The year 2020 was filled with challenges and affected us in different ways. Some have had to put their Australian dream on hold, but some achieved their visa goals incredibly fast, especially for those who are in the health and medical field with an important role in helping us manage this pandemic.
This year, plans of realising one’s Australian dream come into focus. Here are some strategies that may be useful in achieving your Australian visa objectives. The strategies discussed below will be structured using Arthur Ashe’s quote, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Start where you are
The “where” here can be your physical location (inside or outside of Australia) or your current stage in life (graduating from university, looking for better job opportunities, or looking for a better place to migrate to as an individual or as a family). Applying for a visa in Australia or applying offshore gives different incentives and options. Your visa options will depend on where you are located, your current stage in life and your objectives.
For those who intend to apply for a Permanent Residency (PR) visa under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream, some states have opened their application for nomination, but most states will only invite applicants who are onshore and applicants with roles that help Australia cope with the pandemic. For those who intend to study here, student visas are currently being processed and can also be granted but offshore student visa holders can only enter Australia once our border opens. Offshore students will have the option to defer their studies until they can come here or start their classes online while still offshore.
For other offshore temporary visa applications (visitor visa, subsequent entrant visas, work or graduate visas), these are still being processed but visa holders can only enter if they have a travel exemption approval or when our borders have opened. Partner visa holders (subclasses 100, 309, 801, 820) and Child visa holders (subclasses 101, 102, 445) can come to Australia even when our borders are closed, and they are not required to apply for travel exemption.
Use what you have
What you have can be your work experience, qualification, or your family relations in Australia. All these can be handy in your application depending on which visa you are eligible for. If your qualification and work experience are under our skills list and you intend to migrate in Australia, you can then check if you satisfy all the criteria for PR visas under the GSM stream. Having a relative in Australia can give you an additional fifteen points on your migration score on a 491 visa if your relative lives in a designated regional area and if your nominated occupation is on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLSTSSL).
Your work experience and previous qualification can also help you in applying for your student visa. Having relatives or friends here can help you save money on accommodation if they are willing to provide free or cheap accommodation for you while you study here.
Do what you can
After reflecting on where you are at and after taking stock of what you have, you should first do your own research on your visa options based on your objectives and then consult with a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer to get advice on your best pathway and to understand your next steps. Note that the Australian visa legislation changes frequently which means that your options can either disappear or you may suddenly find more options as compared to what was presented to you before. This reiterates the need for getting up-to-date and genuine visa advice and guidance.
Once you have your next steps planned, start working on each one of them while keeping updated with any legislation changes that can affect your application. It would be less stressful for you if you focus on one step at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself with the whole application process and the future changes it can bring. You can deal with each change only if it currently affects your application.
In conclusion, whatever your Australian visa goal may be, you should start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can with the hope that the year 2021 will bring about more opportunities to transform your objectives into fruition.
(Johanna Bertumen Nonato is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN1386856) and the CEO of BridgeAus Migration Consultancy. For enquiries, email email@example.com or call 0427 589 274).