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Visa and Immigration Glossary

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Glossary of terms relating to immigration to Australia.

Aged parent

A person who is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension.


The applicant is the person (or persons) applying to migrate to Australia.

Appropriate Regional Authority

A Department or authority of a State/Territory that is specified by Gazette Notice in relation to the grant of a Business Skills Visa.


Adelaide Skilled Processing Centre.


An assurer is a person usually living in Australia as an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen who signs a legal undertaking (an Assurance of Support - AoS) so that the applicant and dependants will not have to rely on certain social security payments that can be recovered by the Commonwealth of Australia under the AoS scheme. In the event an applicant or their dependants receive a recoverable benefit in the 2 year AoS period, the assurer is legally committed to repay them to the Commonwealth of Australia. The assurer and sponsor may be, but do not need to be, the same person. An assurance may be given by individuals acting alone or jointly, community groups or organisations.


'A$' or 'AUD' means the Australian Dollar equivalent value in the basis of the buying rate:

  • In the local currency for Australian Dollars on the last day of the fiscal year in which the business reported;
  • Published by any bank holding an Australian banking License; and
  • Published on an approved currency conversion website.
Australian mission

An Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate or Consulate-Mission General or Australian Trade Commission.

Australian permanent resident

A person who is the holder of a permanent visa and is usually resident in Australia.

Bridging visa

A type of temporary visa that provides the holder with status as lawful non-citizen. It can only be granted in Australia.


The agency that delivers social security payments and related services in Australia.

Certified copy

Copy of a document authorised, or stamped as being a true copy of the original, by a person or agency recognised by the law of the person's home country. In Australia, this means a copy which is authorised as a true copy by a person before whom a Statutory Declaration may be made. Such authorised persons include the following: magistrate, Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations, Commissioner for Affidavits, solicitor, registered medical practitioner, bank manager, postal manager, an Australian Public Service Officer with 5 years or more service.

Close relative

Your spouse, children, parents and siblings and step relatives of the same degree.

Complete application

An application that provides all information necessary for processing, including evidence of your relationship, completed health and character checks (if applicable) and other necessary documents.

Date of completion

The definition of date of completion of an Australian qualification is the first date on which results were publicly notified or made available to you, for example by letter, on the internet, by publication in the newspaper or by bulletin board at the tertiary institution.

De facto

Not legally married, but in a spouse-like or spouse-equivalent relationship. