Can I live in one of Australia’s External Territories as an Australian citizen or PR?
Australia has a number of External Territories, three of which are reasonably populated, Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Norfolk Island has the most autonomy of the three. PR status (or Australian citizenship) does not give you the right to live in these territories, unless the local government agrees to admit you (this is certainly the case with Norfolk Island). In reality, opportunities in all three are quite limited.
How long does the Visa process take?
Australia’s visa processing times vary by the type of visa being applied for. Factors which influence processing times include:
• The place where the visa application was made
•Visa processing workload at the time
•Whether all the necessary documents have been provided
•The complexity of the visa application
•Turnaround times for medicals and character checks
On an average, a general skilled independent Australia skilled migration visa can take around 9+ months to process. If you are having a sponsorship, your application will be having priority processing.
Spousal cases and temporary work visas tend to be a little quicker at 3 to 6 months, while applicants requiring professional registration can take an additional 6 to 12 months to process.
What are the reasons of delay for my visa application?
Delays can possibly result from and include:
1. Poor documentation and presentation
2. Misunderstanding of visa requirements
3. The need for an interview
4. Health issues
5. Complications regarding the criminal or security status of the applicant or dependants
6. Applicant’s difficulty in obtaining satisfactory supporting documents
7. Requests by the Visa Office for additional supporting information
8. Visa Office workload demands, staffing limits, application backlogs and identified priorities
Why pay for Immigration Consultant?
There are various self assessment facilities on the Internet which can give you a Common idea on whether you are eligible to apply for an Australian skilled visa.
These facilities are simply not sophisticated enough to recognize the subtleties of a case which (more often than not) can have a significant impact on the viability of an application.
A constant change in the immigration law makes it more difficult to have an accurate analysis. Many times it ends up in a wrong application. Due to diversity of the visa structure, sometimes you will lose an important option which will lead to faster processing.
An assessment done by a registered Australian migration agent (esp. one who works primarily on skilled migration to Australia) should be far more accurate when assessing skilled related Australian visas.
Will the immigration authorities or Embassy help me to prepare my application and make sure that everything is as per guidelines before applying?
No. This type of service is no longer provided by Immigration department. The authorities exists to enforce the immigration law, make decisions on residence applications and to issue visas. Although basic information and application forms are available on the immigration website, the authorities are unable to provide independent advice and personalized guidance on your specific case. That is the reason the department encourages people to utilize the services of only registered migration agents.
Must I leave my job as soon as I get my PR?
The Australian Immigration Department does not expect you to resign from your overseas job as soon as you gain your permanent residence visa.
There is an expectation however that you enter Australia by a certain date, usually stipulated in the decision letter, & take reasonable steps to progressively relocate to Australia with your family
If you have been granted a permanent visa but it is taking an unreasonably long time to move to Australia, you may have problems getting a Resident Return Visa (RRV) at a later stage. Under certain circumstances, your permanent residence visa may be subject to cancellation.
How many people will be granted the right of permanent residence in Australia this year?
The planning level for the migration (non-humanitarian) programme for 2011/12 is set at 185,000 places, which is an increase of over 16,000 from the previous year: mainly additional places under the Skilled Migrant visa category
Can the immigration authorities refuse my application?
- Yes. A surprisingly large number of applicants are unaware how strictly the immigration regulations are enforced and how often applications are refused or delayed due to technical errors on their application due to wrong supporting documentation. So the moral of the story is, seek the professional guidance and independent advice of a migration consultant before lodging a visa application.
- Migration Agents exist to help you find the best way through the immigration maze and are highly effective in doing so. “ A doctor should do a doctors work”
My Migration Agent has assessed me as being eligible for residence in Australia. If I apply without his or her help, can I be certain of success?
No. Although you may fundamentally qualify under the immigration policy, you are by no means guaranteed of success. Your application must be prepared in accordance with the prevailing immigration regulations and submitted together with the appropriate supporting documentation in order to be approved by the immigration authorities.
The ways in which to do this are not always clearly set out by the immigration authorities and result in many applicants presenting their cases incorrectly, inevitably leading to refusal. So you are strongly advised to seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent.
What is a permanent resident?
