or PR holder 10 points

Age: Your age should be below 45 years to apply for a PR visa

Language Proficiency: You should have proof that you have a competent level of proficiency in the English language.

Skilled Occupation Lists (SOL): The applicant must choose an occupation that is available in the following skilled occupation lists. The list contains the occupations that are currently acceptable for migration to Australia. The occupations in the lists are updated regularly and reflect the changes in the Australian labor market. There are three categories of the SOL:

  1. Medium- and long-term Strategic Skills List
  2. Short-term Skilled Occupation List
  3. Regional Occupations List
What are the various Australian PR Visa Categories an applicant can choose?

Australia offers many options to apply for the PR visa card. You can choose the appropriate option based on your eligibility and requirements. Here are the popular options for your Australian PR:

Family-stream permanent residence visas: This stream is for spouse/partner, children or parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Business or investment-stream permanent residence visas: This stream is for those willing to invest in Australia for business purposes. To be eligible to apply for PR under this stream, applicants should have had the provisional visa (subclass 188) for at least one year and meet the financial requirements.

Work-stream permanent residence visas: This visa stream is for workers who are sponsored by an Australian employer. The various visa categories under this stream include:

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189): This visa option is suitable for skilled workers. However, this visa cannot receive sponsorship.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190): This visa is applicable to skilled workers who have a nomination from an Australian state/Territory. For this visa, you will have to prove that your occupation exists in the Skilled Occupation List.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491):  For eligibility under this visa, you must meet the skill requirement and get sponsorship or nomination from either state or region or territory.

Documents required in PR visa application:
  • Application form
  • Report of Educational Credential Assessment
  • Birth certificate
  • Character certificate
  • Proof of nomination (if any)
  • Test results of IELTS or PTE exam for English proficiency
  • 2 passport size photos
  • Spouse Skill documents if a spouse is also applying for a PR visa
  • Police Clearance Certification (PCC)
  • Business reference letters
Steps in the PR application process

Step 1:  Check the eligibility requirements

  • Check if you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Verify if your occupation is present in the list of occupations in demand.
  • Check if you have the required points based on the points table.

Step 2: English proficiency Test

Check if you have the required proficiency in the English language by taking the specified English language test. Fortunately, the Australian immigration authorities accept scores from various English ability tests like IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, etc. So, you can take any of these tests to obtain the specified score.

Step 3: Get your skill assessment done

Get your skills assessed by the Skills assessment authority which is an organization that will assess your skills, education and work experience based on Australian standards.

Step 4: Register your Expression of Interest

  • The next step is to register an Expression of Interest (EOI) on Australia’s Skill Select website. You should fill an online form in the SkillSelect portal where you should give responses to questions on your skill which is again based on the visa subclass you are applying under. The SkillSelect program offers three visa categories under which you can apply for a PR visa.
  • Skilled Independent Visa Subclass 189
  • Skilled Nominated Visa 190
  • Skilled regional (provisional) Subclass 491

The first two are permanent visas while the third one is a temporary visa with a validity of five years which can later be converted to a PR visa.

You should provide all the required information in the online application.

Step 5: Get your Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Once you submit your application and if it meets all the requirements then you will get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Australia PR.

Step 6: Submit your PR application

The next step is to submit your PR application. You must submit it within 60 days. The application must have all the supporting documents for processing your PR visa. These documents are your personal documents, immigration documents, and work experience documents.

Step 7: Get your clearance certificates

The next step is to submit your police clearance certificates. After a medical examination, you must submit your medical clearance certificate.

Step 8:  Get your PR visa

The last step is getting your PR visa.

How much time does a PR visa take?

If you diligently follow all the steps involved in the PR application process, the next question would be how long it will take for the visa to be processed. PR visa processing includes different stages. Each stage has a different time structure.  Here is a breakdown of the time taken for each stage. The addition of the time taken for each stage determines the total processing time for your PR visa.

  1. Skill assessment: This is done by a designated skill assessment body. Based on how soon you submit your documents, you will get a faster response from them. The processing time ranges from 45 to 60 days.
  2. Expression of Interest: The processing time depends on your eligibility score. The higher your score, the better are your chances to get an invitation to apply (ITA).
  3. Visa Application Submission: After you receive your ITA, you must submit your visa application to the DHA or the Department of Home Affairs. This must be done within 60 days of receiving your ITA.
  4. Medical and character certificate: The character and medical certificates may take some time to be processed. It is better if you start the process of getting these documents as soon as you receive your ITA so that you can submit your visa approval as soon as possible.
  5. Visa Approval: Once you submit the required document, the DHA conducts thorough research of your profile. If they are happy with your profile, they will give you a visa grant. This process takes about 3 to 5 months.
  6. Preparation for Departure: Once you get your visa approval, you will have to move to Australia within six months.

