Starting the journey to 190 visa


A journey of a thousand miles certainly does start with a single step, but when it comes to emigrating to Australia you need to make sure that the first step is in the right direction or else you could end up make a very costly mistake.

Don’t rush madly in without doing research. I’ve heard stories of people diving straight in, completing the expression of interest, submitting it, being asked to submit a formal application, paying the huge government fees and then having their visa rejected as can’t support the points they’ve claimed on their application.

Emigrating to Australia is a long journey, not just because it is so far away, but because there are a a number of important things you have to do, each of which can take a substantial amount of time. Careful planning upfront can help streamline the process so it goes as quickly as possible. You need to read as much information as you can and get your head around the process. Formulate your strategy upfront because as they say, failure to plan is planning to fail.

Don’t rush madly in without doing your research

So where to start? If you are looking to applying for a permanent residence visa (subclass 189, 190) then the first step is to see if your job matches one of the jobs on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). The SOL list is for “independent points-based skilled migration who are not nominated by a state or territory government agency”. This is for visa subclass 189 and is the first prize. If your occupation is on this list then you can apply directly for the visa without the need of either State sponsorship or a job offer and can live where ever you like, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. Be warned however that a matching job title doesn’t necessarily mean a matching occupation. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) publishes a list of occupation descriptions that outlines the tasks and duties normally undertaken in an occupation, the level of qualification and/or amount of work experience required to work in an occupation and the skill level of an occupation.

Just because you are in skilled labour, doesn’t mean your occupation features on the SOL. I was confident that with my multiple degrees and highly skilled occupation that I would easily qualify for a 189 visa, and to my dismay I couldn’t fit my job description into any of the SOL occupations. If you fall into the same boat as me and your occupation does not appear on the SOL, then the CSOL is your next port of call. This is a much longer list and if your occupation features here you may qualify for a visa provided there is a State sponsoring the occupation or have an employer in Australia will to sponsor you. My occupation, R&D Manager, appeared on the list so the next thing was to find out if any State was sponsoring. Fortunately for me, the State I would have wanted to live in, Victoria, was sponsoring so I now had a way in under visa subclass 190, provided I could get sponsorship from Victoria. Each State publishes their own list of occupations they are sponsoring, and sets minimum eligibility requirements, typically a minimum number of years experience required and a minimum English requirement. For me, I needed to demonstrate that I had at least two years relevant experience and at least 7.0 overall English in the IELTS English test.

Finally, at the start of each section, I’ve included a short summary of the activity, a difficulty rating from 1 to 10, how long it took me (this is obviously going to change from person to person depending on circumstances), and how much it cost. The difficulty ranking is subjective. If I give something a ranking of 10 it means it was barely achievable, 5 means it required some effort, 0 was about as difficult as writing your name. Again, this is case-by-case, if you have a complex situation, different aspects will be more difficult that it was for me. Please remember this website is meant for illustrative purposes only and not meant as immigration advice and so may not be accurate based on your unique situation.

Emigration checklist

  • Fact finding exercise

    Where you want to go, employment opportunities, attend migration shows, visa requirements

  • Skills assessment

    Start working on your skills assessment – get references, payslips, contracts in order

  • English test

    Do English test if needed for points or State sponsorship

  • Review documentation

    Make sure you have all documents and evidence

  • File expression of interest

    Once you have all supporting documents, submit your expression of interest

  • Apply for state sponsorship

    Typically, state sponsorship is applied for through your expression of interest

  • File application

    When invite is received, file application with relevant supporting documents

  • Medical & police clearance

    Complete medical examination and police checks

  • Prepare for the move

    Start preparing to move: quotes from removal companies, flights, schools, foreign bank account, job hunting, sell house, speak to employer, the list goes on!