Frequently Asked Questions

The Australian and New Zealand immigration systems are complex. Whether you want to move permanently or go and study English during your summer vacation, you’ll either need to understand your visa requirements, or get an agent who can explain them to you.

FAQs

1. Do I need a visa to go to Australia or New Zealand?

Australia

Unless you have an Australian passport, you will need a visa to travel to Australia. This is the case even if you are the spouse of an Australian citizen or even if you are only going to be in Australia for a very short period of time. Australia operates under an offshore processing system. Without either a visa or an Australian passport, you will not be able to board a plane or boat which is going to Australia.

 

New Zealand

Depending on the purpose and duration of your trip to New Zealand, you may not be required to obtain a visa before you get there, as a temporary visa may be granted on arrival.

2. I’m a skilled worker, but I will only be going to Australia or New Zealand for a short period. Can I just go on a visitor visa?

Australia

In some circumstances, a visitor visa will do, for instance, if you are only travelling for business meetings or to attend a conference. However, if you are going to carry out any actual work – such as training clients or temporary work on international projects – you will need to obtain the appropriate temporary work visa. The different types of temporary work visas are available for periods of between 1 day and up to four years.

 

New Zealand

 In some circumstances, a visitor visa will do, for instance, if you are only travelling for business meetings or to attend a conference. However, if you are going to carry out any actual work – such as training clients or temporary work on international projects – you will need to obtain the appropriate temporary work visa. The different types of temporary work visas are available for periods of between 1 day and the time needed to complete the project.

3. I don’t have a university degree or any tertiary diploma. Can I still qualify for a skilled migrant visa?

Most professional occupations require you to have a university degree. However, there are many occupations where this requirement can be replaced by work experience in your field. The most obvious example of this is in Information Technology (IT) occupations.

In short, we would need to evaluate this on a case by case basis, having regard to your occupation. Please complete our questionnaire so we can assess your chances of permanently migrating to Australia.

4. How is work experience counted for points in skilled migration?

Australia

Only that work experienced gained after you are deemed to be skilled by a relevant skills assessment authority is deemed as skilled work experience. The date that a person is deemed to be skilled depends on the occupation. In some instances, it is the date of graduating from university. In others it is after you have completed a certain number of years of relevant work experience. In others it is after you have both a combination of a certain amount of work experience together with a relevant qualification.

 

New Zealand

 Only work experienced gained working for a third party, not self-employment, can be counted for points. If your experience is anywhere other than New Zealand, it can be counted if it is relevant to the occupation you are applying for, or if it belongs to an area deemed to be of an absolute skills shortage. Work experience in a comparable labour market can also be counted, but only a few countries qualify as such. In order to assess your situation properly, please complete our questionnaire and we will send you our analysis.

5. How does the points test work for skilled migration?

Australia

The Australian government uses points for determining eligibility for some of its skilled migrant visa categories. It uses this objective, points-based system to rank candidates in terms of their particular occupation and overall against all candidates for a visa. It takes into account such things as age, qualifications, work experience, partner skills, study in Australia and nomination by an Australian state or territory government, among other things.

A candidate’s points test is calculated at the time they complete the expression of interest (EOI).

New Zealand

 The New Zealand government uses points for determining eligibility for some of its skilled migrant visa categories. It uses this objective, points-based system to rank candidates in terms of their particular occupation and overall against all candidates for a visa. It takes into account such things as age, qualifications, work experience, partner skills, study in New Zealand and work offer in New Zealand, among other things.

A candidate’s points test is calculated at the time they complete the expression of interest (EOI).

6. What is the expression of interest (EOI) in skilled migration?

Australia

The expression of interest is a form to be completed by applicants after they have had their skills assessed and can prove their level of English. It is designed to: calculate the points that the applicant has for skilled migration; alert Australian state and territory governments of the applicant’s interest in being nominated by them; and to allow the Australian government to select those applicants that it would like to invite to apply for visas based on objective criteria.

Once it is completed, you may receive an invitation to apply for a permanent skilled visa within days or up to the following two years after lodging it. If you haven’t received an invitation to apply for a visa within two years of lodging the EOI, the EOI is automatically cancelled. You may, however, apply again afterwards if you would like to continue trying to obtain a permanent visa to Australia.

Although there is no government fee to submit an expression of interest, it is arguably the most important part of the visa application process and also the part where unrepresented applicants make the most mistakes. If an applicant accidentally claims too many points and they are invited to apply for a visa based on incorrect information, their visa application can be automatically rejected by the Australian government – irrespective of whether they would have qualified for the visa notwithstanding the mistake. Mistakes here can cost applicants the subsequent visa application cost and the time that they lose in not having a correct expression of interest for assessment by the Australian government.

