Skilled migration visas are one of the best opportunities for skilled workers to live and work in Australia. Under the Australian General Skilled Migration program, skilled migrant and skilled worker applicants can use their qualifications, work experience and language ability to satisfy Australian immigration requirements for a permanent Australia visa.
The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is for people who are not sponsored by an employer and who have skills in occupations that Australia needs to fill labor shortages. Applicants must be over 18 and under 45 years of age and speak good English. They must also have recent skilled work experience or a recently earned and eligible Australian qualification as well as qualifications for an occupation listed on Australia's Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
Recent changes have been made to the Australian General Skilled Migration program. These include more points awarded for very good English skills and reducing the visa structure from 15 subclasses to 9 subclasses to make it more easy for an applicant to know which visa subclass best suits him/her.
The different subclass visa options available under the General Skilled Migration program are organized into onshore and offshore categories -- and below that -- into sponsored and independent categories. Onshore visas are meant for individuals already in Australia on an eligible visa to apply under the GSM. Offshore visas are for people who will be granted a permanent immigration visa from abroad and is the most common scenario for people looking to immigrate to Australia as a skilled migrant.
Sponsored visas are for applicants who are sponsored by an Australian relative or an Australian state/territory government. Sponsored visas have some more requirements placed upon them and in some cases a bond must be paid.
Independent visa categories have the least amount of restrictions placed upon them and is considered the preferred category for those who have the right qualifications and do not have an employer to sponsor them.
Some visa subclasses are assessed on a points based system. In some cases, when an applicant is assessed under the points based system and do not score enough points to qualify, they can be placed into a reserve pool that will be taken into consideration if the points requirements are lowered in the future.
These visa subclasses may be applied for from outside or within Australia. However, an applicant must be outside of Australia when the decision is made unless they are a citizen of New Zealand.
These visa subclasses can be applied for from those who are in Australia on an eligible visa. They may also still be in Australia when the decision is made upon the application.