Migration program planning levels
The Migration program is designed to achieve a range of economic and social outcomes. The program is set annually, with the total places available capped at a ceiling of 160,000 for 2020-21. The total program is broken down into the following streams:
The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies 17 occupations which fill critical
skills needs that support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19 based on expert advice from
the National Skills Commission and consultation with Commonwealth departments.
Employer sponsored nomination and visa applications with an occupation on the PMSOL will be
given priority processing. All other skilled occupation lists will remain active, but the PMSOL
occupations will take priority.
The list is temporary and priority occupations may change as Australia recovers from the pandemic.
The Government and the National Skills Commission will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19
on the Australian labour market and assess Australia’s skills needs as they evolve and new sources of
The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List
The 17 occupations (ANZSCO code) are:
While Australia’s border restrictions remain in place, temporary visa holders must obtain
a travel exemption before travelling to Australia. For more information about the travel exemption
process see: Critical skills and sectors
Priority processing of nomination and visa applications for PMSOL occupations applies to these
employer sponsored visa subclasses:
Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time. Travel restrictions are subject to change. Please check back regularly.
All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel in their port of arrival. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine.
You cannot come to Australia unless you are in an exempt category or you have been granted an individual exemption to the current travel restrictions.
You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you are:
The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant you an individual exemption if you are:
You need to apply for an exemption at least 4 weeks, but not more than 3 months, before your planned travel.
Compassionate and compelling reasons to travel
The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant you an exemption if you are seeking to travel for compassionate and compelling reasons. Compassionate and compelling reasons include, but are not limited to, needing to travel due to the death or critical illness of a close family member.
You must hold a visa and have an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You can request an exemption using the form below and must provide appropriate evidence to support your claims. All documents need to be officially translated into English.
Recently it was indicated that Australian borders may continue to be closed well into 2021. The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, has said that the airline's international flights will likely not resume until July 2021. This means that most migration to Australia will be on hold until borders reopen.
What is also evident, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is that an unusually high number of Australians may have lost their jobs during the pandemic. This will have an impact on Australia’s skilled migration program. Just how this will play out is yet to be revealed, but there will definitely be a change in those occupations available on the skilled migration lists and the number of points required to be eligible for skilled migration.
Future growth areas
The department is likely to prioritise nursing and other healthcare professions and remove those occupations which are not in demand. It is also possible that employers will drive the demand for migrants, and skilled independent visas will become even more difficult to attain.
Another potential growth area is in the regional areas. There is a need for migrants to move to regional Australia where certain skills are lacking. Currently each state prioritises those skills it needs in its regional area. Each state invites applicants to apply directly for a visa to live in regional Australia.
Where does this leave future visa applicants?
The Department of Home Affairs is still open to receiving applications from prospective migrants. What has changed recently, however, is the priority that the department is giving to new offshore applications.
Currently the department has prioritised the processing of applications from people onshore in Australia.
The department’s major priority is to ensure that people who are stranded in Australia do not become unlawful. It has both introduced a new visa to address this situation and has relaxed certain visa conditions to allow onshore applicants to remain lawful.
It is still possible, however, to apply for new visas. What has changed is the processing times. Getting your application in, places you in the queue, ready for when processing resumes.
There is a large amount of work which goes into an application even before it can be lodged with the department. There are many requirements which must be met at the time of application, from skills assessments to English test scores. It is possible to sort these out now, while waiting for Australia to reopen its doors.
What visas are your best option
If you are in a genuine and ongoing relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for a partner visa. These can be applied for either onshore or offshore. There are no age limits or skill requirements, and, under the right circumstances, these may be the most direct route into Australia.
Employer Sponsored Visas
Applicants who have job offers from employers can be sponsored for a visa. Employer will need to show that there isn’t an Australian available to fill the position, before they are able to sponsor you. These jobs may be located in either the major cities or regional areas, though the regional areas tend to have the most vacancies for skilled positions
There are Business visa options, but these do require that you:
• Be under age 55
• Have a successful business track record
• Have a business turnover of at least AU$500 000 p/a for at least 2 out of last 4 years
• Have at least net assets of AU$800 000
Student visas are a popular choice as they offer the option of studying at a world class university, with the added bonus of work rights, while you study. Although the global pandemic has slowed down this market, it will be re-opening and universities are keen to enrol new students.
Once you have completed your 2 years of full-time study at a Bachelors or Masters degree level, you may be eligible for a post-study work visa, for a further 2 years. This may lead to a permanent work offer and employer sponsorship for permanent residence.
