I have been fortunate to have been granted an Australian Permanent Residence (PR) visa subclass 189 by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on March 21, 2017 which allows one to live and work in Australia on a permanent basis. I have taken the time to provide some documentation as to the steps i have taken to achieve this. I am no professional so please do your own due diligence before you apply for this visa.
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The Skilled Independent visa subclass 189 and Skilled Nominated visa subclass 190 are points-tested migration visas where the minimum passing points score is 60 out of 100. The minimum score varies and depends on your occupation so make sure you research and see what your passing score is. Generally the higher the score, the higher your chances of getting invited for a visa. Try checking your points score on this page. The checklist of the requirements for visa subclass 189 are formally listed by the DIBP on this page.
Any document in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. A translator in Australia must be accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). A translator outside Australia does not need to be accredited, but they must endorse the translation with their full name, address, telephone number, and details of their qualifications and experience in the language being translated. Some of my documents were in German so I wanted to play it safe and went for an accredited translator, the Migration Translators. I am very happy with the translation as they are very professional but for some people it may be a bit pricey.
Schedule an appointment for an English Language Ability test that is accepted by the DIBP as soon as possible. All internationally recongnized english test centers (such as IELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE) test 4 modules of english language ability, which include speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Once you have taken the exam and your results are ready (after 1-2 weeks of exam), the test center will usually send you a PDF score report. If you receive a hard copy of the score report, just scan it to a PDF file. Make sure you inform the test center to send the score report to the DIBP if you weren't provided any options to do so. Save this file as an Evidence of English Language Ability.
It is a good idea to prepare for at least 2-4 weeks as it is crucial that you practice and get familiar with the format of the exam you have chosen. Make sure you know your weaknesses and practice improving them. There are a lot of resources online and on YouTube which you can utilize to practice. Remember that even native english speakers can fail an english exam.
STEP [ 2 ]=> Skills Assessment
For the Skills Assessment you have to pick or nominate an occupation in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and take note of the ANZSCO Code and Assessing Authority. When you navigate to the SOL site you can click the link in the Assessing Authority column for the corresponding occupation that matches the exact work you do. This will lead you to the website where you will have to apply for a Skills Assessment. In my case where I have nominated Developer Programmer (ANZSCO Code 261312), the Assessing Authority is Australian Computer Society (ACS). For a Civil Engineer or Mechanical Engineer the assessing authority would be Engineers Australia. The application fee is 300-1000 AUD for most occupations. The application process can take up to 12 weeks but can also be as quick as 1-2 weeks. The Assessing Authority will send you an assessment result PDF letter. Save this file as an Evidence of Skills Assessment.
Employment References (sample here) must meet the following requirements: be written on the official Letterhead of the company or government department providing the reference; the letterhead should indicate clearly the full address of the company and any telephone, fax numbers, e-mail and website addresses; the name and position of the person authorised to sign the employment reference should be typed or stamped below that person’s signature; the contact telephone number of the person writing the reference should be included in the letter; the letter should indicate the exact period of employment (including whether permanent or temporary, full or part-time), position(s) held, the duties undertaken and the salary earned - positions should not be described by generic titles (eg. research officer, public servant) but according to the nature of the duties undertaken (eg. research chemist, accounts clerk), and a payslip from your current employment should also be included – this is especially important from applicants working in government departments.
Submitting EOI and Receiving Visa Invitation
STEP [ 3 ]=> Submit EOI via Skill Select
Once you have received a successful Skills Assessment and gotten the desired English Language Ability test result, you are ready to submit an EOI. Create a Skill Select account and click the Submit an EOI button. Follow the instructions and make sure that you have sufficient evidence for everything you are claiming points for. You will be asked to provide information about your skills, qualifications, and educational history, as well as your English skills.
If you want to claim points for a certain period of work experience to match that of the skills assessment, mark the work experience as relevant. If you only want part of the employment to be relevant, break down the work period and mark the first part as not relevant and the other part as relevant. You can edit your EOI anytime while it is still in the Submitted state but take note that after every edit session, you will be placed back to the end of the queue as the invite process is on a first-come first-served basis for all applications with the same point score. Those with higher point scores get served first though.
Lodging Your Visa Application
STEP [ 4 ]=> Lodge Visa Application
After you have successfully received an invitation to apply for the visa you have selected in your EOI application, you can click on the Lodge Visa button that appears in your Skill Select account. This will lead you to the official DIBP ImmiAccount website used to lodge electoronic visa applications. Create an account If you don't already have one or log in. Once you are logged into ImmiAccount after you have clicked the Lodge Visa button from Skill Select, the application form for the visa is presented to you and you can fill out the pages. The process is similar to the EOI application, but most of the data you have provided in the EOI is already filled up here. When you are finished, you are required to pay a visa processing fee of A$3,600.
You can start attaching documentation for which you have claimed points for. The attachments don't need to be certified. You can attach high quality color scans in PDF format which must be less than 5 MB in file size. You only need to provide documents as evidence for categories you claim points for. For example, If you do not want to claim points for work experience, then you would not need to attach evidence for it. But note that you have to claim exactly those points you claimed in your EOI or else your visa application may be rejected. Be careful and make sure you are attaching the right documents in the right evidence category because you CANNOT remove documents once you have confirmed the attachment. DIBP does not entertain questions about removing or deleting documents that were incorrectly attached. They are all FINAL.
STEP [ 5 ]=> Arrange Health Examination
Arrange a Health Examination under an authorized Panel Physician using the HAP ID that DIBP provides you as soon as possible if you have not already completed one in the past one year. Click the Organize Health Examination button in your ImmiAccount to receive a HAP ID and follow instructions.
Recommended Documents Checklist
Evidence of Skills Assessment Skills Assessment result PDF from assessing authority Evidence of English Language Ability English Language Ability score report PDF from the test center Evidence of Travel Document
Travel document is usually a Passport Evidence of Birth or Age
Passport and/or Birth Certificate is enough Evidence of Qualifications (Overseas and/or Australian)
Certificate like Diploma and Transcript (or mark sheet) Evidence of Work Experience (Overseas and/or Australian) References Letters, payslip, appraisal letter, bank statements, tax document, CV Evidence of Character (Police Check) Police Clearance Certificate as evidence of good character Form 80
Electronically filled-up and signed Form 80 Evidence of Health Examination
If you already have completed all the required health tests in a previous visa application within the past one year, you may be able to use that as evidence.
Although it is not part of the requirements, the Case Officer often asks you to fill out Form 80. So i recommend you fill it out in advance. It's a bit lengthy so do it as soon as you can. You can electronically fill it up and even electornically sign it using Acrobat Reader DC. This is easier than filling up the form, printing and signing it, and then scanning it back to computer.
The more evidence you provide for work experience the better. I recommend documents such as your latest payslip, some tax document, an appraisal letter if any from your company, and your latest bank statement. These are the 4 documents i used as evidence of work experience overseas. Ofcourse you can provide more documents like your employment contract which would be even better.
Visa Process and Waiting Time
Your online visa application will be in the Received state for some time, it could take several weeks or even months for a decision to be made. Once a case officer is allocated s/he may or may not ask you to provide more documentation. If s/he does, then your application will go into the Information Requested state and you will have to click the Information Provided button once you have attached the requested document for the processing to continue in which the state will change to Assessment in Progress. The process may repeat until sufficient documentation has been provided. Mostly you will be waiting until a decision will be made.