How Hard Is It for A US Citizen to Move to Australia?
While Australia may not be the biggest destination for those emigrating from the United States (there are around 108,000 US nationals living in the country), it offers a wealth of lifestyle and work opportunities for individuals and families looking for a fresh start. Indeed, the land which is known for the classic comedy film, ‘Crocodile Dundee’ has a great deal to offer, with the added benefits of being a native English-speaking country and having a similar culture to the US. The distance between the two nations may seem enormous, but a direct flight across the Pacific from San Francisco to Sydney (not the capital – that is Canberra) is a manageable 13 hours. And as soon as you arrive, you will find yourself in the opposite season.
In this article, we will discuss how easy it is for a US citizen to move to Australia and the immigration options available.
What Are the Immigration Options Available for Americans In Australia?
There are several visa options available for US citizens who wish to move to Australia, catering for a range of circumstances. Some of the most popular options are as follows:
Australian partner visas
If you are a partner of an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen, or of a person with permanent residence in Australia, then you may be eligible for the Partner visa (subclasses 309 and 100), allowing you to live and work in Australia. To apply under this route, you will either need to be married or have been in a de facto relationship with your partner for at least 12 months before applying. The cost of this visa is AU$7,715, and it is expected that your application will be processed within 15 months (this is the case for 75% of applications of this type).
Australian work visas
There are several work visas in Australia. For those between 18 and 31 years old, the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) provides US citizens with the opportunity to work and study for a period of up to 12 months. This visa will also allow you to study for up to four months. The application fee is AU$485, and it takes 41 days to process in 75% of applications.
The Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) is available for those under the age of 45 who have sufficient points under the points-based system. The difficulty of moving to Australia on this visa really depends on how many points you score (these are awarded based on factors such as age, qualifications, and skilled work experience). You will first need to complete an ‘expression of interest’ whereby your details are pooled with other applicants. Each month, those who meet a points requirement will be invited to formally apply. As such, if your points are relatively low (you must have at least 65 points to express interest), you may find it difficult to gain entry under this route.
Other work visas that are available include the Business Innovation and Investment, Business Owner, Skilled Regional, and the Temporary Work visa.
Australian study visa
Under the Student visa (subclass 500) US nationals who wish to undertake a course of study will be able to apply once accepted onto a course run by an approved Australian educational institution. You will need to provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) when you apply, proof that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), and pay the AU$620 application fee. With a student visa, you will be able to remain in Australia for up to five years. After this point, you may then be eligible for a graduate work visa to extend your stay.
Other Australian visa options and processing times
There are several other Australian visas available to US citizens, including the aged dependent relative visa, aged parent visa, child visa, remaining relative visa, and the distinguished talent visa. It must be pointed out that the application fees and processing times can vary enormously between visas. Whereas one visa may be processed within weeks or a few months, others can take years. According to the Australian Department for Home Affairs website, “Based on current planning levels and the allocation of the majority of Other Family category places to Carer visa applications, we estimate that Carer visa applications that meet the criteria to be queued are likely to take approximately 4 1/2 years to be released for final processing. Current estimated processing time for Remaining Relative and Aged Dependent Relative visa applications that meet the criteria to be queued is approximately 50 years”.
How Hard Is It for A US Citizen to Move to Australia?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it very much depends on your personal circumstances, what you have to offer Australia, where you plan to live, and what you plan to do. If you are under 45 years old and have strong work skills and experience, then you have a much higher chance of receiving a favourable immigration decision. Indeed, the processing times suggest that entry to Australia is more feasible for work than it is under the family category. If you are planning to work in Australia, but your points are on the low side, you can potentially swing factors in your favour by finding a rural regional sponsor in Australia.
One way you can make the process of migrating to Australia from the US all the more straightforward is to engage the services of experienced international immigration lawyers who can manage the process for you. They will recommend the optimal route for you to take based on your circumstances and that of your family, help you to gather all of the documents you need to support your application, and handle any queries raised by the Department of Home Affairs. Whichever route to choose, we wish you all the very best with your move from the United States to Australia.