Applying for a visa

Visa Types

Skilled Visa

If you have a skill on Australia’s MODL or SOL, then you can use your skill to emigrate to Australia.  The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is a comprehensive list of the skills that the Immigration departments recognise and the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) is a more succinct list of skills that Australia is crying out for.  If your skill is on the MODL and if your skills assessment is successful not only will you get an extra 10 points towards your visa application, but you will also get priority processing for your application

Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417)

Working Holiday Visa’s are there to allow younger people to basically have an extended holiday in Australia by allowing them to take short-term employment.  The visa is for people aged between 18 and 30 and will allow you to stay in Australia for upto 12 months but you can only work for a maximum of 6 months per employer.  It also gives you temporary residence in Australia, but be warned, you DO NOT get any social welfare benfits or national public health cover.

Skilled Visa Points Test

If you are applying for a General Skilled Migration visa, it will be assessed against a points test.  The test is there to see how valuable you are to the Australian labour market and usually consists of two markers for each of the Skilled visas.  The upper marker is the pass mark, which if you gain or surpass means you are eligible for a points-tested General Skilled Migration visa.  If you don’t gain enough points to meet the pass mark, there is a lower pool mark which if you are above means that your application is held in a pool for up to 2 years after assessment.  Whilst this doesn’t mean that you will get in straight away, if the pass mark is lowered within those 2 years and your original points test score is now sits on or above the pass mark, your application will be processed further.

Each of the General Skilled Migration visas have an eligibility web page where you can find out if you meet the basic eligibilty requirements.  For example, the Skilled – Independent (Migrant) visa (subclass 189) eligibilty web page is here.  This page contains links for each of the different eligibility requirements where you get a detailed explanation of how to calculate how many points you will get for that specific requirement

Skills Assessments

The skills assessment is there for Australia to get an assessment of occupational qualifications, skills and experience, but it is not a guarantee that you will get a visa

First, find your occupation from the list provided on this ASRI webpage.  Once you have selected your occupation you will see the title of the occupation, followed by 2 sets of numbers. This is your SOL code. The web page will give you all the information that you need to get your skills assessed. It will specifically tell you WHO will assess your skills, the minimum skills level you will need, how many points you can be awarded as a maximum and also if the specific occupation is on the MODL or the ENSOL. Sometimes you may also need a special license to practice your occupation. Details of whether or not you need to obtain a special license are usually at the bottom of the page.

Health and Character Assessments

Health Assessment

Get a health assessment for Australia is another pretty simple task, albeit a slightly over-priced assessment.

For adults and children above the age of 11 years, around £170 will get you your medical and chest X-ray.
For children under 11 years it is usually around £20 cheaper.
If you need a HIV blood test (and most of you probably will) then add another £20 or so.
If you have a tattoo, compulsory blood tests for Hep B and C are also required and will set you back another £60.

Is that it?
We’re afraid not….
You’ve now got to get the assessment couriered to the High Commission in London!   The cost of this seems to vary a bit for the different medical centres around the UK, but add on another £15 at the least

The whole process of getting your Health Assessment is pretty quick (and it should be considering the cost!).  It is usually around 1 week from the point of having the medical until the Australian High Commission receives it, but after which the details are then sent to your case worker and there’s no idea how long this will take!!!

Visa medicals is just one of the medical centres in the UK that can carry out a health assessment for you.  Contact them and they’ll happily give you a clear picture of how much it will cost.

Character Assessment

Whilst getting your Character Assessment in the UK is a simple and cheap affair (around £10), it is NOT a quick process!
Once the Met has received your request (via your local police authority) it is now a minimum of 28 days until you’ll get the report.  In reality it can come back quicker, but cater for the fact that it can and most probably will take 28 days to come back to you.
To combat this, get a receipt from your local police authority for the Subject Access Request, scan it in an email it to your case worker explaining the situation.

UK Police Force is a simple web page that will direct you to your local Police authority.   From there obtain a copy of their Subject Access Request form, fill it out and send it to them along with payment.  They will send you a receipt in the post shortly afterwards.

Nottinghamshire Police Subject Access Request Form – An example of a Subject Access Request form.

How long will it take to get my visa?

Unfortunately there is not right or wrong answer to this question. There are many factors that can either speed up or delay your application.  If you are applying for a skilled migrantion or skilled regional sponsored visa then the webpage After you lodge your application has a section near the bottom entitled Application processing times that gives you guidelines for processing times.  If your occupation is on the MODL then you get priority processing, but there isn’t anywhere on the departmental website that tells you exactly what this means in terms of processing time.  From our experience the guideline of 12 months for a visa application actually turned out to be around 8 months, but please don’t take this as a rule of thumb.

The UK is a Low Risk country and the table here give you and IDEA of how long the process may take.  While they claim that 75% of applications are processed in the time specified please DO NOT rely on it.  You may get a surprise and the applicaton could be processed early, on the other hand any problems with the application in terms of mistakes on the application form, questions that they raise with you, can delay the processing.  So it may be better to plan for a worst case scenario.