Australia Immigration Guide: Criteria for Skilled, Student, and Investor Visas


Thinking about moving to Australia? Whether you’re planning to work, study, or invest, navigating the immigration process can be a bit like solving a complex puzzle. But don’t worry! This guide will break down everything you need to know about Australia’s visa options, making your journey to the Land Down Under as smooth as possible.

Skilled Visas

Australia is always on the lookout for skilled workers to help boost its economy. The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is designed for individuals with specific skills and qualifications.

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

This visa is ideal for skilled workers who do not have a sponsor or family member in Australia.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must have a relevant occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
  • Need to score at least 65 points on the points-based assessment.
  • Must be under 45 years of age.

Application Process

  1. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect.
  2. Receive an invitation to apply.
  3. Gather required documents and apply online.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

This visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian state or territory.

State/Territory Nomination

  • Each state/territory has its own list of eligible occupations and criteria.
  • Nomination can add points to your EOI, increasing your chances of receiving an invitation.

Eligibility and Process

  • Meet the basic requirements of the GSM program.
  • Obtain a nomination from a state or territory.
  • Apply within 60 days of receiving an invitation.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491)

This visa allows skilled workers to live and work in designated regional areas.

Regional Sponsorship

  • Requires sponsorship by an eligible relative or nomination by a state or territory government.

Eligibility and Pathway to Permanent Residency

  • Live and work in a regional area for three years to become eligible for a permanent visa.
  • Similar eligibility criteria to other GSM visas, with added regional benefits.

Student Visas

Australia is a top destination for international students, offering world-class education and vibrant campus life.

Overview of Student Visas

Studying in Australia not only provides quality education but also offers a pathway to work and permanent residency.

Benefits of Studying in Australia

  • Access to top universities.
  • Opportunities to work part-time.
  • Post-study work options.

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Student Visa (Subclass 500)

This is the main visa for international students.


  • Enrolled in a full-time course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
  • Sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel, and living costs.
  • Adequate health insurance.

Application Steps

  1. Apply to a CRICOS-registered course.
  2. Receive a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).
  3. Create an ImmiAccount and submit your visa application.

Post-Study Work Visa (Subclass 485)

This visa allows graduates to stay and work in Australia temporarily.


  • Must have recently graduated from an Australian institution.
  • Completed a course that is at least two years in duration.

Transition from Student Visa to Work Visa

  • Apply within six months of completing your course.
  • Gain valuable work experience and improve your chances of obtaining permanent residency.

Investor Visas

Australia encourages investment from international entrepreneurs and investors to drive economic growth.

Importance of Investor Visas

Investor visas provide opportunities for high-net-worth individuals to establish a business presence in Australia.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 188)

This visa has several streams tailored for different types of investors.

Streams and Requirements

  • Business Innovation Stream: For people with business skills who want to establish, develop, and manage a new or existing business.
  • Investor Stream: Requires an investment of at least AUD 1.5 million in an Australian state or territory.
  • Significant Investor Stream: Requires an investment of at least AUD 5 million.

Application Process

  1. Submit an EOI through SkillSelect.
  2. Receive a nomination from a state or territory government.
  3. Apply for the visa with the necessary documentation.

Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 888)

This visa allows holders of the provisional visa to apply for permanent residency.

Transition from Provisional to Permanent

  • Must hold a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa.
  • Meet certain business and investment criteria.


  • Permanent residency for you and your family.
  • Freedom to live, work, and study anywhere in Australia.

Common Application Requirements

No matter which visa you apply for, there are some common requirements you’ll need to meet.

English Language Proficiency

Most visas require you to demonstrate your English language skills through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

Health and Character Requirements

Australia requires all visa applicants to meet specific health and character standards. This usually involves medical exams and police checks.

Points-Based System

Skilled visas use a points-based system to rank applicants. Points are awarded based on factors like age, work experience, and education.

Application Process and Tips

Navigating the application process can be daunting, but these tips can help.

Gathering Documentation

Ensure you have all necessary documents, including identification, qualifications, and proof of funds.

Lodging Your Application

Submit your application online through the Department of Home Affairs website.

Waiting for a Decision

Processing times can vary, so be patient. Check your ImmiAccount regularly for updates.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Incomplete or incorrect applications.
  • Missing deadlines.
  • Not meeting health and character requirements.


Immigration to Australia is a dream for many, and understanding the visa options available is the first step towards making that dream a reality. Whether you’re a skilled worker, a student, or an investor, Australia has a range of visas to suit your needs. Take the time to research, prepare your application carefully, and consider seeking professional advice to increase your chances of success.

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What is the most popular visa for skilled workers?

The Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) is highly popular due to its independence from employer or state sponsorship.

Can I work while on a student visa?

Yes, student visa holders can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during their course and unlimited hours during course breaks.

How much money do I need to invest for an investor visa?

The amount varies by stream. For the Investor Stream, it’s AUD 1.5 million, while the Significant Investor Stream requires AUD 5 million.

Is it possible to bring my family with me on a skilled visa?

Yes, most skilled visas allow you to include family members in your application.

What happens if my visa application is denied?

You can appeal the decision, but it’s crucial to understand the reasons for the denial and address them in your appeal.

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