I am on a Working Holiday visa – but I have a wife and child in Germany who I would like to join me. When can I arrange that?

Unfortunately, that’s not possible. The Department must be satisfied that no dependent children will accompany you to Australia and that means that if they travel to Australia at any time during your working holiday visa, you will be liable for a visa cancellation as you will be “accompanied” by them. Satisfying the Department will only be possible if you can produce custody orders for the child or you have evidence that you have had no contact with them. If you lie about not having a child and you subsequently reveal that you do in fact have a child in a subsequent Australian visa application, you will likely be caught by the migration fraud provisions and issued with a Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020, which will result in you receiving a three-year ban for all types of visa application.

I have three passports can I travel on two of them to be able to get more than 2 working holiday visas (SC417)?

There are no provisions for someone to use a dual passport and seek a further Working Holiday Visa, after 2 prior visas. The regulations allow for an individual who meets all the other visa requirements to be granted 2 separate working holiday (SC417) visas – if the appropriate regional work (e.g. fruit picking) is completed during the first SC417 visa period. The Department views breaches of the legislation very seriously and the Department won’t hesitate to impose a three year ban on a person who makes a fraudulent application, even if they are using a second (different) passport. In a worst case scenario, it’s even possible that the DIBP may regard such action as constituting identity fraud and ban you, as the applicant from applying for any other visa type for a period of 10 years.

What can I practically do to ensure I can stay on in Australia post the expiry of my SC417 visa?

You’re obviously keen to find an employer / sponsor for a SC457 or to pursue one of the other permanent residence visa options, so its important to be proactive, and to follow the practical steps outlined below:

  1. If you need to do 88 days of regional work (e.g. fruit-picking) to gain your second SC417 don’t ignore that, get it done as soon as possible, because if you’re not compliant you will risk your entire future and any visa application. Also you maybe precluded from making an Australian visa application for 3-years if you receive a PIC4020 (for fraudulently misleading the DIBP).
  2. In a similar vein, never falsify any of your documents as the penalties in terms of receiving a 3-year ban maybe extended to partners/other family members, which will negatively impact their visa application/s.
  3. Where possible, continue your work experience in your chosen trade/occupation whilst you are in Australia. The more local experience and credentials you have in that occupation the better your employability and the stronger will be your future application, however don’t risk a breach of any current visa conditions or the “six month rule” (which precludes you spending more than six months in the employment of any single employer, whilst you’re on your SC417 visa) the penalties are significant and you will jeopardise all future visa applications.
  4. Check whether your occupation is on the current Australian occupation list, which changes periodically as various jobs become in short-supply/demand across Australia. The two main occupation lists are the CSOL or the SOL as these occupation lists determine which visas you may be entitled to make application for.
  5. Get your supporting documents ready – that’s pretty easy, and that way you’ll have certified copies of your qualifications and transcripts – and certified translations of each of those documents if they aren’t in English, when you’re ready to make an application. Make sure that everything is complete and relevant to your nominated occupation, and if you’re not sure seek advice.
  6. If you are going to rely on previous work experience in lieu of qualifications or to accrue points for Skilled Independent migration, make sure you have letters from each of your past employers specifying your dates of employment and the nature of your role/s and responsibilities. You also need to have ready evidence of being paid for that work, such as your payslips, pay summary or historic tax returns. Remember too that you must have payslips for your Australian regional work from 31 August 2015.
  7. If you are a licensed tradesperson e.g. carpenter, RACE (refrigeration) trade, or you’re a plumber, nurse etc make sure you work towards getting the relevant Australian licence or registration, because if you don’t have the relevant licence at time of application, you can’t be granted an Employer Nominated Visa (SC186) or a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (SC187) visa. Also DIBP don’t recognise Australian work experience where you don’t have the relevant licence.
  8. Licensing is not important for a Skilled Visa so if you’re thinking about applying for Skilled Independent permanent residence or direct entry (Employer Nominated) permanent residency – you’ll need to have a positive skills assessment for your profession/occupation. Skills assessments are conducted by the Australian industry bodies/professional associations for your profession, and responses can take up to 12 weeks, so do that early, not a month before your SC417 expires.
  9. If you think an employer sponsored visa is a preferred option, ask your employer if they would be willing to assist, they might fortuitously even have a current SBS in place? Also if they’re agreeable the Department may waive the “six month rule”, which would allow you to work continuously and beyond the typical 6-month cut-off.
  10. If you don’t come from a country/have a passport which is English exempt (e.g. England) or you might need the extra points a good English test result will provide, please carefully prepare and take the IELTS or TOEFL English language tests, as a sound mark could make just the difference for a successful application. You may also need to sit the test on more than one occasion to get the desired score, as the lowest score in one of the 4-categories (reading, writing, speaking, listening) is critical.
I haven’t completed an IELTS, is that a problem?

The DIBP, post November 2014, accepts English-language test results from testing organisations other than IELTS for all applicants seeking Temporary Graduate (SC485), Skilled, Former Resident, and Work and Holiday visas. Student visa applicants also have access to these alternative-testing mechanisms since 2011.

The following testing bodies are now generally accepted for the visas outlined above:

  • The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test will also be accepted (from a test taken on or after 1 January 2015)
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

Important note: These testing bodies however do not apply to a SC457 visa application/s – where only IELTS results will be accepted.

My tourist visa expires next week but I would like to stay longer – can I extend my trip?

It is not possible to get extensions on any visa.
Each visa has an expiry date, and if you haven’t lodged an application for a new visa, or been granted a new visa, you will become unlawful once your visa expires. If the expiry date on your visa is getting close you should apply for a new visa (if that is possible …and you’re eligible). Also seek out expert advice about your visa pathways from a Registered Migration Agent, because you may find that there are very limited options and becoming unlawful after your visa expiry has significant (negative) consequences (see Q&A earlier herein).

Can I apply for a 1-year tourist visa?

It’s difficult to get a one-year tourist visa, because the Department don’t want you to manipulate or misuse the tourist visa provisions as a substitute for a partner or other (possibly more honest?) visa. The general rule is very few people take a “one year holiday”.

What happens if our visa gets refused by the Department?

If the visa is an offshore visa (for example – a Tourist visa, offshore General Skilled Migration visa, or Student visa), then there is no right of appeal. If you lodged an onshore visa application, or if there is an onshore sponsor, then it the visa refusal maybe appealed at the AAT (see other FAQ’s herein). The AAT is entirely independent of the Department, and the Tribunal member may overturn Departmental decisions if they are proved to be incorrect.

Independent Skilled Visas

Partner & Spouse Visas

Temporary Visas

General Questions