Getting your PR visa for Australia can be a complicated process, but with the help of an immigration consultant, it can be easy. Our expertise of over 15 years has helped many individuals to get their Australia PR visa.

Cost of Australia PR visa?

The application process for the PR visa through the General Skilled Migration program follows a set process that contains a series of steps. These include Skills Assessment, English language test, medical test, police clearance, etc. Each step comes with its own separate cost. The sum total of all these costs will give you the total cost of the PR visa along with the visa application fees.

Overview of costs in the PR application process:

The PR visa application starts with a Skills Assessment where your skills and qualifications are reviewed by an accreditation body affiliated with the Australian Government. You’ll have to pay the Skills Assessment fees for this, which vary depending on the profession.

You will have to prove your English skills by taking some of the Australian Government’s accredited English language exams. Those include IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc. Again, the cost of the exam can vary depending on the exam you choose.

Applying for PR under Subclass Visa 190 requires State sponsorship. This makes you for state nomination for your PR visa. State Sponsorship fees vary with each state, the average cost is around AUD 300.

When applying for your PR visa, you and your dependents should submit certificates for good health and character. For this, you will have to pay for a medical examination and a police clearance certificate.  The cost of the police clearance certificate depends on the country you are from.

Variation in cost:

Please note that the cost of PR visa application changes periodically. The cost is dependent on the date the application is filed. If the cost of the application increases between the date of filing and the time it reaches the immigration department then you will have to pay as per the new charges.

Total cost for the PR visa:

The total cost of your PR visa depends on the kind of visa you are applying for, its application fees, fees for medical examination, English language test, health insurance, number of dependents, airfare to Australia and other miscellaneous costs.

Changes to the points system

The Australian government implemented changes to its points-based immigration system. Below are the changes to the points-based system:

  • 10 points to applicants who do not have a spouse or a partner.
  • 10 points if you have a skilled spouse or partner
  • 15 points for applicants who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by a family member residing in Australia
  • 10 points for applicants for STEM qualifications
  • 5 points for applicants who have a spouse or partner who has competent English. The spouse or partner need not go through a skill assessment if this is the case

The above changes have created an impact on General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa categories.

Introduction of two new regional visas

The Australian government introduced two visas that came into effect from November 2019. This is intended to attract skilled migrants to settle down in regional areas. The two visas Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494) will have 25,000 visa places reserved for them out of the total permanent migration planning level of 160,000 by the Australian government. The two new visas have replaced the Subclass 489 and Subclass 187 visas.

The key changes these visas have brought include:

  • Priority processing of these visa applications
  • Visa holders will be eligible for permanent residency without the need to undergo a second nomination stage
  • Subclass 491 visa applicants get access to more points
  • Regional visas have a wider range of occupations compared to non- regional pathways
  • The time required to live and work in regional Australia has been extended to three years from the earlier two years
  • The validity of the visa has been extended to five years

The Australian government introduced these visas to encourage immigrants to settle in regional areas and reduce their concentration in the three major cities of Australia.  These visas are expected to provide incentives to migrants to settle in regional Australia and consequently help to improve the economy in these regions.

You can become an Australian citizen through permanent residency, also called as conferral by the Australian government. This is the most popular way to become an Australian citizen.

For this, you will have to fulfill the residence requirements. This is based on the period you have lived in Australia and the time you have spent outside the country.

The residence requirements include:

  • Must have been living in Australia on a valid visa for four years before the date of application
  • Must have lived the last 12 months as a permanent resident
  • Must not have been away from Australia for more than one year in this four-year period
  • Must not have been away from the country for more than 90 days in the year you are applying for the PR visa

Citizenship through residency is possible if the individual stays continuously in Australia for four years on a qualifying visa that includes living in the country for one year as a permanent resident.

