Migrating to a new country is a life-changing decision. One that is no doubt interesting. It introduces you to a whole new world of culture, cuisine, environment, people, and sometimes, weather. Interestingly, studies consistently rank Australia and Canada as the most welcoming countries for immigrants, and recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that Australia experienced a net migration gain of 387,000 people in 2022.
In this article, we'll explore six visa options for Nigerians looking to successfully migrate to Australia along with the necessary steps to take.
How to Migrate to Australia from Nigeria
To get started on your migrant journey to Australia from Nigeria, take note of these steps.
Determine your eligibility
There are different pathways to migrating to Australia depending on your goals, and the first step to relocating successfully is to identify which option is best suited for you.
For a permanent residency which will eventually lead to citizenship, you can move independently if you are highly skilled, or through a government/regional nomination. If you have a confirmed job offer from an Australian employer, you may also be eligible. Additionally, temporary visas, some of which can lead to permanent residency and citizenship after up to 5 years, like student visas, skilled worker visas, or family reunion visas are available.
Determining your visa eligibility and the most appropriate option can save you time, reduce stress, and help manage costs. To properly assess your eligibility and explore visa choices, we recommend visiting the Immigration Australia website.
Select the Right Australian Visa Category
Once you've identified the most suitable migration option for your needs, the next step is to choose the appropriate visa category. Keep in mind that factors such as your age, work experience, educational qualifications, skills, marital status, and whether you plan to invite family members are essential considerations when making this decision. These factors make up the points that increases your visa options. Australia offers a wide range of popular visa categories such as:
1. Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa
One of the most sought-after pathways to Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia is the Subclass 189 visa. Intentionally designed for skilled workers with significant prior work experience, this visa allows you to make a permanent move to Australia for work or to live without the need for a job offer or employer-sponsored support. Holders of the Subclass 189 visa enjoy full work rights and access to employee benefits akin to those of Australian citizens. Furthermore, it serves as a direct route to Australian citizenship.
To be eligible for the Subclass 189 visa, you must obtain a minimum of 90 points, a higher requirement compared to the 65 points needed for some other Australian visas. Additionally, your occupation must be listed under the Skilled Occupation List, and you'll need to have completed a skills assessment for your chosen occupation.
How to apply for the skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa
- Firstly, you begin by submitting an expression of interest through skillselect.
- Then, you organize all your essential and verified documents to support your claims (usually these include a valid passport, police certificates, proof of English competency such as IELTS, financial requirements and sponsor documents where necessary).
- Invitation to apply. Upon receiving an invitation to apply, promptly proceed to pay a non-refundable application fee of AUD 4,640 and apply for your visa on ImmiAccount. You have a 60 day window to do this.
- Biometrics. As a Nigerian resident, you are also required to provide your biometrics, so be sure to secure an appointment date from the closest application centre.
While there is no specific processing time for the Skilled Independent visa application, it typically takes anywhere from 2-18 months depending on the volume of applications and the discretion of the ministry. One of the perquisites of the Subclass 189 visa is the freedom to travel to and from Australia with ease, and the privilege of bringing your family along.
2. Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa
Very much a one-way ticket to Australian citizenship, the skilled nominated visa allows you to live and work permanently in Australia. An interesting condition for this visa is that you must be in Australia before the date specified on your grant letter, and you should not be married or in a definitive relationship before entering Australia. Violating any of this could lead to your visa being rescinded. The requirements for the skilled nominated visa are similar in contrast to the skilled independent visa, as you’ll also need an occupation under the skilled occupation list for the subclass 190 visa and a skill assessment for the occupation.
How to apply for the skilled nominated (subclass 190) visa
- Submit an expression of interest on skillselect, from which the state or territory government can nominate you to apply depending on their select criteria.
- Organize your essential and verified documents to support your claims (usually these include passport, police certificates, proof of English competency IELTS, sponsor documents etc).
- Invitation to apply. You will be invited to apply with an indication on the required number of points needed in your application based on your claims. Upon receiving an invitation to apply, promptly proceed to pay a non-refundable application fee of AUD 4,640 and apply for your visa on ImmiAccount. You have a 60 day window to do this.
