Skilled Migration to Australia: What You Need to Know

Skilled migration to Australia – it’s a great time to consider moving to Australia (as long as you are vaccinated or have an approved medical exemption). Australia is currently short on skilled migrants, thanks to the massive workforce impact of two years living with COVID.

Our reliance on workers coming from international locations has well and truly been on hold; but now, skilled migration is back on the agenda for Australia’s workforce.

If you’re a skilled worker, and you’re contemplating coming to Australia, there are a number of important steps you need to take, to be successful. So today, we’ve provided a comprehensive insight into these steps; these are all important considerations in your skilled migration planning.

1 Engage a Lawyer or Skilled Migration Agent

Migration agents and lawyers can assist with visa applications, the many legal considerations and provide you with general information that will be invaluable.

This video from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, is a great starting point:

Migration Agents

A migration agent will help you with:

  • advice on the most appropriate visa to use
  • completing visa application forms
  • preparing supporting documentation and information for your applications
  • submitting applications and dealing with the relevant government departments on your behalf
  • providing advice on complex immigration matters.

Finding the right migration agent for your needs, is crucial. Be aware: only registered migration agents are legally allowed to provide immigration assistance services. So, make sure from the get-go, that the agents you’re speaking to are registered.

Registered agents are found via Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) or Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).

Using an agent or lawyer for visa applications will not influence the outcome of applications or speed up the process. However, it could mean less work and hassle for you.

If you are using a migration agent within your own country, it’s important to make sure they are also registered with MARA or that they meet local laws and registration requirements in your country.

There’s a price to using Migration agents. The MARA website will provide you with guidance on the expected costs. The fees are typically determined between each individual and their agent, and can be affected by your industry, skill set, country of origin amongst other factors.

You can also visit the Department of Home Affairs website for more information about using a migration agent who is registered with MARA.

There are specific obligations required of the migration agent; agents are bound by a code of conduct, which you must look out for. These include:

  • act professionally, have a good knowledge of migration laws and perform in a timely manner
  • detail all costs involved (including written confirmation)
  • keep you up to date with the application and progress
  • keep information confidential
  • abide by the migration agents’ Code of Conduct.

Again, it’s worth your time and effort to consume all the relevant information on the MARA website.


An immigration lawyer or a representative from the following organisations may also be able to help you migrate to Australia and assist you with all manner of immigration matters:


Law institute of Victoria

Migrant Resource Centre


Law Society of NSW

Migrant Resource Centre


Queensland Law Society

Migrant Resource Centre


Law Society of Tasmania

Migrant Resource Centre

South Australia

Law Society of South Australia

Migrant Resource Centre

Western Australia

Law Society of Western Australia

Migrant Resource Centre

Northern Territory

Law Society of Northern Territory

Migrant Resource Centre


Law Society of ACT

Migrant Resource Centre


Federation of Community Legal Centres

2 Review Permanent Residency and Citizenship Requirements

An Australian permanent resident and an Australian citizen are not the same thing. You’ll need to get to know the key differences as well as the privileges and responsibilities of being an Australian citizen. Here are some key guidelines:

Permanent Residency Visa

An Australian permanent resident is someone who holds a permanent visa but is not a citizen.

A permanent resident can live, work and study without restriction in Australia.

A permanent resident has most of the rights and entitlements of a citizen, but there are some differences:

skilled migration to Australia


If you want to apply for permanent residency, there are several requirements you need to meet. You can make an application on humanitarian grounds, as a migrant, or part of a family unit.

For more information about how to become a permanent resident, visit the Department of Home Affairs.

Australian Citizenship

Being an Australian citizen means you can say, ‘I am Australian.’ Making Australia a permanent home is the goal of many skilled migrants coming to Australia and comes with many privileges and responsibilities.

Becoming an Australian citizen means you are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and everything Australia stands for.

General eligibility criteria for citizenship

 Generally, those over the age of 18 who apply for Australian citizenship must:

  • have passed a citizenship test (unless over the age of 60)
  • be a permanent resident at the time of application, and, at time of decision
  • satisfy the residence requirement
  • be likely to reside, or to continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia
  • be of good character.

Children may also apply for Australian Citizenship, although different requirements apply. It’s best to visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Residence requirement

Any adult who became a permanent resident on or after 1 July 2007 must have been lawfully residing in Australia for four years immediately before applying for Australian citizenship. This includes:

  • 12 months as a permanent resident
  • absences from Australia of no more than 12 months
  • absences from Australia of no more than three months in the 12 months before applying.

A Citizenship Wizard is available on the Department of Home Affairs website to help you determine if you meet the residence requirement. Skilled migration to Australia candidates are advised to take this test.

Citizenship test

If you satisfy the general eligibility criteria, you will need to pass a test before applying for Australian citizenship. Those covered by other situations (such as those aged under 18 or over age 60, or people who suffer from a substantial impairment or loss of hearing, speech or sight) are not required to sit a test.

The Australian citizenship test has been designed to help future Australian citizens gain an understanding of Australia’s:

  • values
  • traditions
  • history
  • national symbols.

When undertaking skilled migration to Australia, this test is an important part of ensuring you have the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community as a citizen and maximise the opportunities available to you in Australia. It promotes social cohesion and successful integration into the community.

To sit the test you must:

  • be an Australian permanent resident
  • satisfy the department of your identity during the process of registering for the test
  • allow the department to take a photograph of you or provide one yourself.

3 Other Factors to Consider

With skilled migration to Australia likely to be on the rise in 2022, it’s advisable to research your employment options. Each state and territory have different resources and opportunities for skilled migrants. The table below provides the preliminary links for each state:

State Finding Work Industry Resource
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory


Now is a great time to consider migrating to Australia, if you’re a skilled worker. If you would like to discuss your options, please don’t hesitate to contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you.