Australian Visa Guide and Why You Need a Migration Agent in Sydney
35 percent of Migration Agents in Australia have worked in the industry for over ten years. This information comes from the June 2020 Migration Agent Activity Report.
The report details the immigration help performed by Registered Migration Agents in Australia. The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority publishes this document, about every six months.
The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) oversees this. The OMARA Code of Conduct holds registered migration agents to a high standard and sets out the professional obligations of migration agents.
Under the Code, migration agents have a range of obligations that include:
- your interactions with your clients
- fees and charges, record keeping, and financial management
- responsibilities toward other agents
- responsibilities towards employees
Migration agents must be clear about the prospects of success for an applicant. As such, these agents can play a major hand in the success of your Australian visa application.
Keep reading to learn more about the role of a Migration Agent in the Australian visa process.
What is a Migration Agent?
Migration Agents help to ease the Australian visa application process. Registered Migration Agents are experts in Australian visa requirements. They are highly skilled in obtaining approval for migration. They offer advice or assistance to a person who wants to obtain a visa to enter or remain in Australia. They can also assist people or businesses who are nominating or sponsoring visa applicants.
Registered migration agents help reunite families sometimes. They also facilitate the migration of people with important qualities and skills. These people can help shape our community, grow Australian businesses, and support Australian jobs.
Migration agents provide an essential service. They assist migrants to navigate Australia’s visa system.
Anyone who practices as a Migration Agent must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority. People who practice as unregistered Migration Agents are investigated and prosecuted by the authorities.
Migration Agents can help with various aspects of the Australian visa application. This includes help with:
- Determining the best visa path to use
- Completing the visa application
- Preparing supplemental documentation and information
- Submitting the visa application
- Liaising with the appropriate government agencies on your behalf
- Advising on complex immigration matters
Using a Migration Agent cannot speed up the process once it reaches the hands of the government. But, consulting with an expert can make the process of completing applications much smoother.
It’s less work and hassle on your part, with a much better chance of completing the forms correctly the first time.
Not just anyone can call themselves a Registered Migration Agent. These professionals must register with the Migration Agents Registration Authority’s Office.
If caught practicing without proper registration, false agents could face prosecution.
It’s best to shop around for the best migration agent for you. Review their services, fees, and reviews to determine the most effective choice for your given situation.
Find a Migration Agent’s Registration Number
Each valid Registered Migration Agent has a seven-digit Migration Agents Registration Number (MARN). The first two digits of a MARN signifies the year the agent was first registered.
Registered Migration Agents must provide their MARN on all advertising material. This is a rule under Australian law.
CNA Immigration is an Australian migration agency that opened for business 29 October 2009. The company started as ‘Charbel Nehme & Associates’ in 2009. Starting on 14 April 2011, we became known as ‘CNA Immigration.’
In particular, Charbel Nehme (Migration Agent Registration No. 0851787) is a senior migration agent in Sydney with years of experience. He demonstrates a successful track record with a diverse range of clients in Australia and abroad.
Working with CNA Immigration is clear and straightforward. They provide a client service guarantee. This limits how many clients their Migration Agents will represent each month. This ensures each client receives the proper time and attention. This way, their best interests are always at the forefront of all migration advice and recommendations.
They are here to answer any questions that arise throughout the immigration process. CNA Immigration always provides honest and direct advice.
Migration Agent Services in Australia
CNA Immigration provides a variety of Australian visa services to individuals and employers. The most common visa classes include the following:
- Temporary work (skilled)
- Temporary skill shortage
- Business skills
A further breakdown of common types of immigration services provided by registered migration agents is below:
Global Talent Visa
The Global Talent Visa program is a streamlined pathway for highly skilled candidates in specific industry sectors. You must be able to attract an annual salary that is at least the Fair Work High Income Threshold of AUD153,600 (this figure is adjusted annually on 1 July) in one of the following industry sectors:
- Agricultural Technology (AgTech)
- Financial Technology (FinTech)
- Cyber Security
- Medical Technology (MedTech)
- Space and Advanced Manufacturing
- Energy and Mining Technology
- Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT
A partner visa is one of the Australian visa types. It allows individuals entry into Australia, given that their spouse/partner is one of the following:
- An Australian citizen
- A permanent resident
- An eligible New Zealand citizen
Initially, a partner Australian visa is only temporary. They must complete a two-year waiting period. After this time, the partner may be granted permanent residency if the relationship is still genuine.
