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How Can I Get A Working Visa for Australia From The UK?

After the less than stellar summer, we have experienced in the UK in 2020, and with Brexit on the horizon, many UK nationals will be considering whether to move to warmer climes, perhaps even Australia. According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, as of June 2018, nearly 1.2 million people born in the UK were living in Australia, with the average age being 56.7 years old.

In fact, so many Brits have moved 'down under', they now represent the largest migrant community in Australia, at 16.2% of Australia's overseas-born population. It is easy to see why 'the lucky country', as Australia is nicknamed, is so popular with the British. It has a young outlook, a modern infrastructure, is highly multicultural, offers great employment prospects, a stunning environment, and, of course, amazing weather. In this article, we will discuss how UK nationals can secure a work visa for Australia, and how the application process works.

Do I Need A Work Visa as A British Citizen in Australia?

Yes, if you want to work in Australia as a British citizen, you will need a work visa. There are several types of work visa available depending on your circumstances; these include:

  • Permanent work visas, including the:
    • Skilled migration visa
    • Business investment visa
    • Distinguished talent visa
  • Regional migration – to encourage workers to settle in regional Australia
  • Global Talent Program
  • Short stay visas – for working holidaymakers, seasonal workers, or highly specialised work
  • Temporary work visas

How Does the Australian skilled Work Visa Scheme Work?

Most British people planning to live and work in Australia will use the skilled worker visa route. In order to ensure you apply for the correct type of visa, it is recommended that you complete the Department of Home Affairs visa finder questionnaire. Broadly speaking, you can either apply as an individual or with sponsorship from an Australian employer.

The skilled work visa system work on a points basis, with points being given depending on your age, qualifications, work experience, and English language skills.

In order to apply for a work visa, you will need to complete several stages:

Stage 1: Verify that you are eligible

This means that your occupation is on the skilled occupation list, you score at least 65 points on the points-based system, and you meet the eligibility criteria. To be eligible, you must be under 45 when you are invited to apply, have a skills assessment from an assessing authority in Australia, meet the health and character requirements, and not have had a visa refused in the past.

Stage 2: Submit an Expression of Interest

You will first need to submit an 'Expression of Interest' (EOI). This is completed using an online portal called 'Skill Select '. It is important to understand that when submitting an EOI, you are not applying for a visa, rather you are added to a pool of potential candidates, and you may be invited to apply if you meet the points requirement. Invitation rounds are run monthly based on the latest minimum points score. For example, in the August 2020 invitation period, 90 points were required under the skilled independent visa route, and 75 for the skilled work regional visa. This resulted in 110 and 90 invitations being issued respectively. As such, the more points you score, the more likely you are to be selected. It should also be noted that because the points required for an invitation can vary each month, just because you are not picked in one month does not mean you will not be in the next. You can also update your EOI information at any time, and your EOI will be retained for two years.

Stage 3: Apply for a visa if you are invited

If your EOI has been selected, you will then be invited to formally apply for a skilled work visa. At this point, it is recommended that you gather all of the supporting documents that you will need to include with your application. These documents will include:

  • Identity documents including your current passport, and birth, marriage or divorce certificates
  • Relationship documents – if you are or have been married, widowed, divorced or permanently separated, you will need to provide proof such as marriage certificates, divorce documents, death certificates, separation documents or statutory declarations.
  • Character documents – including a police certificate
  • Partner documents
  • Skills assessment

Your application must be made online within 60 days of receiving your invitation. The cost of applying is currently AUD$4,045, with 75% of applications being processed within three months.

Once your visa application has been submitted, you will then receive confirmation of receipt.

Stage 4: your visa application decision

The Department of Home Affairs will inform you of your decision in writing, whether you are inside or outside of Australia. If your application is successful, you will then receive your visa grant number, start date, and applicable conditions. If your application is not successful, you will be advised of the reason and whether you have a right to a review of the decision. Unfortunately, if your skilled work visa is not granted, you will not be given a refund of your application fee.

Final words

The working and living opportunities in Australia are considerable, especially for someone who is starting off their career or is looking for a new opportunity. Nevertheless, the process of applying for a work visa in Australia is both lengthy and expensive. For this reason, it is always recommended that you have your application managed, or at least reviewed, by experienced immigration lawyers. It is always preferable to exercise patience when applying for an Australian work visa as even the smallest error or omission may lead to a refusal. If you do decide to move to Australia, we wish you all the best with your move.

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