Recently the Department of Home Affairs changed the points allocations for partners of primary applicants for visas. All applicants are either classified as single or married (as defined in section 5F of the Migration Act 1958) or in a de facto partner (as defined in section 5CB of the Migration Act).
The Department of Home Affairs looks very carefully to see if there is any inconsistent information regarding the marital or de facto relationship status of applicants during the processing of applications. If they do detect concerns, they offer the applicant an opportunity to comment. If there has been a change in relationship status, evidence must be provided to support this change.
Character requirements for visas
You must be of good character to visit or live in Australia. This means you must pass the character test, and remain of good character.
Meeting the requirements
You may not pass the character requirements if you have a substantial criminal record or your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character.
If you are not completely honest about your criminal history, the department may refuse your application.
The character requirements consist of:
· a police certificate
· Form 80 Personal particulars for character assessment (554KB PDF)
· complete a character statutory declaration (80KB PDF)
· provide a military certificate
· provide a letter of good conduct from an employer
If you are over 17 and have lived in a country, including Australia, for at least 12 months in the past 10 years, the department may ask you to provide a police certificate (also called a penal clearance certificate) from every country you lived in.
Police certificates are valid for 12 months from the issue date. They must cover:
· the time you turned 16 up to the issue date
· the whole time you were in the country
Police Clearance Certificates – Validity Issues
There has been some confusion in relation to the police certificate validity requirements.
These are as follows:
Apply for a police certificate
See how to apply for a police certificate in the relevant countries.
To get a police certificate in Australia you must submit an Australian Federal Police National Police Check application form.
Every year thousands of people apply to visit, live and work in Australia. Many succeed in their applications, but a large number are also refused for innocent mistakes and a basic misunderstanding of migration requirements.
The application process can be a very complex and technical. Having a visa refused can result in the loss of thousands of dollars, and even more crucially, the loss of precious time to make an application within strict age limitations.
Over time, the Department of Home Affairs has become stricter about complying with its criteria. As the department’s budgets have been reduced so has its level of staffing making staff even less available to assist applicants over the phone.
Making an application to the department is much more than just filling in a form. It’s important to understand what the department is looking for in an application, if you want to improve your chances of success.
Every time you make a statement it is very important to substantiate that with evidence. If you’re giving the department your work history, have proof such as salary slips or letters of reference. Always give copies of all of your of qualifications. If you’re in a relationship, supply proof that your relationship is genuine. For example, copies of joint lease agreements, joint bank accounts, photographs together and copies of your social media accounts will all go to proving the statement that your relationship is genuine and ongoing.
It’s also important to get as much information as possible from government sources (such as income tax returns), pay slips from an employer as well as any other third-party sources. These will carry much more weight than just a blanket statement that, for example, you are employed.
2. Be consistent and accurate
The department keeps a record of every single entry and exit to Australia, from the time of handwritten records. The department will check to make sure that your information is consistent and accurate.
There is no harm in forgetting when you last entered Australia and letting the department know that you can’t recall the date. Making evidence up or casually filling in a date to fill in a blank space on a form can result in costly delays and possible refusal.
Keep copies of all of visa applications you have made over time to make sure that you are consistent and accurate with the information you supply.
The department will have access to all public social media records, and they have been known to check these for accuracies. Friends, relatives and colleagues may receive a call to confirm information you have given.
Consistency and accuracy are crucial.
3. Be honest
It’s surprising how often applicants feel that they can lie or mislead the department and get away with it. The consequences of getting caught lying can be catastrophic to your application.
In this day and age, with so much data available online it is so much easier for facts to be checked. Drink driving charges and unpaid fines can easily be located and previous addresses can also be available online.
Creating fake documents is a clear pathway to refusal. If you are granted a visa and it turns out that it was based on fraudulent documents, your visa can be cancelled.
Applicants should be honest at all times when dealing with the department.
4. Be organised
If you organise your application in a clear and coherent way, the department will be able to understand exactly what your circumstances are, making it easier for them to make a decision on your application. Labelling documents correctly, ensuring that both the original and translation are uploaded and keeping a record of everything you have submitted goes a long way to making the process more streamlined.
The clearer and more organised your application, the easier it is for the department to read and understand.
5. Stick to deadlines
If the department has given you a specific number of days to give further information, or if there are strict time limits make sure you stick to them. It is often very difficult to get around a missed deadline resulting in the refusal of your application based on a technicality.
Keep an eye on deadlines and keep a record to make sure you don’t forget crucial dates.
How do I become a permanent resident of Australia?