Distinguished Talent Visa
Distinguished Talent visa allows individuals with an internationally recognised record of achievement in their field of expertise, or those who have provided specialised assistance to the Australian Government in the matters of security, to migrate permanently to Australia.
Resident Return Visa
If a permanent visa holder is overseas outside of the five year period, a Subclass 155 (Resident Return) Visa is required if they wish to return to Australia.
The Resident Return visa allows permanent residents of Australia to return to Australia after traveling overseas. Resident Return Visa applicants must be:
- An Australian permanent resident, or
- a former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not cancelled, or
- a former Australian citizen who has lost or renounced your citizenship.
Significant Investor Visa
The Significant Investor Stream of the Business Innovation & Investment visa is for applicants who are able to invest at least AUD 5 million in a complying significant investment in Australia for at least four years.
188 Visa Investor Stream
The Investor Stream of the subclass 188 visa provides a pathway to permanent residency for business people who want to own and manage a business or to make an investment in Australia.
188 Visa Innovation Stream
The innovation stream of the Subclass 188 visa provides a pathway to permanent residency for business people who want to own and manage a business in Australia, or make an investment here. The business innovation stream of the subclass 188 visa is for applicants who have had a successful business career, and wish to own and manage a new or existing business in Australia.
188 Visa Entrepreneur Stream
The Business Innovation & Investment (Subclass 188) visa provides a pathway to permanent residency for business people who want to own and manage a business or to make an investment in Australia. The 188 Visa Entrepreneur Stream is for applicants who wish to undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia.
186 Visa – Employer Nomination Scheme
The 186 Visa allows employers to bring in foreign workers. These employees will fill genuine employment vacancies within their companies. The employer sponsors the foreign worker under a single Australian visa (Subclass 186). Applicants may qualify under one of the following three streams.
Temporary Residence Transition Stream
This option is available for Temporary Work (skilled) Visa holders who meet the following criteria:
- Have worked for the same sponsoring employer, in the same position for at least two years (some limited exceptions)
- Can meet vocational English requirements (some exceptions)
There is no skills assessment required for this stream.
Direct Entry Stream
A Direct Entry Stream is available for Temporary Work (skilled) Visa holders who do not qualify under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Have never worked in Australia (or very briefly)
- Are applying directly for outside Australia, or are currently inside Australia
- Can meet English competency requirements (some exceptions)
There are skills requirements for this stream.
This steam is only for those applicants who are sponsored by an employer through a negotiated labour agreement. In this agreement, age, skills, and English competency requirements will be laid out.
Business Talent (Subclass 132) Visa
This 132 visa is designed for those who own their businesses. This program allows applicants to establish new—or develop existing—businesses in Australia.
To be eligible, applicants must meet the following basic requirements:
- Nominated by an Australian state/territory government agency
- Invited to apply for the visa
- Have the required funding or assets
For high-caliber business owners who look to permanently migrate to Australia, this may be the best visa option. There are two streams for The Business Talent visa.
The first is the Significant Business History stream. This visa is designed for experienced business owners. Applicants for this stream must have:
- A lawfully-acquired net worth of at least AUD 1.5 million
- An annual business turnover of at least AUD 3 million, for at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before applying
- Total net assets as an ownership interest in at least one qualifying business, equivalent to at least AUD 400,000 (for at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before applying)
The second stream is the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream.
This visa is designed for applicants who have secured at least AUD 1 million in venture capital funding. The funding must be from an Australian Investment Council (AIC) member.
Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (SESR/Subclass 494) Visa
The 494 visa allows employers to bring in temporary, skilled foreign workers. These employees are thus permitted to live and work in Australia regionally.
This visa best benefits regional employers who cannot staff their skilled Australian workforce through the local labour market.
Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa
This 485 visa is targeted for international students. Under this program, students and their families can temporarily stay in Australia. They can live and work while completing their studies and seeking post-graduate employment.
To be eligible for a Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa, applicants must meet the following basic requirements:
- Under 50 years old
- Hold an eligible visa
- Have held a student visa within the last six months
- Have a recent qualification in a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)-registered course
Applicants must choose one of the following two streams.
The first is the Graduate Work Stream. This visa is designed for international students. Their skills and qualifications should align well with the needs of Australian occupations.
This temporary visa allows recent graduates to live, study, and work in Australia, usually for up to 18 months.
The second stream is the Post-Study Work Stream. This visa is designed for international students who recently graduated from an Australian institution.
This temporary visa allows recent graduates to live, work, and study in Australia, for two to four years.
Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS/Subclass 482) Visa
The TSS Visa is designed for employers who want to bring over foreign workers temporarily. It helps those employers who cannot meet their workforce needs in the local labour market.
The TSS Visa can be valid for two to four years, depending on the nature of the work.
Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) Visa
The subclass 491 visa was designed to remedy shortages in the regional Australian labour market. It allows eligible skilled workers and their families to enter the country. They may live, work, and study in a named region for up to five years.
This visa carries an age limit of 45 years old. To be accepted into Australia under this visa, applicants must also pass a skills assessment.
To be eligible under this visa program, applicants must be sponsored by one of the following:
- An Australian state/territory government agency
- An eligible family member who resides in a designated regional area, that has submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI)
After three years, Subclass 491 visa holders will be eligible to apply for permanent residency.
General Skilled Migration
This visa is wide-ranging, targeted to highly-skilled workers. It allows those who do not hold employer or familial sponsorship to permanently live and work in Australia. There are various subclasses available under the General Skilled Migration program.
- Subclass 189 visa — Points-tested permanent visa, designed for skilled workers lacking sponsorship from an employer, family member, or state/territory agency
- Subclass 190 visa — Points-tested permanent visa, designed for skilled workers with a nomination from an Australian state/territory agency
- Subclass 191 visa — Allows Subclass 494 and Subclass 491 temporary visa holders to transition to permanent residency
There are various options for visa programs when entering Australia. It’s best to contact a seasoned Migration Agent who can best advise you of your most appropriate path to residency.
Changing Australian Visa Rules
The laws governing Australian visa processes can change at any time. This is especially true given the uncertainty surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian government has made changes to specific Visa programs.
For example, at the end of 2020, the Honorable Alan Tudge MP (Acting Minister for Immigration) announced a change to the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP). This takes effect on 1 July 2021.
Instead of the previously-held nine streams, there will instead be four streams for this visa program. These streams are:
- Business innovation
- Significant investor
Starting in July 2021, there will no longer be a premium investor significant business history stream. There also will not be a venture capital entrepreneur stream.
BIIP provisional visas and investment visas will be valid for five years. Provisional visa holders in any of the four streams will be eligible to apply for permanent residency after three years.
These changes provide a clear path to permanent residency for each BIIP stream. With so many changes and uncertainties up in the air, it is critical to consult the services of a Registered Migration Agent.
These agents stay abreast of all current migration news and information. They can provide advice on the best visa path based on your unique circumstances.
Migration Agent Reviews
We’ve helped a diverse range of individuals and businesses to achieve successful visa outcomes. See what our past clients are saying in their migration agent reviews.
Book a Consultation With a Registered Migration Agent
We cannot understate the help of a Registered Migration Agent. Consult with a qualified Registered Migration Agent to be sure you are making the best decisions for your circumstances. Please book an appointment to discuss your Australian visa application with a Registered Migration Agent.