Information About Types Of Visas


General Skilled Migration

The General Skilled Migration program is for individuals who have a skill and work experience but do not have an Australian employer prepared to sponsor them.

General Skilled Migration (GSM) is now part of the Points Based Skilled Migration (PBSM) scheme. The new GSM includes visa subclasses 189 (Independent), 190 (State/Territory nominated) and 489 (Provisional Skilled). Applicants must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) and wait to be invited to apply for a valid visa by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Expressions of Interest (EOI)

In order to lodge an EOI, the applicant must have an occupation on the SOL, have competent English and hold a positive skills assessment. As there is no onshore/offshore differentiation, individuals lodging an EOI will no longer be allowed to stay in Australia unless they already have a valid visa. Occupation ceilings will be set each year by the DIAC. As a result, only a certain number of applicants with a particular occupation will receive an invitation in any one year.

There is no fee to lodge an EOI. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that upon lodgement they have sufficient evidence to justify the number of points they have assigned themselves. The points are based on things like English proficiency and a current skills assessment). Penalties apply for lodging an EOI with any claims that cannot be substantiated.

Applicants can update their EOI with new information up to the point of being invited to apply for a visa. If they do not receive an invitation after two years of lodging an EOI, the EOI will lapse. Applicants can also indicate if they wish to be considered for an employer nominated visa or a State/Territory nominated visa. Employers and State/Territory governments will be able to access contained in the database of EOI applicants and search for individuals to sponsor. A potential Employer will be able to search by occupation, qualifications and work experience. If an employer finds an applicant matching their needs they will be able to sponsor them. They would simply register their interest in the potential employee and request that the applicant contact them directly. Should the applicant be sponsored in this way they would then apply under the employer nomination category and, if approved, does not need to continue with the EOI.

It is important bear in mind that an EOI is not an application for a visa. A bridging visa can be granted if the person is invited to apply for a visa and the applicant is onshore.

The Points Test

The pass mark is now 60 points.


The highest points are awarded for applicants aged between 25 and 33. Applicants aged 45 to 50 can still apply but will not score any points.

English Language:

The highest points are for applicants with superior English. Competent English, although a threshold requirement, does not score any points.

Overseas Employment Experience Qualifications:

Employment must be in the nominated occupation or a closely related occupation with maximum points awarded for 8 years employment in the 10 years immediately before the invitation is issued.

Australian Professional Year Qualifications:

Points may be awarded if the applicant has undertaken an acceptable professional year in Australia. The Minister will determine what professional training is relevant.

Educational Qualifications:

Points are awarded for the highest qualification obtained by the applicant. In some cases the qualification does not need to be relevant to the occupation.

Australian Study Qualifications:

Points are awarded when the applicant meets the Australian study requirement (two academic years in Australia at any time).

Community Language Qualifications:

Points are awarded if the applicant has met the specified standard in a community language. This currently requires sitting a NAATI test.

Regional/Low-Population Metropolitan Area Study:

Points can be awarded if Australian study was undertaken at an institution in a particular area while the applicant lived in a particular area. These areas are specified in an instrument in writing by the Minister.

Partner Skill Qualification:

Points can be awarded if the applicant has a partner applying for the same subclass as the applicant and that partner is aged under 50 years, has a skilled occupation, has been assessed as having suitable skills for that occupation and has competent English.

Skilled Independent Subclass189 Visa

Invitations under this subclass will be issued based on each occupation category. Applicants with the highest points within each category will get the first offers. Valid Visas can assist you in optimising your points and therefore maximise your chances of an earlier invitation.

To lodge an application for a valid visa, applicant s need to be under 50, must have a positive skills assessment for the occupation specified in the invitation, must have competent English and must also meet the health and character requirements and hold a valid passport. You can be onshore or offshore at the time the visa is granted

Skilled – Nominated Subclass 190 Visa

An invitation under this subclass will require the applicant to have a pass mark of 60 points and be nominated by a State or Territory.

Skilled Regional Sponsored (Provisional)(Class SP) Subclass 489 Visa

There are two provisional visa streams under this class and subclass of visa.

The first stream requires the applicant to be invited to apply for a Subclass 489 visa with a State or Territory nomination or sponsorship from a relative who lives in a designated area.

The Second Provisional Visa Stream is available to applicants who are already in Australia on a pre 1 July 2012 provisional or regional sponsored visa and need to apply for another provisional visa to give them more time to meet the requirements for a permanent visa. This second stream does not require an invitation.