- Biometrics. All Nigerian residents are also required to provide your biometrics, so be sure to secure an appointment date from the closest application centre.
Like other Australian visa applications, the processing time for the skilled nominated visa is unspecified and could take 2-18 months. If granted, your visa grant will contain details like the date and conditions of your visa. And if refused, it will contain the reasons for refusal. Also, the skilled nominated visa grants you the freedom to travel to and from Australia and equally bring your family.
3. Skilled work (subclass 491) visa
This is a provisional-points-tested temporary visa allocated to over thousands of people yearly to live and work or study in designated areas of Australia for 5 years. Similarly, this visa provides you with the freedom to travel to and from anywhere in Australia within the allocated time and a direct pathway to permanent residency after 3 years. When submitting your EOI, you can indicate if a relative is sponsoring you or if you want to be nominated by a state government agency.
How to apply for skilled work regional visa (subclass 491)
- Equally, submit an expression of interest (EOI) on Australia’s skillselect.
- Organize and arrange all essential verified documents to support your claims (like passport, police certificates, proof of English competency IELTS, sponsor documents etc).
- Receive an Invitation to apply. And then promptly pay the non-refundable AUD 4,640 to apply for your visa on ImmiAccount within 60 days.
- Submit biometrics. As a Nigerian resident, you are required to provide your biometrics. So book an appointment date from the closest application centre.
There isn't a fixed processing time for skilled work visa applications, as each case is handled individually. So the processing duration can vary widely, spanning anywhere from 2 to 18 months. The best part? You have the option to bring your family along with you when you secure your skilled work visa
4. Employer Sponsored Regional (subclass 494 visa)
If you hold employment with an Australian employer who has a labor agreement with the government, and boasts at least 3 years of relevant work experience, your employer can nominate you for the Subclass 494 visa. This visa offers the opportunity to live and work in designated Australian areas for 5 years, providing the freedom to travel to and from the country. Moreover, it serves as a direct path to permanent residency after just 3 years. Keep in mind that to be eligible for this visa, you must be under 45 years except stated otherwise in the labor agreement, and possess a positive skill assessment in an occupation listed under the skilled occupation list.
How to apply for the Employer sponsored regional visa
- Organize and arrange your verified and essential documents (work, residence, identity, and character documents, payslips, reference letters, evidence of tax payments, income etc.).
- Ensure that your employer has submitted a nomination application on your behalf.
- Create an ImmiAccount and proceed to apply online, using the Transaction Reference Number (TRN) on your nomination.
- Pay the non refundable application fee of AUD 475 and note your transaction reference number.
It is worth noting that if granted the visa, you must commence employment within 90 days, so consider travel plans accordingly. Additionally, you are limited to working in your nominated position, under your sponsor, at least until you change your visa status. Australia also has strict laws against work visa scams, so exercise caution to avoid them.
5. Skilled Regional (subclass 191) visa
If you've previously lived, worked, or even just visited Australia for up to 3 years, you can permanently migrate through the Skilled Regional visa. This visa not only allows you to enjoy the benefits of living anywhere in Australia but also grants you the freedom to travel to and from the country with the privilege of sponsoring your family to join you.
Applicants for this visa are typically those who held temporary visas, such as Subclass 491 or 494. There's no minimum income requirement to meet, and amongst other requirements, to be eligible for this visa, you'll need to provide a 3-year tax assessment notice from the Australian Taxation Office. It's an exciting pathway to a permanent Australian lifestyle.
How to apply for the skilled Regional or Subclass 191 visa
- Organize your documents. Begin by carefully gathering and arranging all your essential verified documents including work, residence, identity, and character records, payslips, reference letters, evidence of tax payments, and income documentation.
- Apply Online. Create an ImmiAccount and proceed with your online application. It costs a non-refundable fee of AUD 475.
Once your visa status is determined, you'll receive a notification. If your visa is granted, you'll receive details about your visa, including any bridging visa or additional conditions if applicable. In the event of a refusal, you will be informed of the reasons for the refusal and whether you can re-apply.
6. Student (subclass 500) visa
The Australian student visa is a temporary visa that offers you the chance to stay in Australia for up to 5 years, aligned with your school enrollment. Under this visa, you can work for up to 48 hours every fortnight (that's every 2 weeks), and you have the flexibility to travel to and from Australia as needed.
