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Live and Work in Australia - Australian Migration FAQs

Want to work and live in Australia but don’t know how to get there or have questions or concerns about your visa?

This page has answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visa applications for skilled and family migrants, as well as general questions about moving to Australia.

Skilled Visas FAQs

What is the English competency test, and can I write the test online or must it be written at a certified English Testing Centre?

The point of the English test is to show that you know enough English to get by in Australia, where English is the only official language. The following English language tests are accepted by the Australian Department of Home Affairs:

There are different levels of English ability, ranging from “functional" to “superior." Click on the levels below to learn more about how to show that you have a certain level of English.

Listening, reading, writing, and speaking are all parts of English that are tested. Because of this, most English tests are given in a controlled setting at a certified English language testing station.

What happens if I don’t pass my English test?

It is likely that you will need to redo the English test until you achieve the correct scores.

How long does it take for my visa to be processed and once my visa is granted, how soon will I have to leave the country to be in Australia?

Visa processing times can vary, but most applications are usually processed in nine to twelve months, on average.

Once a visa is granted, the person who has it must make their first trip to Australia on or before the date on their visa grant.

Would I need to have employment prior to arriving in Australia or would I be able to obtain the visa and then apply for work?

Getting a job is easier if you have a skilled migrant visa. Not having a job before going to Australia is not a requirement. From what we’ve seen, it’s much more useful to look for work while you’re in Australia.

Would I have to work in the industry as per the skilled visa?

No. There are no stipulations or restrictions at all.

Am I able to choose where I want to live in Australia?

On a Subclass 189 visa, you can choose where you want to live. On a Subclass 190 visa, however, the sponsored applicant must live in the sponsoring state or territory for a certain amount of time. The people who have a subclass 489 must live in a certain post code that is changed from time to time.

Does the visa application include my spouse and children, or will I require additional applications and costs for them?

The main application is for you, your spouse and your dependent children. However, there are additional costs involved depending on the size of your family. The base application fee covers the main applicant and additional costs apply for each family member and they depend on their age and relationship to the main applicant.

Must I currently be working in my nominated occupation?


Can I extend my initial entry date?

The Department of Home Affairs are reluctant to extend the initial entry date.

Should I wait until the regulations change to improve my chances or maybe I may even be able to apply for a better visa category?

No matter what the rules are at any given time, we always re-evaluate all visa options before submitting a visa application to make sure that the advice given is still correct. If there have been any changes to the rules, they should be taken into account, whether they help or hurt the application. This means that even if you started your application today and the rules changed in your favor, you would still be able to take advantage of those changes. Again, based on more than 20 years of experience with Australian immigration, our best advice to anyone is to start your application as soon as possible to secure your spot. The saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Family Visas FAQs

Can I add a family member that has already been granted to my visa?

No, you will need to apply for a new visa for them.

Which Family Visa(s) allow permanent residency in Australia?

The Child (Subclass 101), Parent (Subclass 143) and Partner (Subclass 100) visas allow you to stay in Australia indefinitely.

The Five-year Sponsored Parent (Subclass 870) and the Partner (Subclass 309) visas will allow you to stay in Australia temporarily.

Will I be able to work in Australia?

Yes, most family visas will allow you to work in Australia however, you will not have any working rights if you are in Australia on a Subclass 870 visa.

General FAQs

What do I need in order to:

a) Open a bank account

When it comes to documentation, Australian banks use a points system. There is a given list of documents, and each document is assigned a set number of points. In order to open a bank account, you will need to present a number of documents that, together, add up to 100 points.

You can present the following documents:

  • Passport – 70 points
  • Driver’s license or ID card – 40 points
  • A card with your name on it (credit or store account card) – 25 points
  • Proof of residence – 25 points
b) Buy a car in Australia

Each Australian territory has its own regulations regarding vehicle registration, but buyers do not generally have to worry about the registration process if they are purchasing a car from a reputable dealership. You will need to provide some form of proof of purchase and forms of identification. In some territories, roadworthiness certificates are also compulsory for registration.

c) Lease a property

Typical applications require:

  • Proof of identity (passport/driver’s license)
  • Proof of income, bank statements for the last three months
  • References – one of the most important parts of the application. This will include the applicant’s current employer and, possibly, a previous landlord

In some cases, you might be asked to put down a deposit with their application. Once references have been checked by the estate agent, the whole application will go to the owner of the property for final approval.

d) Obtain an Australian driver’s license

Most states will allow you to drive on the license you obtained in South Africa for 3 months. You must then apply for your local license within that time period.

e) Register a company in Australia

You will need to provide the following information:

  • name and contact details
  • address and contact details of the business or organisation
  • details of each person or organisation associated with the business (e.g. partner, director, secretary or shareholder)
  • tax agent number (if you wish to use an agent)
  • proposed company name
  • company name reservation number (if you have a name reserved)
  • company structure
  • place and date of birth for directors and any secretaries
  • details of shares issued
  • credit card details

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an Australian Company Number (ACN) when the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) registers your company. If you want to run your business as a company, you need to register your company and get an ACN before you can get your Australian Business Number (ABN).

Further information can be found by clicking this link.

What is the minimum wage in Australia?

As of June 2019, the Australian minimum wage is AUD18.93 per hour or AUD719.20 per 38 hour week (before tax).