Partner Migration

There are two options available to partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

  1. Partner – subclasses 309/100 & 820/801
  2. Prospective Marriage Visa – subclass 300

1. Partner Visa – subclasses 309/100 & 820/801

The term ‘partner’ can refer to a number of relationships. These include:

  1. Married couples – or ‘spouses’
  2. De Facto couples – those that meet either cohabitation or relationship registration requirements
  3. Same-sex couples
Visa snapshot

The Partner Visa holder is entitled to live in Australia, firstly on a temporary visa, then later as a permanent visa holder. The Partner, once they are on valid visa can access Medicare and have work and study rights in Australia.

Steps to securing a valid partner visa

Application for a Partner Visa can be made in or outside Australia. Usually, the visa applicant will be granted a temporary visa for 2 years, before being entitled to a permanent valid visa. In all cases the applicant needs to demonstrate the relationship is genuine and ongoing. The DIAC decision maker will make a determination based on a number of factors:

  1. Financial
  2. Nature of the household
  3. Social aspects of the relationship
  4. Nature of the commitment to each other

At Valid Visas we will assist you with starting the process of compiling your evidence to substantiate your claims through to grant of the permanent partner visa. Valid Visas ensures you are aware of all the processing requirements and the time frames in which you are required to respond to a decision maker. We strive to take as much of the stress and anxiety out of the visa application process for you as possible.

1. Partner Visa – subclasses 309/100 & 820/801

Visa snapshot

This visa gives a visa holder the opportunity to marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident in Australia. It is a valid for 9 months and is the stepping stone to the Partner temporary and the Partner permanent visas.

Steps to securing a Prospective Marriage Visa

The visa applicant lodges the application at the relevant overseas mission. There may be a short follow up interview, either by phone or in person, depending on the arrangements made by the office. Once the visa is granted, the visa holder makes arrangements to come to Australia to marry their Australian partner. The decision maker will take into considerations similar aspects as with the Partner visa, although some may have less relevance, such as cohabitation.

Valid Visas can assist you and your partner present a strong case despite one of you living off-shore. We can arrange for a complete and accurate application to be lodged and manage all communications with the DIAC. We can help you lay the foundations towards securing a validvisa and starting a new life together in Australia.


Business Skills Migration

Business Skills visas facilitate the entry into Australia of high quality business or investor migrants. Most business skills visas involve a two-stage application process. At the first stage business migrants apply for a provisional visa and then if they meet certain criteria, can proceed to a valid permanent visa.

Provisional Business Skills Visa

Since 1 July 2012, the Provisional Business Skills visas has become part of SkillSelect. An applicant is no longer able to apply for a provisional visa directly but must first lodge an expression of interest EOI and wait to be invited to apply for a valid visa.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (subclass 188) visa Within this subclass there are two streams:

  • The Business Innovation Stream – for people who want to own and manage a business in Australia; and
  • The Investor Stream – for people who want to make a designated investment in a State or Territory bond

To lodge an expression of interest the applicant must be:

  • Less than 55 years of age (though a State or Territory can waive this if the proposed business is of exceptional economic benefit)
  • Have a successful business or investment history; and
  • Have adequate personal and business assets

There is a points test – the Innovation Points Test – and the person must score at least 65 points on this test and be nominated by a State or Territory to get an invitation to lodge a subclass 188 visa. There are then additional requirements depending in which stream the person intends to apply.

The Business Innovation Stream requires the person to have successfully managed and had an ownership interest in a business with a turnover of at least AUD500,000 for two of the previous four fiscal years. They are also required to have total net assets of at least AUD800,000.

The Investor Stream requires a person for at least three years, to have either had an ownership interest in, and managed, a successful business or to have managed eligible investments. The person is required to have net assets of at least AUD2.25 million and to make a designated investment before the visa is granted of AUD1.5 million.

Permanent Business Skills Visa

The subclass 188 visa is valid for four years and the person can apply for the permanent Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 888) visa after holding the provisional visa for two years if in the Business Innovation Stream or four years if in the Investor Stream. They will be required to meet certain criteria, which differ depending on the stream in which the person applied. Recent legislative changes mean that the person who was the primary visa holder at the provisional stage must also meet the primary criteria at the permanent stage. It may be possible to obtain a two year extension of the provisional visa (Restricted to Business Innovation Stream only). While there is no requirement to lodge an expression of interest at the permanent stage, it will still be required that the applicant has a State or Territory nomination.

