Do I Need a Visa…Which One Is the Right One for Me?
Whenever you travel to a new country, you should always check if there are any requirements needed to ensure a smooth entry into the country. These include a valid passport, and more importantly, a valid visa.
A visa is a government permit to enter, leave, or stay in a country for a specified amount of time. In Australia, all individuals wishing to enter the country require a visa, regardless of whether you are here for holidays, recreation, business or residency. This includes the length of the stay, whether it be a few hours, or several years.
There are 6 types of visas the Australian Government can permit, depending on the nature of the reason for entering the country. In addition, the Australian Government has introduced a ‘Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa’, which will commence after the passing of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 in Parliament.
If you know anyone who may be looking to visit Australia soon, consider which type of visa they should apply for depending on their circumstances.
Instant Tourist Visa
If you are planning on visiting Australia for leisure, you may apply for an Instant Tourist Visa. These are issued for 3, 6 and 12-month periods. To apply for this visa, you must hold a valid passport. You must also not have tuberculosis when entering Australia and must not have been convicted of an offence which carries a sentence of more than 12 months.
You are not allowed to work in Australia under this visa. If you wish to seek work in Australia, you may apply for a Working Holiday Visa.
If you are passing through Australia for a layover, you will still need a Transit Visa. Alternatively, you will need to apply for a Transit Visa if you are joining a navy or ship crew in Australia. This will grant you entry into the country for 72 hours.
You are not allowed to work in Australia under this visa.
Working Holiday Visa
A Working Holiday Visa is ideal for individuals who wish to visit Australia for holidays and work at the same time. To apply for this visa, you must be between 18 to 30 years of age, do not have any dependent children accompanying you to Australia, and have a valid passport from an eligible country.
This visa grants you up to 12 months of entry into Australia and allows you to work in Australia for up to 6 months per employer, and study for up to 4 months. Under this visa, you will be able to leave and re-enter the country within the 12-month validity period.
Business Owner Visa
If you are an Australian-business owner or are sponsored by a governmental or multi-national company conducting business in Australia, you may apply for a Business Owner Visa.
In order to apply for a Business Order Visa, you must already hold an existing provisional business visa, including a senior executive, investor, state/territory sponsored business, senior executive or investor visa. In addition, you must have lived in Australia under the provisional visa for at least 12 months in the last 2 years, and owned and operated the business for at least 2 years.
This is a permanent residence visa. This will allow you to leave and re-enter Australia for 5 years.
If you are wishing to study an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Australia, you will need a Student Visa. A Student Visa is difficult to obtain as it requires a strict evaluation of the students’ planned studies in Australia and their financial capacity.
It is required that you have already been accepted into a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate course at an Australian institution, and if you are younger than 18 years of age, will need to have organised appropriate welfare arrangements during the period of your stay.
Under this Visa, you are not allowed to work prior to commencing your studies. However, once your studies have commenced, you are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours a week.
If your Student Visa has expired, you are required to leave Australia. However, you may be able to extend your visa if there is no ‘No Further Stay’ Condition on your current visa, or it has been waived.
You may be able to seek permanent residency in Australia under a Skilled Migration Visa if you are skilled in a significant working sector in Australia. To apply for a Skilled Migration Visa, you will need to select the type of visa depending the nature of your visit and follow the individual steps for that particular visa.
As a skilled worker in Australia, under the law you have the same rights and protections as someone who is not a visa holder.
A Potential ‘Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa’
On the 5th May 2017, the Australian Government introduced a new ‘Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa’, which will enable Australian children to sponsor their parents to stay in Australia for up to 5 years.
Under this Visa, up to 2 parents (biological/adoptive/step) of Australian citizens or permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens can apply, given that they have satisfied identity, health and character requirements and have no outstanding health debt in Australia.
The sponsoring child must be over 18 years old, be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, be the biological, adopted or step-child of the parent(s), have lived in Australia for at least 4 years, met a household income and character requirement, accept legal liability for any outstanding public health debt that their sponsored parent(s) accrues, and have valid evidence of identity.
When in Australia, the parent is unable to undertake paid work. However, they are entitled to undertake volunteer or unpaid activities, including short-term informal studies.
This Visa has not commenced yet, however will commence following the passing of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016.