Which Australian Visa Should I Apply For - Australia Visa Options
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Which Australian Visa Should I Apply For?

Approximately 12 years ago I wrote an article on this website helping to answer the question about where to start if you re thinking about a new life in Australia. There are lots of things to take into account and which Australian visa should I apply for is still a common question we receive from many of our visitors in both our article comments and on our forums.

At the time of the article (all the way back in 2008), I wrote about a thing called a ‘Visa Wizard’ which was a tool created by the Australian migration department to help new candidates narrow down their available visa options.

It was a simple, yet pretty cool tool but unfortunately, as Australian governments have come and gone, it was abandoned and replaced with a myriad of different web pages and links, most of which made the process even more confusing.

Thankfully, whoever is in charge of the Australian migration departments web services at the moment, appears to be a little more clued into the needs of their web visitors; creating an online tool that guides users towards appropriate visa options via a series of easy to follow questions.

We created a user guide last month in the form of our article Australia Visa Options – A Dummies Guide, however, if your preference is to click on boxes rather than reading articles. The Australian government’s Visa Finder could be the tool for you. Let’s take a look at the tool.

Which Australian visa should I apply for?

To begin with, the Australian government’s visa finder tool can be found by clicking here (link opens in a new tab/page). On opening this page you’ll be presented with a number of boxes similar to the image below:

2019 Australian Citizenship Test - Planned Changes

Australia Visa Tool

Which Australian Visa Should I Apply For?
If you are asking which Australian Visa Should I Apply For? The Australian Migration Visa Finder tool can be a good starting point.

When viewing the page review each of the options in turn and select the option that most closely resonates with your requirements.

For many, living and working in Australia on a permanent basis may be your primary desire. With this in mind, we will use this option for our example.

Clicking on the box marked ‘Live here permanently‘ as highlighted in blue below.

which Australia visa to apply for PR

Will then take you to the following screen with a list of visas that offer you permanent residency here in Australia.

Refining your Australia Visa Options

On this page, you will find a list of options which will help you narrow down your search further. In this example.

Australia permanent residency visa options
Australia permanent residency visa options as presented by the Visa Finder tool

As you scroll down the page, you’ll see that each visa option heading has a more detailed overview of the type of circumstances which would suit each visa type.

This way you can narrow down your which Australian visa you should apply for to the type that best fits your needs.

For this example, you might have a skill in demand so let’s explore permanent visa options for workers by clicking on the link highlighted in the image below by way of example.

visa options working in Australia

This takes you to the next step in the process where we can begin to narrow your search down further by digging into the type of work that you actually do.

Selecting Australia Visa Options Based on the work you do

Other than the slightly scary looking chap with the spikey hair to the right of the page, when selecting the option to explore permanent visa options for workers, you’ll be presented with a selection of 10 ‘sub-options’

Australia permanent visa for workers

This sub-options range from air or sea crew all the way down to working in a Pacific Labour Scheme specified industry.

Australian Skills Assessments - Do you have what it takes?

Now, to be honest, if I was going to give feedback to the Aussie government on what they could do to improve this step in the process, it would be on this page.

Each of the sub-options has a little blue question mark to the side which can be clicked if you need a description on what each of these sub-options actually means.

As an example, the explanation for Air or Sea Crew is for people to work in airlines or non-military ship crew. Rocket science I know!

On the other hand, some descriptions are less handy. The ‘help text’ for Pacific labour scheme specified industry is

For people to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme with a Temporary Activities sponsor endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Seriously? Do they really expect people looking to understand their options to actually understand what this means?

I guess at the end of the day, you could assume the logic that if you don’t know what a Pacific labour scheme is then you probably wouldn’t qualify for this Australian visa option, however, if you fit into this category, you probably wouldn’t be trying to identify visa options using a generic Australian Visa Finder tool.

Anyway, small rant over! 😊

For the majority of people who have progressed this far, it’s likely a safe assumption that you have confirmed you have a skill on one of Australia’s Skilled Occupations Lists (click here if you are yet to confirm this).

Having a skill in demand means the work you will do is skilled/highly specialised so select the skilled/highly specialised work option from this screen.

I’ll stop posting screenshots as by now you will likely have the idea how the tool works. Using our skilled worker example, clicking continues through the pages results in a page asking you how long you want to stay in Australia (generally this will be permanent) with other questions following around if you will be looking to apply independently or with the help of a sponsor (both of which will give you different visa options).

Aus work visa - The No 1 Definitive Guide To Get One

Get the idea?

At the end of the day, it’s not a perfect tool but its a great starting point for those asking themselves the question ‘which Australian visa should i apply for?’

Reflecting back on our post all the way back in 2008, the feedback from a visiting migration agent in one of our Australian Migration forums still holds true and is worth repeating here:

It is a good ‘General’ guide,but does not take into account all the questions you would like answered! To ‘fine tune’ all your visa pathways your really must undertake a detailed assessment of your circumstances .

The wizard is a helpful tool, but use it as a means of narrowing down options to particular visa groups. Do not rule out other visa groups because the questioning may not have fitted your personal circumstances! Treat it as a starting point upon which to build.

Fair to say that the Visa Finder tool (or our Dummies guide for that matter) are a great starting point but just because you can’t a visa to match doesn’t mean that the right visa option doesn’t exist.

At the time of typing, there are over 120 classes of Australia visa to choose from so even if the Australian Visa Finder doesn’t help you pinpoint the right type of visa, there may still be other options available to help you get down under.

Do you need more help understanding which Australian visa you should apply for?

Are you still asking yourself which Australian visa should I apply for?

Does this article make you feel even more confused and lost?

Let us know in our comments below and we’ll be happy to help you where we can. 👍



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Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia. Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assistance. If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Community Forums. Please note All information provided on Getting Down Under should be considered in conjunction with our disclaimer. Please seek professional advice if you have any doubts! 

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