How to Move to Australia
Once people find out I’ve decided to move to Australia, the first question they usually ask me is HOW?? It can become quite a lengthy conversation, so I decided to write a post about it and redirect people to my blog instead, the next time I get asked.
It’s pretty timely that I’m publishing this post today because this day last year, I submitted my Expression of Interest (EOI) to apply for a skilled migration visa to Australia. EOI is a form you submit online, which includes your details and supporting information to claim points for the visa subclass you select.
Just to give a quick summary of my situation:
- I applied for a Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190), which is a permanent resident work visa with state sponsorship. I nominated NSW as my chosen state.
- The entire process took about 1 year. I began the process of my application on July 2017 and received my grant on July 2018.
- The visa is valid for 5 years. If I meet their conditions and requirements, I can apply for citizenship on my 5th year.
Just a disclaimer: The stream I chose when I applied for the visa is no longer available (as of July 2018). The Australian government makes changes to their occupation list and rulings every July. If you’re not eligible now, check back again by July/August the following year.
Here’s a quick guide on how to move to Australia on a work visa:
Step 1: Check your eligibility
Before I began my application, I did some research (as one should). I joined multiple forums (Expatforum.com and Pinoyau.info) and lurked around various topics. I also visited Australia’s Department of Home Affairs website, which has a lot of useful and updated information.
Moving to another country is extremely expensive and I would recommend that you check your eligibility before doing anything. You can consult with a MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) registered agent if you’re not confident to do it yourself, but if you’re meticulous (and also don’t want to spend a couple hundred grand more than you should), you can do it by yourself. If you just want to verify your findings, I recommend that you meet with a MARA agent. They can answer any questions you might have and also give their recommendation on what visa stream you’re eligible to apply for, if any. Consultation can be free, but some of them charge a fee of not more than Php1k. I personally met with two MARA agents. In the end, I decided to do it myself given all the information that I was able to gather online.
You will only be eligible to apply if you have more than 65 points (previously 60) in their points systems, which takes into account your age, English proficiency, Australian/overseas work experience, other qualifications, and state nomination (if any). In the end, I decided to apply for a Subclass 190 visa with possible 75 points and Public Relations as my nominated profession.
Step 2: Work on your requirements
Prior to submitting your EOI, you need to work on gathering your documents and other requirements. There are two things you need to work on at this stage – skills assessment and English test.
I was required to submit documents to support my claims that I was skilled in this occupation, which included my college diploma, transcript of records, certificate of employment (COE) from all my past employers, pay slips, and an updated resume. I also had to submit identification documents like the scanned copy of my passport bio page and birth certificate. The cost of the assessment is AU$810, and can take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to complete. I submitted my application on the 17th of July and got a positive assessment on the 24 of July (8 days).
Since I didn’t expect to receive my results so soon, I didn’t book my English test until August (also cause I wanted to pace my expenses). However, due to technical difficulties, the test was rescheduled to September 6. I had the option of taking Pearson’s Test of English (PTE) or IELTS. I chose PTE since most people on forums mentioned that it was easier and only takes less than one day to complete, unlike IELTS. The test cost US$205, but I also purchased the Gold Kit at US$59.99 to help me review. I received my results via email after 2 days.
If you’re not a native English speaker, I recommend you purchase the Gold Test Preparation Kit. Not only will it help you improve your English ability, but the two mock exams will also help you get used to the test format.
Step 3: Lodge your EOI
Once you have all your documents, create your SkillSelect account. If you’re applying for a subclass 190 visa, you’re entitled to claim 5 additional points IF your state accepts your application for state sponsorship. I nominated New South Wales because I’m a city girl, and also cause Andrew is there (if you don’t know me personally, I’ll touch more on that some other time).
Each state has a different set of requirements, so make sure you research them carefully. By nominating a state to sponsor you, you are committing to living and working in that particular state for at least 2 years if your visa is granted.
I lodged my EOI on the 8th of September and received an invitation to apply for the NSW nomination of the 2nd of March – around 6 months waiting time. You are given 14 days to submit your application and pay the fee of AU$300. Applications are processed within 12 weeks. I received my results on the 16th of March, just a week after submitting my application.
Step 4: Lodge your Visa Application
After receiving approval for state sponsorship, you will (FINALLY) be invited to apply for the subclass 190 visa. You will be given 60 days to submit your visa application and settle the fee of AU$3,755. The processing time for this visa varies, but currently it is at 6 to 9 months.
During this step, you also need to work on securing your medicals and your police clearance. St. Luke’s BGC is an authorized health institution to conduct your full medical exam. They charge Php7,750 for the entire health exam, which includes a physical exam, a chest x-ray, and blood and urine work. The results will be sent directly to the Australian government and you are not allowed to receive a copy. As for your police clearance, head to any NBI office. They charge Php130.
I submitted my application on the 19th of March and received my direct grant on the 13th of July – roughly 4 months.
In the start, I was overwhelmed by the entire process and considered hiring a migration agent. However, the more I researched about what I had to do, the more confident I became. (Say it with me – Google is your friend!) And if there was something I couldn’t find online, I’d get on the forums and ask – Shout out to everyone on Pinoyau.info, thank you for answering all my concerns!
I’m looking forward to making the ‘big move’ in February 2019. I’m currently trying to get my shit together before I go, but if you have any Qs, feel free to leave a comment below or message me personally. I’d love to help anyone else who’s looking to move to Australia.