The EOI can be modified or updated as necessary to reflect your change of circumstances.

 

New Zealand

 The expression of interest is a form to be completed by applicants after they have had their skills assessed and can prove their level of English. It is designed to: calculate the points that the applicant has for skilled migration; and to allow the New Zealand government to select those applicants that it would like to invite to apply for visas based on objective criteria.

Once it is completed, you may receive an invitation to apply for a permanent skilled visa within days or up to 6 months after lodging it. If you haven’t received an invitation to apply for a visa within 6 months of lodging the EOI, the EOI is automatically cancelled. You may, however, apply again afterwards if you would like to continue trying to obtain a permanent visa to New Zealand.

There is a government fee to submit an expression of interest, and it is arguably the most important part of the visa application process and also the part where unrepresented applicants make the most mistakes. If an applicant accidentally claims too many points and they are invited to apply for a visa based on incorrect information, their visa application can be automatically rejected by the New Zealand government – irrespective of whether they would have qualified for the visa notwithstanding the mistake. Mistakes here can cost applicants the subsequent visa application cost and the time that they lose in not having a correct expression of interest for assessment by the New Zealand government.

7. What are the prerequisites for applying for skilled migration?

Australia

There are, essentially, four requirements to apply for a skilled migrant visa (whether independent or state/family nominated):

  1. Having at least a Competent English level;
  2. Getting your skills recognised for an occupation on a list provided by the Australian government (SOL or CSOL);
  3. Having a migration points score of at least 60; and
  4. Being invited by the Australian government to apply for a visa.

 New Zealand

There are, essentially, four requirements to apply for a skilled migrant visa (whether independent or employer nominated):

  1. Having at least a Competent English level;
  2. Getting your skills recognised for an occupation on a skills shortage list provided by the New Zealand government;
  3. Having a migration points score of at least 100; and
  4. Being invited by the New Zealand government to apply for a visa.

8. Do I need to prove that I have access to a certain amount of funds to be able to migrate permanently?

Australia

 This is not something which you have to prove. However, some states may ask for proof if you are seeking nomination from them.

 

New Zealand

 This is not something which you have to prove. However, it is advisable to have some funds available to you to support yourself when you arrive in New Zealand until you find a job or get your first pay.

9. Can I bring my family with me?

Australia

Almost all Australian visas allow you to bring your family with you. The threshold for partners is that they are either married or have been living together for at least 12 months. Children must be dependent on their applicant parent.

 

New Zealand

Many New Zealand visas allow you to bring your family with you. The threshold for partners is that they have been married for at least 12 months and/or living together for at least 12 months.

10. I’m in a same-sex relationship. Does Australia allow same-sex partners to obtain either partner visas or to apply as secondary applicants?

Yes. Australia and New Zealand have similar rules for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.

11. Is there a time-limit for me to enter after a visa has been granted?

Yes. Every visa has a date of first entry. Australian and New Zealand visa holders must enter the country before that date to activate the visa. Only in exceptional circumstances will extensions be granted and extensions will only be considered once the date for first entry has passed but not been complied with.

12. I’m pregnant and my Australian/New Zealand partner and I would like to have the child in Australia/New Zealand. Is there a way to speed up the partner visa decision making process?

Only in exceptional circumstances will a partner visa application processing time be expedited. Pregnancy is not, in and of itself, an exceptional circumstance which leads to a partner visa application being expedited. It may be part of the reason why it might be expedited, but it will not be enough in and of itself.

13. Do I need to be married to my partner for my partner to either be able to travel to Australia/New Zealand on a partner visa or as a secondary applicant on another visa?

No. If you have been living with your partner for more than 12 months you are treated as being in the same position as a married couple.

14. Can I work while I study on a student visa?

Australia

 This depends on your nationality. In some cases, you might need to apply for specific authorization. The general rule, however, is that you can work for up to 20 hours per week. The same applies to any secondary applicant who travels to Australia with you.

 

New Zealand

This depends on the number of weeks you are going to study. The general rule, however, is that you can work for up to 20 hours per week. The same applies to any secondary applicant who travels to Australia with you.

15. Can I stay in the country after my course ends on my student visa?

Australia

Normally student visas allow you to stay in Australia for one month longer than the course. You can stay in Australia for this additional period only.

 

New Zealand

 Normally student visas are granted for the same period of time as the study you have paid for.