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Australia's Immigration Policy Explained for Foreigners

People around the world would love to move to Australia. While it’s one of the more difficult countries to get permission to live in, it’s well worth it for people who can make it happen. 

Here’s what people who want to immigrate to Australia need to know so they have the best possible chance of getting there. When they have permission, they can finally make the move!

What Does it Mean to Immigrate?

Immigrating means to move permanently to another country. People who immigrate rarely return to their country of origin other than to visit family and friends.

Immigrating means making one's life entirely in a country other than the one where they were born. They work in the new country, live there, and send their family to school there.

People who immigrate may be able to hold onto their own citizenship even if they pursue citizenship in their new country. They will need to make sure this is legal before they do it.

In order to fully immigrate to Australia, people need to set up bank accounts there, get mobile service there, arrange for utilities there, and more.

Who Immigrates to Australia?

For a long time, the United Kingdom provided the highest number of immigrants to Australia. This makes sense given the close historical ties of the two countries.

After all, white people did not live in Australia until the UK started shipping criminals there by the boatload. Many people in the UK have extended family in Australia.

As of 2010-2011, the highest number of immigrants to Australia now come from China and India. Many people come from these countries come seeking a better life.

They also want to be as close to home as possible, and Australia is closer than the United States or Canada for many of these immigrants.

It’s important to note that Australia also has a lot of permanent residents from New Zealand. However, these do not count toward migration totals unless they get a permanent visa.

Over the last 20 years, Australia has focused more and more on temporary migration. It has become harder to get permanent migration visas and status.

Visiting for an extended period of time, however, has become easier. People can study and work in AUS without having to commit to living there forever.

Why Do People Immigrate to Australia?

Many people want to immigrate to Australia even though it is difficult to get permission to do so. People desire to move to AUS for many reasons.

Some simply like what they know of Australian culture and are ready to embrace it fully. They may have Aussie friends or know people from the country in other ways. 

Others move to Australia because they get jobs there. If someone’s dream job is in AUS and they can land it, then they have to move there to be able to fulfill its requirements.

People with close friends or family members in Australia may move to the country to be closer to these people. When people love each other, they want to be close and participate in daily life.

Australia has a number of good schools and universities. Some people move there to take advantage of educational opportunities that they can’t get or wouldn’t have at home.

Occasionally, people move to AUS because it is safer than staying in their home country. They might move there because they want or need to get away from a bad situation at home.

Finally, some people move to Australia for the adventure of it all. Australia is known for outdoor adventures and many people want to live there to take advantage of these.

How to Immigrate to Australia

Australia has a huge number of visas that potential visitors can apply for. Many of these allow for long-term or even permanent stays in the country.

The best way to get a visa to Australia is to find a job in the country. People can find lists of companies that hire internationally and apply until they get the job they want.

Once they have done that, the company they will be working for can help them through the visa process. They will need to submit documents, but the company can guide them. 

Australia also offers a Skilled Occupation List. People who work in these fields will find it easier to get visas to Australia because their skills are needed in the country.

Sometimes, people with these skills will need to line up a job before they move. Other times, they may be allowed to move as long as they get a job in a particular industry.

In some situations, people who are training for these jobs or who want to train for them may also be visa eligible. Their visa may require them to work in AUS for a period of time after training.

Immigrants can also seek nomination for a visa from one of the country’s states or territories. These areas may need skilled workers that are not needed in the country as a whole. 

People who get nominated by a state or territory will have to live and work there for a certain period of time after immigrating to Australia.

Some places in Australia are trying to attract new businesses or investors. People who qualify under these programs can get visas to live and work in these areas.

Australia may also offer visas to people who want to reunite with family members who are Australian citizens. They will need to prove the family relationship in order to qualify.

Applying for an AUS visa can be an extended process, though they aim to expedite it as much as possible. Travelers should be ready to submit all sorts of documentation to get a visa.

Many times, the government in Australia will request even more documentation than what is asked for in the application. Prompt responses help the process move faster.

Some visas require documentation of things like medical health, vaccinations, security clearances, and more. This can take time and slow down the process of getting a visa.

Once the visa is granted, the person needs to be ready to move to Australia. They should have their affairs in order and be able to leave home within a month.