To secure the student visa, you need to be enrolled in a course of study in Australia and be at least 6 years old. The visa application costs AUD 710, and while there's no fixed processing time, it's wise to apply at least 3 months before your intended course start date to avoid unexpected delays.
How to apply for the student (subclass 500) visa
- Get enrolled into a course of study in Australia with evidence.
- Arrange your verified documents (passport, police certificates, IELTS, letter of support from your school, financial proof of funds, etc).
- Pay your students health insurance (Overseas students health insurance).
- Prepare evidence of genuine temporary entrant.
- Complete a character and health requirement, and sign the Australian values statement.
- Gather all the required documents and apply on ImmiAccount.
When applying for the subclass 500 visa, you need to have enough money to support your stay. Remember that on Africhange, you can send money from Nigeria to Australia at the best rates with ease. Upon completion of your education, numerous pathways to permanent residency like skilled migration, employer-sponsored, regional visa or graduate visa awaits you.
Submit an Expression of Interest
As the name implies, this is a formal submission to the Australian government indicating your intention to apply for immigration. It is also completely free and lasts for 2 years, during which you can be issued an invitation to apply (ITA) if you meet the criteria. Your expression of interest should contain essential details like your name, citizenship, country of passport, relationship status, country of residency, skills and other related qualifications. Also, you should also regularly update your EOI if you acquire new skills, degree, education and work experience. To submit your expression of interest, visit skillselect.
Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
Once a month, the Australian Department of Home Affairs extends a special invitation – the Invitation to Apply (ITA). This coveted invitation is reserved for the highest-ranked candidates based on their points score, and it's the green light to proceed with your visa application. Your ITA will contain 3 vital information;
- The specific type of visa or subclass through which the ITA is issued.
- The timeline required to submit your application (usually within 60 days).
- Any additional information or requirements necessary for your application.
Getting your ITA is crucial and only fundamental to a successful Australian migration.
Apply and Wait patiently
Upon receiving an ITA, and completing your visa application process, be prepared to wait patiently. The Australian Department of Home Affairs and Immigration will notify you of your visa application outcome in writing. If approved, you will receive a visa grant letter and if rejected, you will be notified on reasons why you were rejected. While waiting, cross your fingers and be hopeful.
Prepare and plan to travel
Once your visa is approved, you can proceed to plan your travel. An adequate way to prepare for your trip is to develop a travel checklist. Some things to include in your checklist include; Check your passport validity, Cross check your visa documents (certificate of enrolment), book your flight, arrange airport transportation, get an overseas students health cover (OSHC), consider travel insurance, budget and set aside money, know that you can always send money to Australia at the best rates, secure an accommodation, arrange your medication prescription. Upon entering Australia, you will be given an incoming passenger card to fill for identification and record purposes.
Now that your visa is approved, it's time to get ready for your exciting adventure. One way to ensure a smooth trip is by creating a travel checklist. Here are some essential items to include:
- Check Your Passport: Ensure it's valid for the duration of your stay.
- Verify Visa Documents: Double-check your certificate of enrollment and other visa-related documents.
- Book Your Flight: Secure your airline tickets early.
- Arrange Airport Transportation: Plan how you'll get from the airport to your destination.
- Get Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC): Prioritise your health and well-being.
- Consider Travel Insurance: Extra protection for peace of mind.
- Budget Wisely: Set aside enough money for your journey.
- Currency Exchange: Remember, you can always send money to Australia at the best rates on Africhange.
- Secure Accommodation: Ensure you have a place to stay upon arrival.
- Medication Prescription: If needed, arrange for any necessary medications.
Note: Upon your arrival in Australia, you'll be provided with an incoming passenger card for identification and record-keeping purposes.
Migrating to Australia, like any other developed nation, is an intricate yet fascinating journey. Your key to success lies in meticulously following the requirements, and asking questions whenever uncertainty creeps in. Don't hesitate to seek answers or reach out to qualified professionals for guidance.
And remember; you can always count on Africhange for the best rates when sending money to Australia or receiving funds from Nigeria in Australia. We're here to make your financial transitions smoother on your path to a new life Down Under. To know more, click HERE.