Frequently Asked Questions
My visa has expired. What's going to happen to me now?
At this point, the news for you is not good. Under the Migration Act 1958, if your visa expires while you are still in Australia you become an "unlawful non-citizen". The Act requires that you must be detained immediately and removed from Australia as soon as practical.
Compliance staff locate people who overstay their visas and become "unlawful non-citizens" and ensure that they depart Australia, if there is no legal reason for them to remain.
If you made an oversight, as soon as you become aware that you are an "unlawful non-citizen" you should make immediate arrangements to depart and contact the compliance section of the regional office closest to your location, with evidence of your departure booking.
Depending on your circumstance, a departmental officer may decide to grant you a bridging visa, rather than detain you. The bridging visa will give you lawful status for a short time and the opportunity to organise your personal affairs before departing or to lodge an application for a new visa, if you are eligible for one.
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I have been offered a job. Can I work?
Holders of a visitor visa DO NOT have permission to work in Australia. Working without permission is an offence that attracts a fine of up to $10,000. It can also result in your visa being cancelled and your holiday cut short.
How can I support my family members and/or friends visit to Australia?
Where a visitor visa applicant cannot show that they have enough money of their own to support themselves during their visit, they may provide an undertaking of support from relatives or friends in Australia. There is no form to fill in for this purpose, but if you want to support a person's application to visit Australia, you can send that person a letter or a statutory declaration that should set out two main points:
* that you know the person and that you are willing to fully support them while they are in Australia, including any medical costs; and
* that you have enough money to be able to support them during their visit. As evidence of this, you should include certified photocopies of bank statements, taxation records, pay slips, and other financial records.
Some Australian citizens or permanent residents may wish to consider formal sponsorship. Their relative may apply to visit under the Sponsored Visitor visa program.
Who may apply for a tourist /holiday visa?
You may apply for a tourist/holiday visa if you:
* intend to travel to, and remain in, Australia as a genuine visitor (not for work, business, study or medical treatment purposes);
* have access to adequate funds to support yourself during your visit;
* are of good character and health;
* have private health insurance (or equivalent) and a 'fitness to travel' certificate from the doctor if you are over 70 years of age;
* have no debts to the Commonwealth;
* do not intend to work in Australia; and
* leave Australia when (or before) your visa expires.
What is an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)?
Australia's Electronic Travel Authority system (ETA) is the most advanced and streamlined travel authorisation system in the world. It is the modern-day replacement for a visa label or a stamp in a passport, although these are still used where the ETA is not yet available.
ETA enables visitors from 33 countries to obtain authority to enter Australia at the same time as they book their travel arrangements. There is no need for the traveller to complete an application form for a visa. The ETA is issued within seconds by computer links between the department, over 300,000 travel agents, more than 75 airlines and specialist service providers around the world.
The ETA system can also be accessed online, enabling tourists and business travellers intending to visit Australia for three months or less to apply for an ETA at the same time as they make other on-line travel bookings.
I would like to visit Australia for a holiday - what visa do I need?
If you wish to visit Australia for the purpose of sightseeing, travel, visiting friends and relatives, or other short-term non-working activities, you will need an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or a tourist / holiday visa.
Can I undertake paid employment while holding a Business visa (Short Stay)?
The holder of a Business Short Stay visa has a work condition attached that states that the holder of the visa must not engage in work in Australia that might otherwise be carried out by an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident (condition 8112). Generally, if you are the holder of this visa you should not be employed in Australia.
Can I extend my Business visa (Short Stay) in Australia?
The Business visa (Short Stay) cannot be extended in Australia. You may other options to apply for another visa.
I would like to visit Australia for a short time to conduct business - a conference, negotiation or an exploratory business visit. What visa do I apply for?
Visitor visas for Business purposes are intended for genuine business visitors seeking short-term entry to Australia for a stay of up to 3 months to undertake business activities such as official visits, meetings, training, building inspections or equipment installation. They do not permit the applicant to engage in work that might otherwise be carried out by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
There are a range of Short Stay Business visas (including the Business Electronic Travel Authority-(ETA)).
The ETA is an electronically-stored authority for travel to Australia for short-term or business entry. It replaces the visa label or stamp in a passport and removes the need for application forms. ETAs are faster and simpler to access and are available to passport holders from over 30 countries and locations.
Passport holders from countries with whom Australia does not have an ETA arrangement should apply for a Business (Short Stay) visa 456.
Who can sponsor my Skilled Migration application?
