Frequently Asked Questions about Australia

Australian Immigration usually involves many questions. Read about common questions & answers covering Australia’s immigration and Australian Migration here.

English language - Level of English

IELTS (or International English Language Testing System, is an international standardised test of English language proficiency. For Australian immigration purposes, the various English levels are defined as the following:

Poor English – very limited command of the English language.

Functional English

You can show you have functional English ability by providing evidence of the following:

  1. Scoring at least 4.5 averaged over the four components of the IELTS test.
  2. Holding a degree, diploma or trade qualification from an academic institution as a result of at least 2 years full time study where all instruction has been conducted in English
  3. Working in an English speaking country for 2 years or more

Vocational English (Basic)


A reasonable command of the English language, coping with overall meaning in most situations. Must be able to communicate effectively in the selected field of employment. (This equates to a band score of 5 out of 9 in each of the four components of the IELTS test which are speaking, reading, writing and listening.)


Competent English (very good) must either score at least 6 on each of the modules of IELTS, or score at least “B” on Australia’s Occupational English Test

The OET is only appropriate for medical and allied health professionals.
Proficient English (excellent) – An operational command of English with the ability to use and comprehend complex language well and understand detailed reasoning. (This equates to a band score of 7 out of 9 in each of the four components of the IELTS test which are speaking, reading, writing and listening.)

For the purpose of Australian skilled migration, applicants must demonstrate at least Competent level English. Depending on your occupation, a higher level of English may be required . We will advise you of your required English Language Proficiency.

How soon can I come to Australia?

  • This all depends under which type of visa you are applying for migration and the strength of your application.
  • It also depends on whether you lodge yourself or use the services of a Registered .Migration Agent. Registered Migration Agents have the ability to lodge ‘Decision Ready’ visa applications which significantly reduce the processing time.
  •  Nobody gets a visa overnight – these things invariably takes time. Each application is unique and a time estimate can only be determined once an Immigration Law Matters consultant has done a personal assessment. Also have a look at the Department of Immigration and Citizenships service charter for average processing times

If I buy a house in Australia will that give me a Visa?


Can I use TOEFL instead of IELTS or OET?

  • Only IELTS or OET are acceptable. TOEFL may be acceptable for student and working holiday visas only.
  • For most skilled migration application the minimum English language level required is:

An overall Band score of at least 6.0 (with a minimum score of 6.0 in each of the four components of reading, writing, listening and speaking) at the General level of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

  • For some occupations, you may be required to submit higher IELTS scores.

What about my children?

If they are still dependent on you, they will be included on your visa. Married / Independent children will not qualify under your visa.

What about health?

  • A medical test is standard procedure and you need to pass that. A blood test will be conducted and X-rays of the chest will be taken.
  • Applicants for most types of visas for Australia are required to meet health requirements, amongst other prescribed criteria, before a visa can be granted. All applicants for permanent migration visas are required to undergo a full medical examination and chest x-ray with a “panel doctor” (see below) before a visa can be granted. Some applicants for temporary stay visas may also be required to undergo one or both examinations, or provide a “fitness to travel” letter from a doctor before a visa can be granted.
  • All children / dependents included in your application aged 11 + must undertake full medicals and X-ray examination.

All the persons included in your application as well as all of your dependents (even if they are not included in your application) MUST undertake a medical exam, and must “pass” the medical. If one fails, all fail – and the visa will be refused.

I am already in Australia. Can you give me advice concerning my visa?

Yes! If you are in Australia, we can advise you on any migration issue, including helping you to:

  • Extend your current visa
  • Apply for a different visa
  • Become a Permanent Resident of Australia
  • Become an Australian Citizen
  • Communicate with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship
  • Deal with the cancellation of your visa
  • Appeal against a case officers decision

Where can I get some advice about visiting Australia?

  • Staff at Immigration Law Matters can advise you on:
    • How to apply for travel to Australia
    • Which visa type to apply for
    • What to do if you have a problem with your current visa
    • How to change your visa
    • How to extend your visa
    • Any other issue related to migrating to Australia.
  • For further advice on these issues please complete the request form or contact us by e-mail, or telephone.

May I work in Australia?

  • If you want to work in Australia, it is important that the visa you are issued allows you to do so. Certain types of visas do not permit you to work in Australia. Some visas restrict the number of hours you can work per week.
  • If you want to work in Australia, it is important that you apply for the correct visa type. We can advise you on the best visa to apply for to suit your circumstances.
  • If you would like to know more about working in Australia, please complete the request form or contact us by e-mail, mail or telephone.
  • For some visas, we may be able to waive work restrictions if you have are in financial hardship.

May I study in Australia?

