The Obligation of a State Sponsored Migrant

Hi, can you pls help me? I have a question, if i'm able to get 60points but for all Australia states right now they are not in need of my skill except for Darwin plus my job is only in the csol list. Will i still be able to apply for PR with my 60points or do i have to wait till they required my skill than i can apply for PR? Pls advice, thank you.

I've already answered this comment in the post, please refer to it.

I'll like to take the opportunity though to write something about State Sponsorship. This is something rarely discussed and there seem to be misconceptions about it, particularly about the obligations of a visa holder of state sponsorship. I am neither a migration agent nor have studied extensively into this area. What we did to come to Australia was to spend time to study the visa requirements that we applied for because we did not want to engage a migration agent to do our application. If you are the same intention, take ownership of your application and do the due diligence. After all, this is the first step to stepping out of your comfort zone. You should get used to the idea of being fiercely independent.

What is State Sponsorship? 

There are a few visa class that can be obtained with State Sponsorship. In a nutshell, such a visa involves a State or Territory that sponsors you to live and work in that particular area so that you can fill up certain skills they demand. Most Singaporeans who are lacking about 5-10 points in their skills assessment will be sniffing around State Sponsorship to fill the gap. That would be visa Subclass 190.

The crux of of State Sponsorship

The main difference of a State Sponsored Permanent Residence to a conventional one is that you are supposed to stay in the nominated state for at least 2 years, in accordance to the state requirements in your application form.

What happens if things turn out badly?

So you are awarded your Subclass 190 visa and you moved to your sponsored state with great enthusiasm. However, after a while you realised that you can't find a job and for one reason or another, can't integrate well there. You are thinking of moving to another state to try your luck but you are afraid of breaching your obligation to the state.

Can I leave?

This question is an interesting one. For a Singaporean, we are all so used to a black and white way of governance that things are either legal and illegal. Our system leaves very few things grey. So we are conditioned in thinking this way as well. People from other parts of the world will find it reliable and predictable but also inflexible and over cautious. We are not discussing this today. Rather, I want to use this opportunity to urge Singaporeans who are thinking to emigrate to drop this way of thinking as soon as you can. Why? The answer is simple. The rest of the world do not work like how it does in Singapore. The sooner you can grasp this, the better it is for you.

Back to the question. It is neither a strict yes nor a no and there is no right or wrong in your decision to leave the state. Singaporeans, including those already living in Australia will no doubt scream foul. "No! You have to stay! It is stated there blah blah blah." Remember what I said just the paragraph above. Drop that ridiculous way of processing data in your mind. That is not how things work in Australia. Should I just say, not as draconian like back there, the place where the river always flow.

The obligate to the State or Territory that sponsored you, in fact, is a moral and not a legal one. In Australia, nobody can force you to stay somewhere indefinitely for a fixed period of time. There would be akin a restraining order. Singaporeans are so used to being pushed around (HDB ethnic quota anyone?) that they will not entertain the possibility of leaving their state in such a situation.

A legal obligation would leave you with absolutely no option of leaving a State or Territory that sponsored you within 2 years. However this is not a legal obligation. I repeat, it is moral obligation. It is a promise to the State or Territory that you will help to fill their skills shortages.

So can you leave? Yes and no. Figure it out.

What must I do if I really have to go?

This segment is written for the sake of rigid Singaporeans who have no idea what to do by now.  Say, you leave your sponsored state to another, found a good job and start living a happy life. Did you break any laws? No. However, will you piss somebody off? Perhaps. How will your friends react if you break a promise to them? Probably pissed but it really depends on the situation. (remember: grey) If you have a good reason for doing so, they will be likely to accept your explanation.

So. You better have a good explanation for doing it and adopt the best policy - honesty.

Since it is a moral obligation, you are not committing an offence but case officers that take up your future visa applications such as a RRV or Citizenship may frown upon your move, unless you provide them with details of your explanation, be it failed attempts to find a job, unable to cope with the whether, people staying around you can't stand your curry cooking or being chased around often by kangaroos. If you have made a genuine effort but things didn't work out and got an opportunity elsewhere, it should be accepted. This is not Singapore. Over here, case officers are humans, not robots. 

The key point here is: honesty. 

For a start, you must update your State or the Immi Dept of your change of address. Hiding it will only work against you in future so it is best to be honest about it. As long as you have legitimate reasons for moving and are prepared to answer question that may or may not come up in future visa applications, you are fine.

To conclude

Since this is a moral obligation, the answer is not a straightforward one. Like any promise, you should have solid reasons to break it. It is best not to examine the option of leaving in the first place. If you are facing difficulties in settling down, do not be afraid or shy to get help. Be it job agencies(to find jobs... duh), real estate agents (to find accommodation) and social networks (to find friends), tell them you don't want to leave and want to fulfill your promise to the state but is having difficulties. They will render you help. Asking is a form of self help (though you shouldn't be relying on that in every single fuck thing). That is why I continue to answer questions here, much to the amazement of many friends who told me they will tear their hair out by reading some of the questions I have been receiving.


  1. What I am about to say is not that helpful since I have no direct experience with state sponsored migration.

    But what I would say is:

    The state is hardly going to sponsor you if you do not have skills they required (ie they have trouble getting it filled in the state) in other words unless you got a major problem with the job (mostly the salary but see below) otherwise there is no reason not able to find a job.

    Unless the job involves international experience like foreign exchange trading, most jobs prefer local experience so if you ultimately plan to move interstate after 2 yrs you are still better off showing local work experience in the sponsored state.

    Do not compare income with SG directly since the salary often is adjusted for local costs (for example NT is more expensive in grocery by 20-30% compared to NSW, VIC QLD) but most salaries means you can survive as a single person household (you may have to adjust your eating and spending habits significantly if you have a family in tow)

    It would be much easier to look for work as a PR rather than overseas person even if you have Aussie work experience due to union movement for certain sectors.

    Also if you try to come in sponsored by companies then you are subject to alot of stresses and pressures, particularly when your immigration status is linked to the company who can exploit you

  2. Hi tian li

    If you can get your skill assessed and the points, should definitely venture out to Darwin. At least you have a bridgehead into Oz. You may be pleasantly surprised by Darwin.. or if doesn't work out, move out after you've done your conscience time there.