Just to recap once again, following are the different categories for offshore migration visas.
Offshore immigration. If you are outside Australia
Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 175)
A permanent visa for people with skills in demand in the Australian labour market. Applicants are not sponsored and must pass a points test.
Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176)
A permanent visa for people unable to meet the Skilled – Independent pass mark. Applicants must be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in Australia or nominated by a participating State or Territory government. Applicants must pass a points test lower than that for the Skilled – Independent visa.
Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 475)
A three (3) year provisional visa for people who can meet the lower pass mark for this visa. Applicants must be either sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia or nominated by a participating state/territory government. After living for two (2) years and working for at least one (1) year in a Specified Regional Area, applicants can apply for a permanent visa.
Skilled – Recognised Graduate (Temporary) visa (subclass 476)
An 18 month temporary visa for graduates of recognised overseas educational institutions who have skills in demand in Australia. There is no points test for this visa.
There are some other offshore migration visa options but all of them come with strings attached. Which means there are conditions attached to them.
Obviously, every one would be interested in the visa subclass 175 which doesnt place any restrictions of any sort. You can live and work any where in Australia. The rest of the visas have their conditions like living in a particular area etc.
How to Apply for offshore migration
The first step in applying for an offshore migration visa subclass 175 is to chose a profession which is listed on the Skilled Occupation List, SOL, or the Most on Demand List, MODL.
If your profession is not listed on the SOL/MODL then you cannot apply for skilled migration. There might be other ways but this post only deals with skilled migration.
Also, you must satsify some basic criterias for being able to apply for offshore skilled migration. For example, you should be under 45 years of age AND you must have post-secondary (such as university or trade) qualifications (in a small number of occupations substantial relevant work experience may be acceptable) and your skills must have been assessed by the relevant Australian assessing authority as suitable for your nominated occupation.
Check what the is current pass mark for your visa sub class 175. And see that provided you get a positive skills
The second step is to make sure that you have, in the past 24 months before you lodge the application, at least have 12 months of experience in the profession you have selected on the SOL/MODL.
Please note that this is only the immigration departments work experience requirement. You might need more work experience depending upon who your assessing body is.
For example for IT professionals the work experience requirement set by the Australian Computer Society, ACS, is 4 years, whereas the work experience requirement set by Engineers Australia for engineers is zero years. Yes, engineers Australia require an engineer to write a competency demonstration report. If you write a good report perfectly, you get a positive skills assessment. If you write an unsatisfactory report, you get a negative skills assessment. So basically you can get yourself assessed from engineers Australia right after your undergrad degree and then work for one year and then apply for immigration.
In order to get a positive skills assessment from ACS, an IT professional must have 4 years of work experience. If you do not have 4 years of work experience, ACS will not give you a positive skills assessment. Which means the Immigration department will not be able to consider you for immigration as the ACS doesn't consider you a qualified IT professional.
Get yourself assessed by your assessing body. The name of each assessing body is listed next to the profession on the SOL/MODL.
Different assessing bodies have different criterias for giving overseas applicants a positive skills assessment.
For example, an IT professional, must have studied in a degree which has 75% of core computer science subjects AND also have 4 years of paid professional experience in the IT industry.
For engineers, the Australian Engineering council requires writing of a Competency demonstration report, CDR, by the candidate as well as 3 years of professional experience.
Most assessing bodies consider undergraduate degrees PLUS work experience as the criteria for giving a positive skills assessment to a candidate.
The process of getting a positive skills assessment takes any where between 8 to 12 weeks.
Appear in the IELTS exam. You must be at least at the "competent" level in the IELTS exam to be eligible to apply for occupations other than trade occupations. You should have a high enough level of English that would enable you to score at least a "6" on all four components of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination. However, if your nominated occupations is a trade occupation, a score of "5" (vocational) will suffice.
From Sept 1, 2007, any one getting 7 and above in all bands of IELTS is awarded bonus points and an applicant can gain 25 points if he/she scores 7 or above in all bands of IELTS in either academic or general version of the test.
After having acheived a positive skills assessment and a score in IELTS exam, you should lodge an application with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, DIAC.
While applying online, you will realize how many points you are scoring. It is better to calculate your points beforehand using the points calculator which you can access at the following link.
If you are falling short of points, it would be advisable to contact a lawyer.
It is better to lodge the application online as that speeds up the process.
The online process is pretty straight forward. Once the application is lodged online, you might be asked to send original documents by post.
The process takes between 10 to 16 months.
You can gain bonus points for getting 7 and above in all bands of IELTS, for having a spouse whose profession is also on the SOL/MODL. Note that to claim points for spouse skills, the spouse will also have to proove his/her skills by getting a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessing body.