Then they can start their new life in Australia!

What is Life Like as an Immigrant to Australia?

Many immigrants love living in Australia. While it is not perfect, it is also a place where immigrants are usually welcomed and their culture celebrated.

This occurs in part because white culture in Australia is based on immigration. White people were shipped to Australia as punishment for crimes for many years.

These people were immigrants and built their life in Australia. Now, they welcome other people who come to Australia to do the exact same thing.

Australia is a safe place for most immigrants. In fact, people who face persecution at home may find that Australia is actually safer for them than remaining home would be.

Australia has a well-developed infrastructure and is a great place to raise a family. Their schools are very good and immigrants can rest assured that their kids will get an awesome education.

Australian culture tends to be laid back, which can also help immigrants. People are less likely to be critical of cultural or language mistakes and more likely to be patient and helpful.

This can help immigrants feel like they belong in their new life, even if they don’t always know what to do. It can also make them feel safe if they need to ask for help as they immigrate.

What is the Difference Between a Long-Term Visit and Immigrating?

People who get permission to enter Australia for work or school can only stay for the duration of their employment or educational program. This is more of a long-term visit than immigration.

With the Australian government focusing more on temporary migration, these visas may sometimes be easier to get than permanent ones. 

Sometimes, immigrants can move to AUS on a temporary visa, then prove that they have extended employment in the country to transition to a permanent one. 

However, the temporary visa does give them the opportunity to return home if they find they don’t want to live in AUS after all. 

Some visitor visas do permit extended stays in Australia, though the visitor will need to be sure they qualify before they attempt to do this.

Many of these visas, however, do not permit working or only permit part-time work. This may not be enough to support the person while they are in AUS.

Moving to Australia as a Refugee

People seeking asylum or refugee status in Australia will need to be referred to the government by the United Nations.

While AUS participates in their resettlement program, they do not accept every refugee who wants to enter the country.

Once referred to the Australian government, potential refugees will need to fill out an application and have an interview. There, the degree of their need for resettlement will be assessed.

Their need is based on the amount of danger they face if they are not resettled, a history of torture or violence, their medical needs, and the potential for family reunification. 

A final decision on refugee status in Australia can and does often take more than a year to assess. Refugees can appeal this decision, but they must do so through the AUS government.

Living in Australia as a Legal Resident

People who achieve the goal of becoming a permanent resident in Australia have many rights. These are not identical to the rights of AUS citizens.

Permanent residents can work or study in the country. They can also participate in Australia’s nationalized health care plan, called Medicare.

Permanent residents can get loans so they can purchase property and even sponsor their own relatives for permanent residence. They can travel and go to free English classes, too.

They are even eligible to work in New Zealand, through an agreement between the two countries. Finally, they can apply for citizenship as they become eligible.

However, permanent residents cannot vote in Australian elections or have an Australian passport. They also cannot access government funds for the purposes of student loans.

Permanent residents cannot work in the Australian government, nor can they join the Australian military. 

Life in AUS is good for permanent residents. If they want the additional rights that citizens have, they can always try to qualify and apply for citizenship.

Undocumented Residents in Australia

Most people who are in Australia without documentation are doing so because they overstayed a visa. This means that they had permission to come into Australia when they initially entered.

However, it also means that they did not leave Australia when their visa expired. They simply stayed on and found ways to live and work while being undocumented.

Approximately 0.2% of the Australian population is undocumented. However, this number appears to be going up and up as time passes.

Because Australia is such a good place to live, many people don’t want to leave when it’s time. They believe that their life will be better living undocumented in AUS than at home. 

The Australian government reserves the right to deport illegal residents. If they catch people living in their country without permission, they can send them back to their homeland.

A few illegal residents come into Australia via boat from other countries like Indonesia or Malaysia. These illegal residents can apply for asylum, though many do not. 

Instead, they simply try to live on the fringes of AUS society, doing the best they can without valid permission to live and work in the country.

Getting into Australia can be difficult but it’s not impossible. When people know what they need to do, the process will be more straightforward.

Planning ahead gives potential immigrants the best possible chance of moving to Australia. Then they can enjoy everything they loved about the country that made them want to live there.

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