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Emigrating to Australia – Visas

The main visas categories are as follows:

  • working and skilled visas (including employer sponsored and points-based visas)
  • studying and training visas
  • family and spousal visas

People can become a permanent resident of Australia in different ways. Three common ways of becoming a permanent resident are through gaining:

  • a family-stream permanent visa
  • a work-stream permanent visa
  • business or investor-stream permanent visa

The most popular emigration stream for South Africans is a work-stream permanent residence visas.

Work-stream permanent residence visas

These are for workers who have an Australian employer sponsoring them to work in Australia, or have skills that Australia values.

Skilled Independent visa subclass 189, Skilled Nominated visa subclass 190, and Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491.

If you are a skilled person who wants to live and work in Australia, you may apply for a Skilled Visa via the points system. A skilled visa may be granted to skilled people who could be professionals or trades workers and who qualify for the General Skilled Migration Program. The basic requirement is to score   a minimum of 65 on the points test. The application involves being granted an invitation under Expression of Interest. (EOI) to lodge a Permanent or Provisional Residence visa application.

Temporary Skill Shortage visa subclass 482, Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186, Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) subclass 494 and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme RSMS subclass 187.

As an Australian business, you wish to sponsor a skilled overseas worker on a temporary or permanent basis to meet a skills shortage position in your business. As an overseas skilled worker, you have skills and relevant work experience and an employer in Australia that is interested in sponsoring you to work for them. Your occupation has to be on the skilled list which is divided into the Short -Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long -Term Strategic occupation list. (MLTSSL).  You cannot apply for a 187 unless you are already a holder of a 482 or 457 visa and meet specific conditions.

Partner Visas – subclasses 820/801, 309/100 and 300

A provisional or permanent partner visa may be granted to the spouse, de-facto partner, or fiancé of an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident, based on the couple being in a genuine relationship. An onshore lodgement of a partner visa is the subclass 820/801 and if lodged offshore, it is a 309/100.

Generally, a partner visa is a two-step application with a provisional visa being granted first (820 or 309) and then two years from the lodgement date, the permanent part can be lodged (801 or 100), where the couple will need to demonstrate they are is still together.

A 300 visa is a prospective (fiancé) partner visa, which can only be lodged when the overseas applicant is offshore. The couple will need to have met in person to be able to lodge this visa.

Pointing System

The Australian immigration system is based on points. You have to obtain a minimum of 67 points in order to be eligible for a visa.

You get a different amount of points allocated to you based on various criteria e.g. your age, English language knowledge, skilled employment in the last 10 years (outside Australia), skilled employment in the last 10 years (in Australia), qualifications or nomination by a state or territory government. 


  •  Make sure that your South African passport has at least 6 months of validity after the date of your travel to Australia.
  • Collect all required documentation (it varies depending on the visa)

You need certified copies of all original documents and an original police clearance certificate. If you supply documents in a language other than English, then they must be accompanied by a certified English translation. You will also need to supply a completed version of the application form.

  • Set up an online IMMI account with the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/register). Using this account, you will be able to fill in the application form and upload the documents required for the visa. Upon submission of the form, you will receive a confirmation email along with an attachment containing a bar-code and a number under it (your VLN number). The VLN number is required to set up an appointment with TLScontact.
  • Set up appointment with TLScontact – you can select a visa application centre closest to your location in South Africa by going to this website: https://au.tlscontact.com/za/splash.php.
  • You will need to set up a profile with your email address or log in if you already have a profile. You will then be given a TSLScontact reference number (e.g. M123456) and you will then have to create an application in order to book your appointment. TLScontact has 5 locations in South Africa: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria/Tshwane and Port Elizabeth.

The process of obtaining an Australian visa is quite lengthy so you should start planning at least a few months in advance.

It is also advisable to seek assistance from licenced immigration agencies to get the required advice in terms of the most suitable visa for you and to let them take care of all the formalities including lodging the visa application.

Australian Citizenship Through Residency

Australian citizenship through residency can be granted on the following conditions:

  • you have lived in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying
  • you must have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application and not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, during the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months before applying.

Moovguide is not an accredited agent. Therefore, we will only provide the information stated on the government website. You are more than welcome access it here: (https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/busi/visas-and-migration). You can find complete and up-to-date information about all visa subclasses there and check whether you would be eligible for a particular visa.