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Using skills visa to emigrate to Australia

Jul 10 2017 16:38

Cape Town - While most foreign visas require a significant cash outlay, Australia is one of the few countries that offer a visa and citizenship based on career and qualification, according to Sam Hopwood, managing director of Sable International’s Australian office.

This is because the Australian government made a strategic decision on the human resources that was required to develop the country’s economy and visas and citizenship are granted in correlation to this strategy.

“There are 130 000 permanent skilled visas granted every year. The Skilled Independent Visa, subclass 189, is aimed at careers such as accountants, engineers and teachers and is points based,” explains Hopwood.

“About 1 000 South Africans and their families qualify for this visa annually and roughly 3 500 qualify in the entire permanent skilled category."

In Hopwood's view, it’s one of the best routes to residency available to emigrants looking to move themselves and their families overseas.

Once the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) had been awarded, it is independent of any conditions and there are no restrictions on where you can live and work in Australia.

READ: 'Semigration' the new emigration for some in SA

The process to obtain this visa:

- An English language competency test;

- A skills assessment conducted by an independent industry regulator and not by the Australian government. In some cases the assessors travel to SA regularly for the skills assessment;

- A points test based on qualification, age and money available;

- An expression of interest (skills selection);

- Applicants who score the most points by having occupations the most in demand are selected;

- An invitation to apply, the applicant has 60 days to submit a visa application.

There are no interviews or opportunities for the applicants to "sell themselves".

“The process is automated and on-line, there is no opportunity for influence,” he explains.

It usually takes between three to six months for the process. No one over 50 is accepted.

Alternative visa types

Hopwood explained that there are alternative types of visas available for Australia, like an employer sponsored visa and a partner visa being two of the more popular ones.

“One of the biggest obstacles to South African applications, unless of course they don’t qualify, is misunderstanding the qualification process and getting it wrong," he added.

In his view a support network for a migrant is the most critical in successfully moving to a new country.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

australia  |  emigration  |  skills  |  sa economy


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