Once a person is granted a permanent visa they are permitted to travel to and remain in Australia permanently.
A temporary visa however permits the visa holder to travel to Australia and remain until a specified period of time. A temporary visa holder must either depart Australia before their temporary visa expires, or if their temporary visa permits apply for another visa whilst they are in Australia.
A person who is in Australia as the holder of a temporary visa should never let their visa expire without departing. If this occurs then the person will become an unlawful non-citizen and be subject to removal from Australia. Once a person becomes an unlawful non citizen they will have only a very small number of options available to them to remain lawfully in Australia.
There are currently over 150 different Australian visas, both temporary and permanent.
The most obvious temporary visas are for tourists and there are several different categories of tourist visas, such as:
- the subclass 676 tourist visa,
- the subclass 679 sponsored family visitor visa,
- and the electronic travel authority visa, known in short as an ETA visa.
Depending upon the passport you hold, this will determine the appropriate visa for you if you want to visit Australia as a tourist. If you are from countries such as Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore, then you would be eligible for an ETA visa. If however you are from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam or the Philippines, then unfortunately you would not qualify for an ETA visa and would therefore have to make a paper application for a subclass 676 tourist visa.
All visitors to Australia must have a genuine intention to visit Australia as genuine visitors only, and have access to adequate funds to support themselves during their stay in Australia.
Those who have to apply for a subclass 676 visa need to supply documentary evidence to support their application.
Lastly if you have a relative in Australia who is either an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident, and they are prepared to sponsor your visit to Australia, then you may be able to qualify for a subclass 679 sponsored family visitor visa. It should be noted however that holders of sponsored family visitor visas must depart Australia prior to their visa expiring, and furthermore they cannot apply for an extension or any other visa whilst they are in Australia.
Australia has two main pathways for Australian permanent residency, the family migration stream and the skilled migration stream. Skilled migration is where the applicant has relevant qualifications, work experience and skills that Australia is in demand for. Skilled visas require the applicant to reach a certain amount of points to satisfy the eligibility for a skilled migrant visa. Points are awarded for many things, such as age, level of English literacy, qualifications, skills and recent work experience.
One of the most common permanent visas under the family migration stream is the partner visa. This is where the applicant is in a genuine a continuing relationship with an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. The relationship must be either a marriage which is legally recognized in Australia, or a de- facto relationship. The requirements for an Australian partner visa based on a de-facto relationship is that the applicant and sponsor have been living together in a genuine spouse like relationship without any significant period of separation for at least 12 months immediately prior to date of application.
Both the applicant and sponsor must satisfy certain eligibility criteria, or the visa will not be granted. For example, the sponsor, being the Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident, must be an approved sponsor, in that they can demonstrate that they can provide adequate accommodation and financial support for their partners first two years of settlement.
Apart from the applicant and sponsor having to evidence that they are in a genuine relationship, the applicant must be able to satisfy Australia’s health a character criteria.
Lastly, partner visa applicants can include in most cases their dependent family members, such as their children for example. Where this happens, the included applicants are known as secondary applicants and the applicant is making a combined partner visa application. All secondary applicants must satisfy their own criteria too. Any dependents of the applicant must satisfy the health and character criteria, whether they are intending to migrate or not. Even if a non migrating dependent fails the health and character requirements, notwithstanding that they are not included in the partner visa application, it can in some cases result in the primary applicants application for a partner visa being refused.
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