PR will give you a permanent right to live and work in Australia and unlimited travel and entry to Australia. You are eligible for medical care (medicare) immediately, but must be resident in Australia for two years before qualifying for social welfare assistance (i.e. unemployment benefits). You are not permitted to vote as a permanent resident in Australia.
After four years, you can apply for citizenship, entitling you to an Australian passport. This visa will be renewed after 5 years. To renew your permanent residency, you must have been lawfully present in Australia for a period of, or periods that total, not less than two years in the period of five years. Limited exceptions to the two-year rule apply Temporary residents (those on student and work visas) are generally not entitled to medical care or social welfare assistance at any time and are generally unable to remain for longer than 4 years. These applicants are recommended to take out private health insurance. There are many other social security benefits once you get PR.
How does Medicare work for migrants?
As soon as you arrive as a resident, you should visit a Medicare office with proof of your PR status. You will be able to register for Medicare straight away (in fact you can do this even if you’re on a holiday validating your visa), and you will get a temporary Medicare card. Once you’ve done this, if you need to see a doctor, just go to any medical centre (many of which open all day, 7 days a week) and wait your turn. Many medical centres will ‘bulk-bill,’ in other words they bill Medicare directly and you don’t pay at all (provided you have your Medicare card with you).
If the medical centre doesn’t bulk-bill you need to pay (AUD 35 is typical for a GP consultation) and you can claim about 70% the money back in either cash or electronic funds transfer to your bank account if you bring the receipt and your Medicare card.
If you need an X-ray or other tests you can get these at pathology centres which are located in almost every suburb. You normally need to be referred by a doctor. Again most of these places will bulk-bill Medicare directly, or you can claim most of the cost back.
You should get used to carrying your Medicare card with you at all times in Australia.
What is the difference between getting a permanent or temporary visa ?
Holders of permanent visas are permitted to remain in Australia indefinitely. Holders of temporary visas are permitted to remain for the specified period. The period varies depending on the class of visa
Can I remain in Australia permanently on a Bridging Visa?
Bridging visa does not permit you to remain in Australia permanently. It will maintain your lawful status in certain situations, for example during the processing of your application for a substantivevisa.
If you wish to remain permanently you will need to apply for and be granted a substantive visa, which allows you to remain permanently
Why do most people use an officially-registered migration agent to double-check their visa application?
Mostly to protect themselves from the HIGH FAILURE RATE: up to 50% of D.I.Y permanent residence visa applicants fail to receive their residence visas due to application errors, misunderstandings or confusion that commonly arise during the immigration process. This compares to an average success rate of over 95% for those applicants that lodge their applications through an officially-recognised migration agent.
When I migrate, will I lose my current passport?
No, not necessarily. Firstly, you will enter as a permanent resident which does not affect your current citizenship status. After four years you can apply for Australian citizenship (but this is not obligatory). The Australian Government allows dual-nationality (i.e. the holding of two passports), so you could retain your current passport and obtain an Australian passport as well. Having said this, you must check that your own country of citizenship allows dual-nationality, as this right must be reciprocal. If not, you will need to surrender your other passport in order to become a citizen.
How do I become an Australian Citizen?
You may become a citizen of Australia in one of three possible ways.
- By Birth: In Australia people automatically become an Australian citizen if they are born here and one or both of their parents must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.
- By Descent: If you are the child of an Australian citizen but you are born overseas you will generally be granted Australian citizenship. There are a number of rules that might apply to people in this category. These are indicated in the Australian Citizenship Act, 1948.
- By Grant: If you are a non-citizen of Australia you can apply to become an Australian citizen. You must meet several requirements, which generally are that, you:
- Are an Australian permanent resident
- Are over 16 ye ars of age
- Have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for a total of two years in the previous five, including a total of 12 months in the two years immediately preceding the date of application. Total stay in Australia should be more than 4 years
- Have knowledge of Basic English
- Understand your responsibilities and privileges as a citizen
Are there any restrictions on taking money into or out of Australia?
Australia no longer operates Exchange Control, and Australian residents are free to move money into and out of Australia, and save and invest overseas as they wish. However, amounts of more than AUD 10,000 in cash (but not bank drafts, or traveller’s cheques) must be reported to Australian customs when carried into or out of Australia. Keeping your money overseas does not exempt you from paying Australian tax on it either.
