How did we select the right visa for us?
I plan to do focused and detailed blogs on the stages at a later date but for now I will give an overview of how we ended up going for the visa we did.
Step 1: So if you’ve read the post ‘First Steps – Making the Decision’ you’ll know that our adventure started back in 2012. After watching countless Australian tourism videos, programs, real estate and nightlife websites we curbed our excitement and got down to the serious business of looking at visas. We made a start by visiting the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Step 2: The website is very well put together and clear, in my opinion. It didn’t take much research time to start to make sense of the visa options. We wanted to go for the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) as we didn’t work for a company that would sponsor us to emigrate and no immediate family living out in Oz. We viewed the Skilled Independent visa to be the best possible one to go for – allowing us the freedom to settle wherever we wanted.
Step 3: The dreaded Skilled Occupation List (SOL). At the time in 2012 my profession was listed and I would have enough points to apply for the 189 visa we wanted to go for (if I did an English test – will blog on this later). It seemed straightforward – we had the points and the profession – where do I sign for my visa?
Step 4: Of course we quickly found out that you cannot simply apply for a visa – you have to be invited. How do you get invited? You have to register an Expression of Interest. How do you do that? You have to register your details via SkillSelect. But of course they need to be able to verify your skills. How do they do that? You need to use one of the many assessing authorities that is relevent to your occupation. If you want extra points you also need to complete an English test. Ok so we got the ball rolling…
Step 5: Jumping through hoops. Do not under-estimate the time is takes to gather all the documents required to get your skills assessed. In our case it took 12 months to go from planning to acting on doing this – and then a further 6 months to actually get this done. We finally got the skills assessment completed in winter 2014.
Step 6: Right, ready to submit my Expression of ….. Uh oh. As we were quite slow on the mark, I hadn’t realised that in July 2012 my profession has been removed from the SOL! Although if I’m honest at the time I didn’t check this often enough or even comprehend that this could happen so we didn’t realise. Lesson learnt right there. Always make sure you keep up to date on changes to the migration policies.
Step 7: This is how we were feeling at this stage….
Step 8: So we looked at the Skilled – Nominated visa (subclass 190). This visa requires state sponsorship, so in order to determine my eligibility I had to visit the individual websites of the states we were interested in to look at their State Nomination Occupation Lists.
We looked at all of them:-
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
Luckily we were eligible for State of Victoria sponsorship.
For more details on the SkillSelect process, please see the next post.