Qualifying visas that will help you stay continuously in the country for four years are:

  • Skilled migration: There are various visa categories under skilled migration. Eligibility for these visas is based on a points-based system. Points are given based on age, educational qualification, English language skills. You must score a minimum of 65 points to be eligible for this visa. If your occupation is in demand and appears in the Skilled Occupation List, then you will have more visa options.
  • Employer-sponsored visa: You can move to Australia on this visa if you can find an Australian employee who is ready to sponsor you.
  • Business visas: You can apply for these visas if you are willing to start a business or invest in Australia. The visa can give you permanent residency and subsequently Australian citizenship.
Skill assessment for permanent residency:

Skill assessment is an integral part of the General Skilled Migration program which helps to choose immigrants with the right qualities to come to Australia. Without a skill assessment, the applicant will not be able to apply for a permanent residency in the country.

Under the points-based immigration, the immigrant must select an occupation that is listed in Australia’s Occupational Demand List. This list will mention occupations that face a skill shortage in the country. Every occupation in the list has its own skill assessing authority. For instance, trade occupations are assessed by the TRA (Trade Recognition Australia) or the VETASSESS (Vocational Educational and Training Assessment Services).

To get their skill assessment done candidates must meet the required conditions outlined by the assessing authority which is evaluating their occupation. The candidate should have the related qualifications and experience to get a positive assessment.

The first requirement for a skill assessment is that your occupation must be related to your work experience. If there is a mismatch, then you will not get the required points.

Apart from this, you must submit all the required documents. They must be authentic and complete and any small discrepancy in your documents can lead to a negative assessment. You will have to submit every additional detail requested by the assessing authority. The documents should support your qualifications and experience claims.

Factors considered by the assessing authority:

  • Occupation in which you nominated yourself
  • Your qualifications
  • Your work experience
  • The relevance of your work to your occupation
  • Visa category under which you are applying

Apart from this, proof of undergoing a language assessment test such as IELTS or PTE is required by the skill assessment bodies.

You must also submit proof of your work experience, these can include:

  • Payslips
  • Employer reference letters
  • Recent bank statements that show salary credits

You must also submit proof of undergoing a language assessment test such as IELTS or PTE as required by the skill assessment bodies.

Skill Assessment is an important factor in the General Skilled Migration program and getting a positive skill assessment report is the crucial first step in getting a PR visa to Australia.

Permanent residency with a state nomination:

With a state nomination, you can get a skilled migration visa to migrate to Australia.   For receiving a state nomination, your occupation must be featured in the State Nominated Occupation list and meet all the eligibility requirements of state and federal governments.

Subclass 190 visa

The Subclass 190 visa is for aspiring immigrants who have the skills and abilities that are in demand in specific states of the country. However, these aspirants might not have the required points to qualify for a skilled independent visa under the Skilled Migration program. The advantage of the Subclass 190 visa is that it entitles for a faster visa.

 The Subclass 190 visa is basically a Skilled nominated visa targeting the skilled experts and tradespeople who can be nominated by an Australian state or territory. This visa was designed to enable migrants belonging to occupations in high demand in Australia’s labor market.

Eligibility requirements for Subclass 190 visa

  • Nomination or sponsorship from an Australian state or territory after submitting the EOI
  • Experience in a nominated occupation on Australia’s Skilled Occupations List
  • Completed skills assessment with a relevant assessing authority for the occupation you have selected
  • Age between 18 and 50 years
  • Meet the basic requirements for Skilled Migration which include English language, health, and character checks
  • A minimum score of 65 on the points test
  • Meet health and character requirements

Benefits of the Subclass 190 visa

This is a permanent visa that allows you to stay in Australia for an indefinite period. However, you can travel to and from Australia only in the first five years that you have a visa. After the 5-year period, you will require a Resident Return (RRV) visa (subclass 155 or 157) to travel outside the country and re-enter it as a permanent resident. Other benefits include:

  • Work and study in Australia without restrictions
  • Stay in Australia for an unlimited period
  • Subscribe for Australia’s universal healthcare scheme
  • Apply for Australian citizenship
  • Sponsor eligible relatives for temporary or permanent visas

Obligations under the visa include living for two years in the Australian state or territory under which the immigrant has been nominated. The visa holder can apply for a change of status after two years and can live or work anywhere in Australia.

Graduate Temporary visa (Subclass 485) to permanent residency:

This visa is for migrant students who have studied for two years in Australia. They can live and work here between 18 months and 4 years.

