Migrating to Australia
Australia is a nation of migrants, a truly harmonious multicultural society of hundreds of language, ethnic and cultural groups.
For new immigrants, Australia represents a safe harbour of stable governance, strong education and health systems, merit-based professional advancement and a friendly, relaxed culture; for Australians, migrants are skilled workers, beloved family members, industrious students, wide-eyed tourists and refugees in dire need. And as much as prospective immigrants want to be Australian, the country too needs them, to temper its aging population and skills and labour shortages and to add to its diverse, vibrant culture.
Migrating is hardly easily done, however, as Australia’s complex system of 149 different visa subclasses can prove extremely difficult to navigate. While work and family visas are the priority for the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), students, tourist, humanitarian entrants, business people and many others are also welcomed, and deciding amongst the overlapping visa types can be difficult.
The Institute encourages potential migrants to use an RMA to obtain migration advice to fully understand all of their options and to prepare and submit visa applications.
Using a Migration Agent
Providing migration advice in Australia requires registration with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) and sound knowledge of migration law and professional behaviour in accordance with the MARA’s Code of Conduct.
Members of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) abide by a further Code of Ethics and Practice and have access to the resources provided by the peak professional body, including updates on legislative and regulatory change, comprehensive professional services and high level Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses.
The Institute encourages migrants to use an RMA to obtain migration advice to fully understand their options and to prepare and submit visa applications.
Different Australian visa classes are roughly divided amongst Workers, Migrants, Visitors, Students and Refugees.
While each visa application is different, many have overlapping requirements. People seeking entry in Australia may be required to submit to health and police checks in order to proceed with their visa applications.
Additional requirements may include health insurance, English language testing, evidence of funds and assessment of skills and trade qualifications. Migrants should also take into account the need to open an Australia bank account and registering for government services.
Much more information can be found on the DIAC website.
Pro bono Migration Advice
The following organisations are authorised to provide pro bono migration agents with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for their work and have thus had their professional services meet the burden of proof of the professional's regulator:
Legal Aid NSW
Visa Cancellation Kit
Designed for prospective migrants who have received a visa cancellation letter from the DIAC, this kit covers the basics and provides clients some instructions and examples of how to proceed and is available here.
This 200 page joint publication of Legal Aid NSW, Kingsford Legal Centre and Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre is a comprehensive and helpful guide to making discrimination complaints, and is available here (PDF).
New Arrival Kits
Legal Aid NSW has developed a suite of videos comprising its New Arrivals Kits. These helpful induction tools for arrivals also include activity sheets and teacher answer sheets focused on the following topic areas:
Australia's Multicutural Policy
Multicultural is a term that describes the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian society. Cultural and linguistic diversity was a feature of life for the first Australians, well before European settlement. It remains a feature of modern Australian life, and it continues to give the country distinct social, cultural and economic advantages.
Australia’s multicultural policy, The People of Australia, was launched in Sydney on 16 February 2011. It is a landmark policy that demonstrates the government’s unwavering commitment to a multicultural Australia. As the policy states, our multicultural composition is at the heart of Australia’s national identity and intrinsic to our history and character.
The policy is available here (PDF) (135 Kb).
With information accessible in 65 languages, the web portal My Language is a State and Territory Libraries project to promote access for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities to news, search engines, Government websites and dictionaries, with a focus on equitable access to health, education, housing and the justice services.
Australian Tax Office (ATO)
The ATO video Your business and tax on its dedicated YouTube channel is available in English, Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese as part of its outreach to migrant communities.
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Migrating to Australia
Do you want to visit, work, study or live in Australia? The following information will be of value to you.