Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Immigrate to Australia (Skilled Independent Visa - subclass 189)

Australian Embassy
Disclaimer: I am not an official immigration consultant, this blog post is an attempt to collect some useful information in one source.

The skilled independent visa of Australia (subclass 189) allows you to work and live in Australia (and New Zealand) and is the first step to becoming an Australian citizen. Here is the general concept, you get points based on a group of factors (age, professional experience, marital status etc.. details here: link), getting 65 points almost guarantees that you will get the visa. The whole process takes around one year and costs about JOD 3,000.

Step #1: Professional Consultation
Visit Reach Immigration, (link, contacts: +962-65521114  and +962-795999429). No, I do not get any commission from these guys but they are really professional. You can ask them for a general consultation about your chances and accordingly proceed with them or go through the process on your own.

Step #2: The IELTS Exam
Usually you need to get a band 7 in each of the four sections of the exam. It is not so easy to do this right from the first time, here are some useful tips (link).

* important update (Nov 2015): I recently heard that you can take the PTE test instead of IELTS, which is relatively better

Step #3: Skills Assessment
Cost: JOD 300, duration: three months
Australia is looking for certain skills, this list (link) has the occupations that are in demand and the corresponding assessing authorities. So, for example ICT business Analysts are assessed through ACS (The Australian Computer Society). There is a ceiling for the occupations as well (linkoccupation ceilings tab) which is reset every year in July.

It is not a matter of the job title itself, but the assessing authority has to evaluate the duties handled within the job and make sure it fits with the academic qualification of the applicant. Here is a sample of duties for what ACS considers a business analyst (link), the obtained work letter should also match the official template of the assessing authority (example: ACS template link).

The assessing authority requests certified copies of original documents, the Australian embassy in Amman is authorized to stamp such documents and they are very cooperative and professional. Book an appointment first (+96265807000, extension: 125), you would have to stamp a copy of your passport, the employment letter, and academic qualifications (degree and transcript of courses) where it costs JOD 20 to stamp each document.

Then you upload a scanned copy of the documents to the assessing authority (example: for ACS link) and the assessing authority in its turn sends back a result via email.

Step #4: Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI)
Cost: free, duration: one month
The department of immigration introduced this step to make the process more efficient. Applicants do not have to upload any documents in this stage, but if the result of the EOI is positive, it means that there is a high certainty that the applicant will get the visa given that the details he/she provided earlier were all accurate. EOI should be submitted through SkillSelect (link). The same link has some useful details, such as the invitation rounds tab which shows a log of previous invitation rounds.

I am not 100% sure about this but as far as I know, state sponsorship can be requested within the EOI (Skilled Nominated Visa - subclass 190). Applying for this visa gets the applicants 5 extra points but also means he/she has to work in the sponsoring state for the first two years.

Step #5: Apply for the Visa
Cost: JOD 2,500, duration: three months
An EOI positive response email will have a link that automatically leads to the visa application portal (this one: link) fees are payable using a credit card. After several weeks of submitting the application a case officer is assigned, who will ask the applicant to provide any remaining documents such as:

1) Birth certificate in English: can be obtained from the Civil Status and Passport Department of Jordan (1st circle, next to the Iraqi embassy).

2) Supporting evidence in regards to the work experience.

3) Police check: a non-conviction certificate can be obtained from the court in Abdali but it would be in Arabic language. You have then to translate it from an authorized office, Al-Zahra' Translation Center (+962-799404022) is opposite to the court and can do this in one day. Then you have to ratify the document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in rainbow street. (update, Aug'16: you can now submit your request to issue a non-conviction certificate online, and it can be issued in English, so there would be no need for a translation service, check out the details here: )

4) Evidence of Health: there is a list of clinics that are officially recognized by the Australian embassy (link). Dr Amy Khoury clinic is open on Saturdays and she is super friendly, the medical check costs JOD 130.

Last but not least, I want to thank Tareq, Rami, Feras, Taimour, Laila, Ala, Bashar and Omar, this post would not have been published without your help.

Ps. Here is a blog that has more details about immigration to Australia (link).
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