On March 17, 2010, we arrived in Australia on a State Sponsored Skilled Migrant Visa Subclass 475. This is the visa that most people that come to South Australia arrive on. It is valid for 3 years and gives you the right to live, work and study in a specified regional area.
In a post I wrote last August, I mentioned that the amount of people LEAVING the state was greater than the amount of people ARRIVING. That’s the reason most people who come to South Australia arrive on this visa; because South Australia is a state with a lot of interstate emigration (thus, they’re more willing to bring people from overseas).
If you’re a temporary resident with a 475 Visa, you must meet the following criteria in order to be able to apply for permanent residency (Visa 887):
- Live TWO full years in a specified regional area (in our case, anywhere in South Australia)
- Work full time for ONE full year in ANY profession (you would also meet this requirement if you work TWO half-time jobs during the same year – source)
These requirements must be met by the PRIMARY applicant. So, if your spouse hasn’t been employed for a full year, it’s ok. You can still apply provided that YOU have met the criteria.
Pretty easy, huh?
So, exactly two years after our arrival, we already had everything we needed and went online to submit our application ourselves. Some people “like” to pay about $2,000 to shift the responsibility to someone else, but I’m the kind of person who seizes the bull by the horns. Also, giving away two grand for something that only takes about half an hour seems like a ridiculous waste of money, but then again, that’s just me.
That is, of course, if you:
- Are computer literate
- Are able to follow simple instructions
- Know how to fill out a form
- Kept records of your original visa application (the one you submitted to come to Australia)
- Have a scanner
- Know how to work with different file extensions, know how to keep file sizes reasonable, and know how to merge PDFs
For me, these are skills that any 8-year-old should already have. But it’s true. Many professionals out there still think that HTML is an abbreviation for HOTMAIL.
If you’re laughing at what I just said, you’ll be fine. Do the application yourself. If you didn’t get the joke, read no further and pay two grand to an immigration consultant. You’ll need all the help you can get.
If you came to Australia assisted by immigration agents, in other words, if you did NOT make your own application, then applying for permanent residency on your own could prove to be quite challenging.
Links you should visit
This one tells you the file types the department of immigration will accept:
This is where you can start your online application:
Important tips and advice:
You will need a police clearance certificate from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and any countries where you’ve lived more than one year in the past ten years. If you’ve lived anywhere else in the past ten years, then you’ll already have that police clearance since you would have needed it for your first visa application. Use the same one.
Now, you’ll need the clearance from the AFP and that’s one you won’t have. Fortunately, getting one is very easy. Follow this link for info:
Police clearances take an average of TWO WEEKS to be issued (ours arrived exactly two weeks after we sent the request). So, be smart and get your clearances THREE weeks before you can apply for permanent residency. That way, you’ll have all the documents you’ll need by the time you qualify and your application will go through right away.
For a scanned document to be accepted, it must be a scanned original in FULL COLOUR. So, make sure that you sign documents like the Statutory Declaration with BLUE INK. Otherwise, it will look black and white and the department of immigration won’t know if it’s an original or a photocopy. This is very important as it will delay your application. Make sure there’s colour in all your scanned documents.
Also, you’re asking for something. So, MAKE IT EASY for them to give it to you. Don’t send them a million documents, images, etc. For every section, send ONE combined PDF, so that they have all the proof they need for that section in one file. For example, to prove that you’ve lived two years in your area, scan a copy of the page of your rental agreement that says when you moved in, a copy of your last electricity bill with the same address, and then merge the two in a single PDF. That single PDF is what you’ll attach to your application to prove that you’ve lived here for two years.
Same thing for all other sections. One PDF for each one, even if that PDF is composed of several scanned documents.
So, how long did it take for our permanent residency application to be processed?
The answer . . . a few minutes. Seriously.
We submitted our application with all the documents we needed, except for the police clearances. Why? Because we didn’t have TripleA007.com to let us know that we needed this beforehand, so we had to get the clearances while our visa application was already underway.
A couple of days later, immigration sent us an e-mail reminding us that they still needed the police clearances, and I replied saying that we had already requested them and that we would pass them on as soon as we had them.
Important: BE NICE when you interact with immigration and BE PROFESSIONAL. This is more important than any job you’ll ever apply for. Act like it.
On the second week, the clearances arrived, I scanned them, e-mailed them to immigration, and MINUTES later, our visas were granted. The next day, we went to our local immigration office and got our passports stamped in under 10 minutes.