Can I open a bank account in Australia before I arrive?
It depends on where you are arriving from. If your home country operates exchange controls, you may find it difficult. If not, you should check with your current bank to see if it has any special links with an Australian bank or check with Comman wealth bank of Australian who operate in your current country of residence. They are opening accounts for migrants before you land in Australia. They will help you to open an account with one of their Australian branches.
Once you arrive in Australia, you can open a bank account with no identification other than your passport for the first number of weeks (it depends on the bank – about 6 weeks is typical). After that you need additional forms of ID under the 100 point system that operates in Australia. A passport and driving licence are enough evidence to meet this requirement.
For Onshore applicants
Can I apply for permission to work while in Australia?
If you held a substantive visa at the time of application for another substantive visa, the bridging visa granted to you will normally continue the permission to work conditions of the visa you held. If the visa you held did not permit work (for example, a Tourist/Visitor visa) you will not be entitled under the bridging visa to engage in work.
If you do not have permission to work, or if you only have a restricted permission to work, you may be able to apply for another bridging visa with permission to work.
Can I apply for more than one visa at a time?
Yes, u can apply for more than one visa at a time. Only thing is that u have to satisfy requirements for all visas and pay separate fees for each visa, u are going to apply
What happens to my visa if my passport is lost or stolen?
Losing a passport does not affect the visa granted to you. Your passport contains evidence of the grant of the visa rather than the visa itself. You should obtain a new passport from the country that issued it, and present the new passport at an Australian visa office for re-evidencing of the visa. There is a fee for re-evidencing some visas.
Do I need to advise the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) if I change my address?
You must tell the Department of Immigration where you intend to live while your application is being processed. If you will be changing your address for more than 14 days you must tell the Department your new address and how long you intend to be there. A form is available for this purpose.
Can I appeal the decision to refuse to grant a visa or to cancel a visa?
Most decisions made in Australia can be reviewed, as well as some applications made overseas. However, there are strict time limits.
When you are notified of a decision to refuse to grant or to cancel a visa, you will also be advised as to whether you may seek a review of the decision made.
Generally, a decision made outside Australia refusing to grant a visa where there is no nomination or sponsorship in that subclass is not reviewable. Where sponsorship or nomination is involved, then the sponsor or nominator in Australia or an Australian relative of the visa applicant can seek rights of review.
If your review is unsuccessful, and you still believe Immigration is wrong, it may be possible to seek review of that decision by the Federal Court. The review by the Court is not a review of the merits of the decision. This is only if the tribunal has made a mistake in applying the law in decision-making process.
Are there any restrictions on the rights of Australian PRs to purchase property in Australia?
Australian PRs can purchase property on the same terms as Australian citizens. Temporary residents and visitors normally have to get Foreign Investment Review Board approval to buy residential property.
Does an Australian PR living overseas have to file an Australian tax return?
Permanent residence in Australia for migration purposes and residence in Australia for tax purposes are entirely separate. It is possible to hold Australian PR and not be an Australian tax resident, and it’s also common for temporary residents to be liable for Australian tax. Only an Australian resident for tax purposes, or someone who has income sourced in Australia, may have to file for Australian tax.
If I leave my investments overseas, will I have to pay Australian tax on the income?
Once you are resident in Australia, you will be generally liable for Australian tax on your worldwide income, whether you bring it into Australia or leave it overseas. In particular, make sure you comply with Australia’s Foreign Investment Fund taxation regulations, if you have any investments (including pension funds and insurance policies) located outside Australia.
Australia has agreements with many countries to avoid double taxation of people in this position, but these are not necessarily comprehensive.
Can I join an Australian police force or work in the public sector as an Australian PR?
Some public sector jobs across Australia, including in the police forces, are open to both citizens and PRs. The majority of State/Territory government jobs are open to permanent residents (it depends on the state, NSW government jobs are mostly open to permanent residents) unless special circumstances apply. The Commonwealth (federal) government normally requires Australian citizenship, however if you are a permanent resident eligible for citizenship you can sometimes be engaged on a probationary basis.
