Sunday, 12 February 2012

**Important: Information provided is only accurate at the time of posting. Due diligence is recommended to confirm changes to the application requirements and procedures at www.immi.gov.au

**Important update: New immigration guidelines from 1 July 2012 [read this]

**Author is not qualified to offer any form of migration advice, thus read this with a pinch of salt.

**The below article has since been outdated. To read about the latest guide (1 July 2013), go to "How to Apply for Australia Permanent Resident Visa (Subclass 189)" [Click here]




Skilled Migration Application (Subclass 175)

Introduction

The original post "How Did I Get Here" was done on the 30th Oct 2011. That means I have been posting garbage, nothing really useful to mankind for 3.5 months. By the time I stop updating this blog, I hope to leave a small legacy that might offer some form of help, however small, to someone out there.


I will do so by writing this simple guide. It will not be awfully detailed because I'm never capable of producing fine work in the first place. But it'll be functional. In Singapore terms, we call it 'just pass'.


There are many types of Skilled Migration visas as shown in this list:


  • Skilled – Independent (Residence) visa (subclass 885)
  • Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) visa (subclass 886)
  • Skilled – Regional visa (subclass 887)
  • Skilled – Regional Sponsored visa (subclass 487)
  • Skilled – Graduate visa (subclass 485)
  • Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 175)
  • Skilled – Sponsored (Migrant) visa (subclass 176)
  • Skilled – Regional Sponsored visa (subclass 475)
  • Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa (subclass 476)


Subclass 175

The visa that will be highlighted in this post is called subclass 175. It is one form of skilled migration, which is also commonly known as Permanent Resident Visa and it is probably the most visa that Singaporeans apply for.

Cost of application:

A$2,960 at the time this is posted. This cost does not include other charges like a health screen report, police clearance and the IELTS test.

Step 1: Qualification
Qualifying is simple though not easy. You'll need to fulfill 3 requirements:

  • are under 50 years of age
  • have competent English language skills
  • have the skills and qualifications that meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

It is simple isn't it? The first 2 are probably not a big issue to most Singaporeans. The last requirement is the killer. Always check the latest Skilled Occupation List (SOL) as it changes often. Then check if you could chalk up 65 points, which is the current passing mark.

Step 2: Application

If you do not qualify there are obviously 2 choices from here:

1) Stand up for Singapore
2) Get yourself qualified

If you do, here are the next steps:

1) Apply through a migration agent
2) Apply on your own

If you choose 1), that's out of my scope. There are a good number of agents in Singapore who are more than willing to do business with you. Usually there will be a happy ending - at a cost that you have to be willing to pay.

If you are cheapo adventurous like me and decide to apply yourself there is another choice to make:

1) Apply physically
2) Apply online

You can't go wrong by following either systems faithfully. Do not play punk by leaving any information or documents required. This is not a school exam where you can pass by answering 9 out of 10 questions. You need to put in a 100% effort here or prepare to kiss goodbye to your A$2,960.

Both systems, though tedious, are well constructed. If you follow the checklist to a T for 1) or fill in all fields for 2), you'll be alright.

Step 3: Wait

If you are dying to get out of Singapore and leave for Australia, prepare to die. This one really tests your patience. Checking the status of your application is available online once you are contacted and provided a Transaction Reference Number (TRN). The initial wait can be unbearable. This isn't spending S$10 for the application of a HDB BTO flat after all. The stakes involved are higher. 

Once you are allocated a case officer, things will get moving. The officer will contact you to request for incomplete information (provided he/she hasn't dump your application in the bin by then) or missing documents. This is when your health check will be requested. The medical centre will be sending the report directly to Adelaide office on your behalf so all you have to do is to turn up for the check. However, you will have to send the police clearance yourself after you obtain it for S$50.00 (presently). After these final documents are received by the Australian office, your application will move another inch towards the closing stage.

Step 4: Result

If your visa is not approved, it's not a tragedy. You can always stand up for Singapore. If your visa is approved however, you'll be heading to the Australia Embassy in Singapore to get your visa. 

It is merely a sticker no bigger than a single page of your Singapore passport. It looks something like that:

A very costly sticker
Ah, once this sticker is pasted on the last page of your passport, you can start setting a date to make your initial entry, which is 1 year upon the visa is granted. Should you fail to make the initial entry, your visa will be forfeited.

So make that trip, get your feet landed in Australia soil, get that passport stamped at the custom, your initial entry is done and you are official a Permanent Resident of Australia. 

Congratulations!




Wait. Don't be too happy yet. For the next 5 years after that, you must reside at least 2 years in Australia or your visa will not be extended at the end of the 5 years. There are some concessions about this but I don't want to talk about it in this post. Just remember - 2 out of 5 years. 

Good luck.