Permanent Business Skills Visa – Business Talent

The subclass 132 Business Talent visa allows a business person to apply for a permanent visa without first holding a provisional visa or having a business in Australia already. This visa is now part of SkillSelect (so an EOI has to be lodged first and the person must be invited to apply for the visa). It has been divided into two streams:

  • The Significant Business History Stream for people who have an ownership interest in a sizeable business (annual turnover of over AUD3 million), total net assets of at least AUD1.5 million and who want to have a major management role in a business in Australia; and
  • The Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream for people who are intending to invest at least AUD1 million in a business venture in Australia

There is no Innovation Points Test for the subclass 132 Business Talent visa.


Skilled Student Migration

Contact us if you are just starting to explore the options available to you to convert to a PR visa after you finish your study. Valid Visas can help you with a strategy to move from a student visa to permanent residency.

Valid visas will review your particular circumstances against the applicable migration legislation and other and regulations and policy applicable to your occupation and skills. We will identify the steps that you need to take in order to secure a valid visa.

The law in this area is often complex and constantly changing. As Registered Migration Agents/lawyers we have a legal obligation to ongoing education and to maintain our knowledge of the Migration Act and Migration Regulations as they are updated. We understand the investment and sacrifice you have made in order to undertake study in Australia. Lodging an incorrect or incomplete application can be an expensive exercise and can also result in invalid applications or substantial delays in processing. This may result in other consequences including an applicant’s status in Australia becoming unlawful.

Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)

This is a visa suitable for international students in Australia who have completed a course of study in the last six months. The main applicant will need to provide evidence of competent English and evidence that health insurance is held. There are no restrictions on work or study with this visa and a person, when they meet the requirements, may apply for permanent residency while holding this visa.

This visa has two streams – the Graduate Work Stream and the Post-Study Work Stream.

To secure a valid visa for the Graduate Work Stream, students need to meet the Australian study requirement and have an occupation on Schedule 1 of the Skilled Occupation List. This visa is valid for 18 months and allows international students to gain skilled work experience or improve English Language proficiency.

The Post-Study Work Stream came into effect on 23 March 2013 and is only available to students who were granted their first student visa after 5 November 2011. Students are required to have completed two years of study in Australia and be awarded at least a Bachelor degree. The visa is valid for two years if the award was for a Bachelor or coursework Masters degree, three years if awarded a research Masters degree or four years if awarded a PhD.


Employer sponsored visas

These visas allow employers to recruit and nominate skilled people to fill positions that they have been unable to fill from the local labour market.

Valid Visas assist businesses looking to sponsor and employ skilled workers who have recognised qualifications and skills/or experience in certain occupations required in Australia. We also assist skilled migrants looking to be employed in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis by their employer.

There are three main visa types in this area:

  1. Subclass 457 – Business (Long Stay) visa – Standard Business Sponsorship
  2. Employer Nomination (Permanent) (Class EN), subclass 186, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS); and
  3. Regional Employer Nomination (Permanent) (Class RN), Subclass 187, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

Employer sponsored visas

Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa

The 457 visa is a temporary visa that is valid for up to four years and requires sponsorship by an employer in Australia. An applicant’s occupation must be on the 457 list and they must have the appropriate skills to work in their nominated occupation. In some cases, 457 visa applicants must have a skills assessment and show proof of their English language ability, and in most cases they need to show evidence of health insurance.

For employers to be eligible to sponsor, they must demonstrate a commitment to meeting the training benchmarks. The terms of employment offered to an applicant must be no less favourable than those that are provided to an Australian performing equivalent work. The salary must be a ‘market salary’, and what is offered in the market must not be less than a prescribed amount.

Sponsoring employers need to meet a list of obligations under the sponsorship. It’s important that you understand how to meet your obligations and avoid any possible penalties.

After two years of continuous employment an employer may be able to nominate the applicant for permanent residence under ENS or RSMS, which are permanent employer sponsored pathways.

Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) category allows Australian businesses to fill highly skilled positions in Australia with a non-Australian citizen or permanent resident on a permanent basis where they cannot fill the skilled vacancies from the Australian Labour Market.

The RSMS has a similar aim, provided the business is located in regional or low population areas of Australia. In order to make a valid visa application under this scheme, the business must first obtain certification from a Regional Certifying Body. Both the ENS and RSMS categories require a business in Australia to lodge an application for approval of a nominated position. This is then followed by a personal visa application made by the nominated individual.