There are two streams for the Subclass 485 visa:

  • Graduate work: This is for students who have completed 2 years of study in Australia. Their course of study must be related to the nominated occupation. The validity of the visa is 18 months.
  • Post-study work: This visa is for international students who have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher degree at an Australian institution. They can stay on this visa for up to 4 years. However, these applicants will not need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

The length of stay depends on the applicant’s qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree – 2 years
  • Research-based master’s degree – 3 years
  • Ph. D. – 4 years

Family members can be included in this visa. The privileges offered in this visa are:

  • Work and live in Australia on a temporary basis
  • Study in Australia
  • Travel in and out of the country during the visa’s validity

With this visa, graduates can decide to stay and work in Australia and apply for job opportunities. On the Subclass 485 visa, students can apply for a permanent resident visa provided they meet the points requirements and eligibility criteria.

COVID-19: I am an Australian PR. Can I leave and return to Australia?

If you plan on leaving Australia and returning, you will have to confirm the travel facility period available on your permanent visa.

Is it easy to get an Australia PR Visa?

Within one year you will get Australia’s residency with a master’s degree, strong English score and work experience on Australia’s skills list. The minimum points to apply for Australia PR Skill Select 189 (points-based) or 190 (State Sponsored Visa) is 65 in 2020-2021.

If you have the required points, you will be selected, and you will get a PR even before you fly to Australia.

Applicants with 65 + points receive a relatively quick invitation to apply. You should expect to be receiving the PR within 5-8 months of applying.

The best way to acquire an Australia PR always depends on the visa system you want to apply for. Each immigration program has its own specific eligibility requirements, conditions, and selection criteria.

In addition, the government sets the migration planning levels and fixes a number of places under each migration program. In 2019-20, the government allocated about 70 percent of the immigration places to the Skilled Migration program.

How many points are required for Australian PR?

The applicants of Australia PR through a Skilled Visa are required to score at least 65 points for filing an EOI. It must be noted here that scoring the minimum points of 65 doesn’t assure an invite for Visa application. As per the latest data, the points needed for Skilled Visas remain high. As a result, several individuals now opt for sponsorship from a State.

As a matter of fact, applicants need at least 70 to 75 points to receive an invite for Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa application. Applicants have various methods to enhance their score – State Sponsorship, Spouse Skills Points and the English Test.

What are the pathways to obtain Australia PR?

There are 3 pathways through which applicants can obtain the Australia PR:

Australia PR through the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

The Government of Australia has launched a new Visa replacing the Subclass 457 Visa from March 2018. It is the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa.

The 482 or TSS Visa is divided into 2 streams:

  • STSOL – Short-Term Skilled Occupations List: If you qualify for only the STSOL, then you do not have a transition pathway to Australia PR.
  • MLTSSL – Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List: If you qualify for the MLTSSL, then you have the pathway for transitioning to Australia PR after 3 years.

Australia PR through the Skilled Migration Visa

To apply for Australia PR through this pathway, you must select the appropriate occupation. You will also need the required IELTS bands score and Skills Assessment results. This is a points-based system. Thus you will have to score the minimum required points which are 65 now. Nevertheless, higher scores will only enhance your chances of getting the invitation to apply for the Visa.

Australia PR as Partner of Permanent resident or Australian Citizen

You can apply for Australia PR as a Partner Visa holder. This is as a Fiancé, De facto partner or Spouse of Australian Permanent resident or Citizen or qualified New Zeeland citizen. The PR Visa, in this case, is offered after 2 years of applying for the Partner Visa. This is based on the current status of your relationship.

How much do I need to invest in Australia to get PR?

Below is the investment required for Australia PR under the Investment Visa streams:

Business Investment Visa: Business owners or successful investors must be willing to invest at least AUD 1.5 million for 4 years

Significant Investor Visa: Individuals who intend to benefit Australia must make an investment of at least AUD 5 million for 4 years

How many years do you have to live in Australia to be a citizen?

Applicants who have obtained their Australia PR after July 1, 2007, must fulfil the below requirements for obtaining Australian Citizenship:

  • Must have resided in Australia legally for a minimum of 4 years
  • Must have resided in Australia for a minimum of 12 months as PR holders
Why is it easy to get a PR visa under the Skilled Migration program?

This is because skilled migrants bring with them high educational qualifications and higher employment potential. This holds the promise of a better contribution to the economy. Migrants who are sponsored by employees have more potential to bring the desired results.

With the Skilled Migration stream having the greatest number of places, this should be your option when applying for a PR visa. You have better chances under this stream, provided you meet the eligibility requirements and score the required points. Moreover, the Skilled migration stream is a points-based system and is the most popular immigration program to get a PR visa.

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