General Skilled Migration is part of the largest component of the Australian Migration Program, the skilled stream.
The skills stream focuses on well qualified people with good English language ability and in most cases, recent work experience. If an applicant has a relative in Australia who is either an Australian Permanent Resident or Citizen and is prepared to provide a sponsorship, this is certainly an advantage.
Anyone wishing to apply for a visa in the General Skilled category must be under 45 at the date of application. There are no exceptions to this rule. Other requirements which must be met in relation to each of the possible visa Subclasses are:
- The applicant must be able to identify an occupation on what is known as the Skilled Occupation List (SOL);
- All applicants must obtain an assessment of their qualifications from a recognised assessing authority (see the following section on assessment of qualifications);
- Applicants must have a high level of English language skills;
- Applicants must either have recent work experience, relevant to their nominated occupation or no more than six prior to the lodging of their visa application have completed an Australian qualification as the result of at least two years full time study in Australia.
Visa applicants must pass what is known as the points test in which points are allocated for various attributes including the age of the applicant on the date of application, the nominated occupation, English language ability and recent work experience. Points are also available if an applicant has relations in Australia and bonus points can be claimed in certain other circumstances. A more detailed description of the points test is set out in the next section.
Health and character
All visa applicants must satisfy Australia's rules on health & character in addition to the specific criteria relating to the particular Subclass of visa they are applying for. So far as health is concerned, applicants must be in good health and not have any medical condition which could impose a cost upon the Australian community. This requirement applies to all members of the family unit, whether migrating or not. If you or a family member has a health issue, it would be wise to seek professional advice regarding visa prospects before proceeding further with the visa application.
In relation to character, applicants must demonstrate that they are of good character and will need to provide police clearances for each family member aged sixteen or over from every country that the applicants have lived in for a total of one year or more in the past ten years. In general terms, if a person has a conviction resulting in a jail sentence of twelve months or more, they will be ineligible for migration to Australia. In some cases it is possible to be excluded if someone has a number of convictions which, although not resulting lengthy terms of imprisonment, cumulatively result in the Department of Immigration forming the view that the person is of bad character.