IMMIGRATING TO AUSTRALIA
Are you thinking of moving to Australia, but worried the odds of a successful visa won’t work out in your favour? After all, many of us have heard horror stories about people who spend years filling copious amounts of documents, with proof and receipts of their good human nature, only to be rejected by a technicality or a comma in the wrong place.
It can be despairing and costly for some, and others simply don’t have the time to wait for a deliberation that could save their life. But as frightening as the stories make it out to be, the first step to a smooth move to Australia is to learn about your rights, what you need to present, and who can help you get it.
Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
1. Find out what kind of visa you need
Different people have different reasons to move to Australia and knowing beforehand the type of visa that applies to you can save you from many headaches. You can choose five categories – studying and training, family and partner, working and skilled, refugee and humanitarian, and others. There are several other subclasses for each of these categories, each with its own set of requirements. Find the complete list at the Home Affairs webpage and know the difference between coming here on a prospective marriage visa and a skilled nominated work visa.
2. Be thorough and truthful in your application
Read the instructions carefully and take note of all documentation necessary. In many cases, you will need document translations, a medical exam (ask your local Australian consulate for a list of certified translators and approved doctors), and the documentation that supports your claim depending on the type of visa. It isn’t a race, so take your time. Your application will stay open on the Home Affairs webpage until it’s submitted, so make sure you can gather all the relevant documents.
3. Be transparent
Make sure everything you provide is correct. One misstep can undo all your work. If there’s an interview, be honest.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Contact a lawyer if you’re unsure about the process or have questions regarding your specific case. If you’re applying from Australia, or know someone in the country that can help you, many legal professionals in your state have the tools and expertise to assist you, including in your language of choice. Many could even be available to help you from abroad if you contact them. Don’t risk if there’s something you don’t know.
5. If you’re seeking asylum, find legal help
Many organisations in Australia work hard to give legal and emotional support to those arriving in Australia seeking asylum and who cannot afford a private lawyer. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre or the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre has a vast network of dedicated professionals who provide free legal advice and assistance. Even if you, or someone you know, is currently in detention, these and other organisations are working hard to assist those who arrive in this country fleeing prosecution, violence and more. They have resources in many languages and can put you in contact with solicitors who understand your cultural and political situation. If you’re planning to move to Australia as an asylum seeker, find which category applies to you here.
Remember, the Find A Lawyer tool on Lawfully Explained allows you to search for someone who specialises in immigration law.