In order to apply for one of the Skilled Migrations Sponsored visas you or your spouse must be sponsored by a close relative who is:
* a non-dependent child - includes natural, adopted or stepchildren; or
* a parent; or
* a brother or sister - includes adoptive and step brothers and sisters; or
* a niece or nephew - includes adoptive and step nieces and nephews;
* a first cousin (Note: Designated Area Sponsored only); or
* a grandchild (Note: Designated Area Sponsored only)
* living in Australia;
* an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
* is living in a designated area of Australia (if applying under a Designated Area sponsored category);
Your sponsor must be prepared to:
* sponsor your application;
* provide support for your first two years in Australia, including accommodation and financial assistance as required; and
* willing to arrange an Assurance of Support.
Even if you have a relative in Australia who is willing to sponsor you, you can still choose to apply as an independent (your chance of success may be less but you do not need an Assurance of Support).
What is the points test?
For some categories, you must pass a points test. The pass mark changes from time to time. Points can be awarded for:
* English language ability,
* specific work experience,
* occupation in demand (and job offer),
* Australian qualifications,
* spouse skills,
* foreign language skills or Australian work experience or capital to invest in Australia, and
* relationship (for Skilled Australian sponsored only).
Points are awarded once the basic requirements have been satisfied.
Before choosing a category to apply under, you should complete a self-assessment, which will give you an indication of how successful your application might be. Remember however that a self-assessment should not be seen as a guarantee of success. Your actual application will be assessed on the information and evidence you provide. Complete details of the self-assessment are contained in migration booklet 6 General Skilled Migration.
What are the basic requirements for a General Skilled Migration visa to Australia?
To apply for a General Skilled Migration visa to Australia you, or your spouse, must be able to satisfy basic requirements:
* be under 45 when you apply;
* have sufficient ability in the English language for working in Australia. In the Skilled-Designated area sponsored and Skill Matching categories you may be eligible with a lower level of English;
* have post-secondary (such as university or trade) qualifications;
* your skills must have been assessed by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation before you apply. In the Skilled-Independent Overseas Student subclass your skills must be assessed as 'suitable' before you apply;
* have a nominated occupation which fits your skills and qualifications when you apply. Your nominated occupation must be on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL). If your nominated occupation is not on the list, you cannot apply;
* If your nominated occupation is worth:
* 60 points: you must have been in paid employment in any skilled occupation on the SOL for at least 12 of the 18 months before applying;
* 40 or 50 points: you must have been in paid employment in any skilled occupation on the SOL for at least two of the three years before applying;
You do not need to meet the work experience requirement if you have completed an Australian post-secondary qualification less than 6 months before lodging your visa application.
How can I live permanently in Australia under the General Skilled migration scheme?
The skilled stream of Australia's Migration (non-humanitarian) Program is specifically designed to target migrants who have skills or abilities that will contribute to the Australian economy.
There are three types of categories under which you can apply for skilled migration to Australia:
* Independent migrants: you must be highly skilled and have education, skills and employability, which will contribute to the Australian economy. You are not sponsored by an employer or relative in Australia. You must satisfy the basic requirements of the visa as well as pass the Points Test;
* Skill matching: for those who may not be able to meet the pass mark of the Points test but are seeking to be nominated by a State and territory Government or an employer;
* Family sponsored migrants: you are selected on the basis of your skills, age, English-language ability and family relationship. You must be sponsored by a relative already living in Australia. An Assurance of Support is required. You must satisfy the basic requirements of the visa. If you apply under the Skilled Australian Sponsored category you must pa=ss the Points Test.
Applying for a student visa if you are inside Australia
You can apply for a student visa inside Australia if you are:
* currently studying in Australia on a student visa, or
* legally in Australia on another visa and are subject to assessment level 1
Note: if there are exceptional reasons, you may be eligible to apply for a student visa inside Australia if you are assessed at a different level.
Follow this procedure to apply for a student visa in person.
* Complete the form 157A, Application for a student (temporary) visa (subclasses 570-576).
* Prepare the documentation required for your application.
* Make an appointment to lodge your application at your nearest department office. To do this, call 131 881 and follow the prompts to speak to an operator.
* Attend the interview, submit your application form and documentation required and pay the charge.
What do you mean by Registered courses ?
You can be granted a student visa only if you wish to undertake a registered course or part of a registered course on a full-time basis. A registered course is an education or training course offered by an Australian education provider who is registered with the Australian Government to offer courses to overseas students. The Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) can provide details of registered courses.
What is AustraliaÂ´s overseas student program?
The Australian Government operates an overseas student program (OSP) that allows people who are not Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents to study in Australia. Anyone who is not an Australian resident may apply to study in Australia under the OSP. If you want to study under this program, you must obtain a student visa before you can commence a course of study in Australia.