For the talented among us, if you possess certain in-demand skills then you may be able to claim permanent residency in Australia with the Skilled Independent Visa.
The Australia Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) is one of the lesser-known routes to permanent residency but for certain people who excel in certain professions it is arguably the most straightforward.
Put simply, this is a visa for specialists. If you fancy going it alone then the process becomes markedly simpler as skilled workers do not use elaborate CVs and are not pressed in interviews to prove their worth, they are points-tested. The pass mark is 60 and points are awarded for age; for instance being 25-32 gains you 30 points. Indeed, you have to be under 50 to be eligible and at least competent in English which should be a jiffy if you can read this. Final points are awarded for various qualifications and work experience relevant to the nominated occupation.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have a qualification and/or skills in an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Of course, the Australian government only want you to stay if you can help them out with their skills shortage. The list itself is exhaustive, yet of interest may be a recent announcement that chefs, tilers and bricklayers will be added from 1 July 2014. It was also announced that no existing occupations will be removed, which is nice.
That’s right, whether it be cooking, tiling or bricklaying, if you can prove your specialist skill then you may be allowed to stay Down Under. Make no mistake, you will be expected to prove it too in a skills assessment. Due to the varied extent of the jobs that are on the SOL the skills assessment is complex and tailored. This is a necessarily stringent process for providing as much evidence as possible that you can do the specific job without actually performing it in front of assessors. Some authorities require detailed reports of work projects while others demand references dating back to the very start of your career. You must also find out if your skilled occupation requires you to join a professional organisation or trade body. Finally, you must be in passable health, which may require a medical examination, and meet the Australian government’s good character requirements (which is ironic considering the Australia’s heritage).
Following a successful skills assessment and points test combined with a proven competence in English you might be eligible to apply for the visa if invited. That may sound a little odd but this process has been in place since 2012 when Australia decided on an ‘expression of interest’ (EOI) visa system to aid their skills shortage.
If you do want to express an interest in a skilled visa for which you are suitably qualified then you will be asked to provide certain information in your EOI. As well as the previously mentioned assessments you will be asked to provide details on your business and investment experience. Your EOI then goes up online so you may be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application. Note that this is one of the main differences between this and other skilled visas in that successful applicants for the subclass 189 version are allowed a certain degree of freedom as they do not require sponsorship by an employer or family member. Applicants are also left to fend for themselves without being nominated by a state or territory government.
Once you have been issued with an invitation you can submit your final, complete application to be approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection so your visa can be granted. As with the SOL itself the benefits of the visa are also exhaustive. A successful applicant is given a five year multiple entry visa to live and work in Australia. You only need to live in Australia for two of the five years to have the visa reissued for a further five years. Alternatively, you can spend four consecutive years in Australia and be eligible for citizenship.
Very few visas come with a job guarantee yet obtaining the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) is arguably the best visa to maximise your chances of obtaining a suitable job as there are no restrictions. You are even free to work freelance so long as the job matches the description on the SOL. Whatever your talent, if you are experienced and confident enough to work alone and, more importantly, it is in demand in Australia, then this may be the visa for you.