Within both RSMS and ENS classes there are three streams:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition Stream – for applicants holding subclass 457 visas and who have worked for their employer for two years in the nominated occupation and are now being offered a permanent position in that occupation by the employer.
  2. Direct Entry Stream – for applicants who have not held a subclass 457 visa for the last two years, or for those applying directly from outside Australia.
  3. Agreement Stream – for applicants who are applying as part of a Labour Agreement or Regional Migration Agreement.
The Nominating Business

Under all three streams, the nominating business must be able to satisfy the following criteria:

  1. actively and lawfully operating in Australia;
  2. have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position;
  3. offering a skilled position in the applicant’s field that is full-time and ongoing for at least two years;
  4. offering employment conditions that are no less favorable than those conditions provided to an Australian citizen or permanent resident working in the same location and occupation.
  5. are nominating a skilled position that is:
  6. on the CSOL (if applying for ENS under the Direct Entry stream)
  7. classified as a skill level 1-3 in the ANZSCO (if applying for RSMS under the Direct Entry stream)
  8. the same or similar to the position sponsored under the subclass 457 visa (if under the Temporary Residence Transition stream)
Training Requirement

Under the ENS category, the nominating business must also meet the minimum training standards:

  • If applying under the Direct Entry stream, a business that has been in operation in Australia for 12 months or more must meet the prescribed training benchmark that applies to all Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents;
  • If a business has been operating for less than 12 months it must be able to provide a valid future training plan;
  • If applying under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, the nominating business must demonstrate that it has met and continues to meet the training requirements expected under the approved Standard Business Sponsorship.
The Visa Applicant

Visa applicants must satisfy the specific criteria provided under the appropriate stream:

  • If applying under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, there is no requirement for the applicant to have their skills assessed as that person would have already been working for the nominating employer for two years in Australia. There is a requirement for the applicant to have at least vocational English.
  • If applying for ENS under the Direct Entry stream, applicants must be able to provide a skills assessment in their nominated occupation. Applicants must also have at least three years relevant work experience and a competent level of English.
  • Those applicants applying for RSMS under the Direct Entry stream, must hold qualifications and skills that are relevant to the nominated occupation. If the applicant is being nominated as a tradesperson and that person’s qualifications were obtained outside of Australia, these skills must be assessed by a relevant assessing authority. Applicants must also have a competent level of English.
Certification for RSMS

The business must be able to demonstrate to a certifying body that:

  • there is a genuine need for a paid employee in an entity that is actively and lawfully operating in regional Australia;
  • the position is a full-time vacancy available in a business operating in regional Australia for at least 2 consecutive years;
  • unless exceptional circumstances apply, the position requires qualifications equivalent to at least Australian diploma level (this includes trade certificates);
  • The applicant and the business have or will enter into an employment contract or submit a letter of appointment before a valid visa can be granted.

If applying for ENS or RSMS Direct Entry stream or Temporary Residence Transition stream, applicants may be eligible for specific exemptions, including age, English language and skill exemptions.

Valid Visas can assist you in determining your eligibility for an exemption.


Working Holiday Visas– A pathway to PR

The Working Holiday Visa allows young travellers to work in short term positions (no longer than 6 months) whilst visiting Australia. To be eligible you must:

    1. Be between 18 and 30 years of age.
    2. Have no dependents with you.
    3. Have “functional” English skills.
    4. Be from one of the following countries:

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, Hong Kong, Malta, United Kingdom, Estonia, Ireland, Netherlands, Bangladesh, Finland; Italy, Norway, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Iran, Papua New Guinea.

Over 100,000 visas are granted each year, and 80% of applications are processed within 6 days of lodgement. The working holiday visa is the perfect visa to test whether you wish to migrate here. If you are in Australia on a Work Holiday Visa, then you should talk to us about applying for residency ASAP. The sooner you talk to us, the sooner we can start the process.


Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) & Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT)

If your visa application has been refused, contact valid Visas immediately and we may be able to make an appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT). The (MRT) is a statutory body that provides a final independent merits review of visa and visa-related decisions made by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (the Minister) or by officers of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) acting as delegates of the Minister.

The Review Process

When a negative decision is made by a Delegate, such as a refusal or a cancellation of a visa, in many cases there is an opportunity for review of the decision. The Tribunals are designed to be a cost effective and informal way of presenting to a Tribunal Member reasons for why a negative decision should be changed. The Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) hears cases such as the refusal or cancellation of partner, employer-sponsored, and many more types of visas.

Why Choose a Registered Migration Agent/Lawyer?

To many applicants the review process can be intimidating. A registered migration agent/lawyer is able to use his/her skills and experience in order to assist you to put the best case for review forward. At validvisas we understand the procedural guidelines of the Tribunal and are in a position to assist in guiding a Member in reaching the best and preferable decision. As registered migration lawyers we make use of past Tribunal decisions and immigration case law in making strong written and oral submissions on behalf of a client.

If you have any queries about a refusal or cancellation of a visa, or any review queries, please contact us.