  • Australia has an excellent education system. There are a variety of courses suitable for all levels of education, for all ages. People from outside Australia can travel to Australia to complete accredited courses.
  • Recently, there has been a number of changes to Australia’s Student Visa Program. One major change was the introduction of the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement which means you may be assessed whether your intentions to study in Australia are genuine.
  • Please do not rely on Education Agents for Australian Immigration Advice. They are not qualified to provide you with immigration advice and it is against the Law to do so.

There are a number of visas which allow people to study in Australia. It is important that you choose the most suitable visa. If you would like to know more about studying in Australia, please complete the request form or contact us by e-mail, mail or telephone.

How do I become an Australian Citizen?

  • The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) provides the information regarding the acquisition of Australian citizenship. There are a number of factors which the Australian Government considers before granting Australian Citizenship.
  • If you would like to know more about becoming an Australian Citizen, please complete the request form or contact us by e-mail, or telephone.

Can I visit Australia while my migration application is being processed?

Yes. But……
You will need to meet the requirements for that class of visa, which may include the requirement that you only intend a holiday or short visit. Visitor visas are not intended to provide residence in Australia for migration applicants awaiting the outcome of their application.
…and you must inform us if you are temporarily in Australia as we can continue your processing whilst you are there.

I am applying under the partner provisions do you need to interview me and my partner/sponsor?

In most cases we may need to interview you, but this can be done over the telephone if you are unable to attend our office. We will contact you if we need to arrange an interview.

Does my sponsor (i.e. spouse or partner) have to remain in the country of residence during processing?


If I am approved, how long do I have before I must travel to Australia?

The initial entry date (stated on your visa) is the date by which you must travel to Australia on your visa. This date is calculated based on the validity of your health and character clearances. These clearances are usually only valid for 12 months.
If you (and any members of your family included in your application) do not enter Australia by the initial entry date, you will breached a condition of your visa and consideration will be given to canceling your visa.

How do I have character checks done?

In order for the Australian government to determine whether you are of good character, you may be asked to provide penal clearance certificates for each country you have resided in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years. In some instances, you may also be asked to obtain penal clearance certificates for periods beyond the 10 years or for countries where you have spent less than 12 months when the case warrants it.

Why should I use a Migration Agent and when should I make my decision to migrate to Australia?

Experience suggests that many people interested in Migrating to Australia spend a lot valuable time thinking about making their migration decision or go bargain hunting (looking for the cheapest advice they can get) or simply attempt to do themselves and fail.

The below are 7 reasons why you should act quickly and use a Australian Registered Migration Professional:


 Take advantage of current migration laws which can and usually always get harder as they change over time. Australian Migration Law is complex and constantly changing. The Skilled Occupation List is constantly being monitored and renewed. Your occupation may not be an occupation that is in demand in Australia tomorrow. Furthermore, Visa Application Charges (VAC) are indexed annually (sometimes bi-annually). For example, the VAC for partner visas increased by $600 AUD this year.


 Avoid the stress of getting yourself and your family into a difficult migration situation or not knowing what to do with your migration – stress is often caused when you do not know how to solve a problem and feel trapped. Unless you have access to professionals like us with our many and varied information resources you can only rely on your own research and inaccurate gossip – that is hardly, the basis for making important decisions about where you will spend the rest of your life.


 Save money and time by not having to do migration the hard way – the costs of returning home unexpectedly or making more than one visa application can easily be double or more the costs of the original application. There is just no point risking this lost money as well as the lost opportunity to earn a better income in Australia just to save on some professional fees. If you have a visa refused it will impact on a further visa application you make – So get it right the first time and use a Migration Professional like ourselves.


 Protect your family by being in Australia sooner with your visa, especially if you normally live in a dangerous country – this hardly needs explaining, but Australia is one of the safest countries in the world, ranked 21st of 158 countries on the Global Peace Indicator. As many of the countries above it are Scandinavian and freezing, this is a great ranking, unless you like being cold and in the dark most of the year!


 With an Australian work visa you most likely will increase your income by earning more in Australia, which has some of the highest wages in the world – most people in the world would love to earn the Australian average annual income of around $A60,000. That’s $1200 per week. As for average disposable income, Australia was recently ranked 5th behind only the USA, Ireland, Luxembourg & Switzerland (source: OECD +


 Access greater medical assistance, and in some cases free medical help, by coming under the protection of Australia’s Medicare system – Australia has one of the best public health programs in the world that has existed for nearly 30 years.


 Start planning your career future and your children’s educational future with certainty as soon as your Australian migration issues are resolved in your favour – these job and employment factors always rank very high when people are deciding where to live. If you are still working out complex migration issues and not even sure if you can get your visa you cannot even start planning these matters at all, let alone make firm commitments.

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