What household goods should I bring / not bring to Australia?
That is a very personal decision, and often depends on which country you are coming from. Australia’s electrical system operates on the same voltage as in Western Europe, but the plugs are different and you will need to either change them or use a socket adapter. If you are coming from North America, you will additionally need a voltage adaptor, which is more expensive.
Shipping companies will generally charge by volume rather than weight.
- Televisions: As there are a number of different TV standards in the world, a television is mostly not worth bringing, unless it’s a particularly expensive model, or is designed to work in Australia as well as your home country. Check with the manufacturer for details.
- VCRs: Any VHS video tapes you have will play on an Australian VCR.
- DVDs: Due to the region coding system operated on many DVDs, you may have problems playing ‘Region 4’ DVDs bought in Australia. The best option with a DVD player is only to buy one in the first place that is capable of playing DVDs from all regions of the world.
- CD players: CD players should work without any problems, and CDs you bring will play on an Australian CD player.
- PCs: PCs should work without any problems in Australia. Monitors should work also, although there have been reports of slight distortions caused by bringing a monitor designed for the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere (hasn’t affected my monitor, though).
- Telephones: You will need to be careful in attaching any non-Australian telephone unit to the Australian phone network, and it’s best to check with the Australian authorities in advance. Your moving company may be able to help. Fixed line units may only require an adaptor, whereas cordless phones may not be acceptable due to the radio frequency they operate on. Your mobile phone will work in Australia, as long as it can operate on the GSM-900 frequency.
- Household Appliances: Because of high shipping costs, it is usually better to buy new ones in Australia. In addition, some appliances may not be designed for Australian conditions and may not be sufficiently effective for the climate in most parts of Australia).
- Cars: Shipping costs, import duties, parts availability and resale values make importing a car very costly compared to simply buying a new car in Australia
Are migrants eligible for the AUD 7,000 first time buyer’s grant for house purchases?
How is the property market in Australia?
The cost of residential and business properties varies greatly. Like all other areas of the world, residential properties that are convenient for cities or have ‘lifestyle’ advantages such as sea views, river views etc. always cost more than similar properties without these advantages. Taking a typical (mid market) 3 to 4 bedroom single level dwelling (within commuting distance of a city) as a base, the cost variation depends on state to state and location.
As you can see, there is an enormous variation in pricing. Most rural properties will be significantly less expensive than these and generally would have more space.
What is the Average income of an Australian?
The average Australian lives a somewhat relaxed and reasonable lifestyle with a good disposable income. Many Australians now work from home in their own business sometimes having 2 or 3 different part-time jobs although most are still employed by small to medium size companies. In many families, the wife also has a part or full-time job. Typical yearly income for a family where both the husband and wife work would be approx. AU$60-70,000.
How is the cost of Living in Australia?
Living costs in Australia are low compared to Europe but probably higher than the USA. Interest rates are quite low with typical mortgage rates being about 5.5-6.5%.
Fuel costs (petrol, diesel etc.) are again lower than Europe but higher than the USA with a litre of unleaded petrol costing just under AU$1.00.
Food, Clothing etc. cost about the same or slightly less than in Europe or USA which is surprising given the proximity to Asia – you would expect such items to be significantly less expensive.
Law and order in Australia
Although Australian crime rates are not low, they are significantly lower than, for example, USA. Also violent crime is relatively rare – the average Australian will not suffer a mugging, see a stabbing or shooting or otherwise have to worry about such things during his/her life. It is a Gun free country. One side effect of this however is that the occasional violent crime that does take place tends to receive a disproportionate amount of media publicity making it seem as if Australia has a worse problem than it really does.
House and car break-ins are more common but if you adopt common sense precautions such as not leaving valuables on display in your car then you are unlikely to be affected.
How advanced is the Health care system in Australia?
Australia operates a nationwide medical insurance scheme (‘Medicare’) that ensures free or low cost treatment for injuries & illnesses. Most Australians tend to ‘top up’ this scheme with additional medical insurance.
Permanent Residents and Citizens of Australia are entitled to the basic medical insurance but overseas visitors on holiday or temporary visitors need to take private insurance. The doctors, hospitals and associated people and organisations are of high quality and strictly controlled.