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Live and Work in Australia - Australian Migration FAQs

Want to work and live in Australia, but not sure how to go about it, or maybe you have a few questions or concerns regarding your visa?

This page contains answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about visa applications for skilled and family migrants as well as general FAQs about migrating 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 purpose of the English test is to prove that you are competent enough to function in Australia, a country whose only official language is English. The Australian Department of Home Affairs accept the following English language tests:

There are various levels of English proficiency, from functional to superior. To find out more about how to prove your attainment of a specific level of English, click on the levels below.

The English components which get tested include listening, reading, writing, and speaking and because of this, most English tests are conducted in a controlled environment 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 may vary but on average most applications are processed in nine to twelve months.

Once the visa is granted every visa holder must make an initial entry on Australia on or before the initial entry date stipulated on your 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?

If you hold a skilled migrant visa it is easier to obtain employment. It is not a requirement to have employment before arriving in Australia. It is our experience that it is far more productive to seek employment while you are 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 ever you would like to live, however on a subclass 190 visa, the sponsored applicant must live in the sponsoring state or territory for a specified amount of time. Holders of a subclass 489 must live in a designated post code specified 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?

Regardless of the regulations applicable at any given point in time, it is our practice to re-evaluate all possible visa options prior to lodging a visa application to ensure that the advice given is still accurate.  Should there have been any changes to the regulations, that these are taken account of, regardless of whether they have a positive effect or a negative effect on the application.  What this means in reality is that even if you started your application today and the regulations do change in your favour, you would enjoy the benefit of those changes anyway.  Again, based on over 20 years of experience in Australian immigration, our prudent advice to anybody is to secure your position as soon as you can by commencing your application as soon as you can.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush as the saying goes.

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.

You can view the states’ rules and requirements by clicking the links below:

New South Wales: Roads and Maritime Services (RTA)

Victoria: VicRoads

Queensland: Department of Transport and Main Roads

Northern Territory: Motor Vehicle Registry

Western Australia: Driver and Vehicle Services 

South Australia: Transport Vehicle Registration

Australia Capital Territory: Rego.act

Tasmania: Transport Tasmania

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.

You can view the rules for obtaining a driver’s license for each state by clicking the appropriate link below:

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).

To view the processing times for the various visa types, please click the links below:

Family Visas:

For more Australian Visa information, please click here.