Which Australian Visa is Best For You?

Countless people dream of moving to and working in Australia every single year. Making this a reality, however, can sometimes be difficult due to the confusing process of determining the type of Australian visa that is most suitable for an individual. 

Let’s take a look at the most popular visitor, working, and skilled visas. We will examine their pros and cons so you can find a visa that allows you to live your dream in the land Down Under.

WORK & HOLIDAY VISA (SUBCLASS 462) AND WORKING HOLIDAY VISA (SUBCLASS 417)

Both the Work and Holiday Visa and the Working Holiday Visa allow you to work whilst travelling around Australia. 

If approved for either visa, you can stay in Australia for one year. You can apply for a second year if you complete three months of work in a ‘specified’ field or industry in northern or regional Australia. 

As of July 2019, you can also apply for a third year if you complete an additional six months of ‘specified work’ whilst on your second-year visa, again in northern or regional Australia.

Basic eligibility requirements

  • Aged between 18 to 30 years old; and 18-35 years old for Canadian, French or Irish citizens 
  • Must hold a passport from an eligible country*
  • Can not be accompanied by dependent children

Cost (Government fees): AUD 485

Current visa processing times: 9 – 40 days

*Eligible countries for the 462 visa and 417 visa

If you aim to live and work in Australia long-term, then these visas might not be the best option for you. They are only temporary visas that in most cases only allow you to work for the same employer for a maximum of six months. 

If you are more interested in settling down and working for the same employer for a longer period, a TSS Visa or skilled visa might be a better option.

TEMPORARY SKILL SHORTAGE VISA (TSS) – (SUBCLASS 482)

The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa is one of the most common Australian work visas. It allows Australian employers to fill gaps in their workforce with overseas workers who are skilled in a particular occupation. 

Anyone can apply but you must meet several requirements first and have an employer ready to nominate you for a specific job. 

The TSS visa can allow you to work in Australia for up to 4 years, depending on the type of occupation you’re being nominated for. In some cases, it can also allow you to work up towards permanent residency which has additional requirements and some conditions based on the occupation and where you’re working. 

Basic eligibility requirements:

  • Be nominated by an employer who is an approved sponsor 
  • Your occupation must be on the relevant list of skilled occupations
  • Have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience required to perform your nominated occupation
  • Have a minimum of two years of work experience in your nominated occupation

Cost (Government fees): Either AUD 1,265 or AUD 2,645 depending on your occupation

Current visa processing times: 20 – 54 days 

Unlike the 462 or 417 visas, any nationality can apply for the TSS visa. There is no age restriction and your family can accompany you. 

The processing times and costs are also significantly cheaper than some of the other skilled visas we will look at next. Thus, it’s more desirable for people wanting to migrate quickly or see what life is like in Australia before committing to becoming a permanent resident (PR). 

EMPLOYER NOMINATED SCHEME (ENS) (SUBCLASS 186) AND REGIONAL SPONSORED MIGRATION SCHEME (RSMS) (SUBCLASS 187)

The Employer Nominated Scheme and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas are ideal for skilled workers who want to live and work in Australia permanently. Once granted, you have indefinite permission to stay and have full work rights. 

Similar to the TSS visa, you must also have an employer who is approved to nominate you in your chosen occupation before you can apply. The main difference between 186 and 187 visas is the available occupations and the location of the employer. 

If your occupation is on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) you can apply for a 186 or 187 visa. However, if your occupation is on the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL) you are only able to apply for a 187 visa.

The186 visa allows you to work anywhere in Australia, either in regional or metro areas. The 187 visa, on the other hand, requires that your employer be located in regional Australia.

Again, these two visas have similar requirements. 

Basic eligibility requirements

  • You must apply before turning 45 years old
  • Be nominated by an Australian employer who is an approved sponsor 
  • Your occupation must be on the relevant list of skilled occupations 
  • Have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience required to perform your nominated occupation
  • Completed a Skill Assessment (DE only)

Cost (Government fees): AUD 4,045 

Current visa processing times: 9 – 17 months (TRT), 18 – 24 months (DE)

There are two options or ‘streams’ when applying for either one of these two visas. The first and more common is the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream. It’s for people who hold a TSS, 457, or some bridging visas. Also, they must have been working for the nominating employer for at least three years before they are eligible to apply.

The second stream is the Direct Entry (DE) stream. Unlike the TRT stream, there’s no three-year work condition but there are additional requirements such as completing a Skills Assessment. 

For most people, the DE stream would seem the much more attractive option. However, it’s very unlikely an employer will support a DE application unless you already have full Australian work rights or have worked for them previously. The simple reason is that without work rights, you will not be able to start working for the employer until the visa is granted. The current processing time for DE visas is 18 to 24 months, which most employers won’t be able or willing to wait for.

Note: On 16th November 2019 the 187 visa will be replaced by the 494 visa. There will be more available occupations as well as some other changes to the requirements and validity of the visa.

SKILLED NOMINATED VISA (SUBCLASS 190) & SKILLED INDEPENDENT VISA (SUBCLASS 189)

The Skilled Nominated and the Skilled Independent Visas are probably the two most desirable visas. Unlike the TSS, 186 or 187 visas, 189 and 190 visas do not require an Australian employer to nominate you. Instead, they are points-based visas.

You will need to check how many points you score and then submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Points are scored depending on various factors such as your age, experience, qualification, level of English, etc. You must also get a minimum of 65 points to be eligible. The more points you score the higher the chance you have of being invited to apply for the visa.

The main difference between the two visas is that the 190 visa is a state nominated visa while the 189 is an independent visa. 

For the 190 visa, each state will have a list of skilled occupations they have a shortage of. The occupations can be from either the MLTSSL or STSOL. As long as you meet the requirements you can submit an EOI and then wait to be invited by the state to apply. If approved, you must commit to live and work within the nominating state for at least two years.

The 189 visa is slightly different. Your occupation must be on the MLTSSL and you submit your application directly to the Department rather than a state. If approved, you will be able to live and work anywhere you like in Australia.

Basic eligibility requirements

  • You must apply before turning 45 years old
  • Be invited to apply
  • Be able to prove a score of 65 points or more
  • Have a competent level of English 
  • Completed a relevant Skills Assessment 
  • Be nominated by a state or territory (190 visa only)

Cost (Government fees): AUD 4,045 

Current visa processing times: 9 – 22 months (once invited to apply)

 

Choosing the right visa takes time and must be given careful consideration. You have to review your eligibility and think about your objectives once you have been granted permission to come to Australia.

For the majority of the people who are overseas and want to migrate permanently, 189 and 190 visas are in most cases the best options. However with more requirements, higher costs and longer processing times, these aren’t always the feasible options.

If you would rather want a quicker solution that is more affordable and can still lead to PR, then the TSS visa is the preferred choice.

Want to learn more about how the TSS visa works? Visit our Help Centre today. 

Leave your thoughts

Great tools to help you
Free TSS Visa Test
TSS Visa Help

Address

Level 2, 696 Bourke Street,
Melbourne, VIC, 3000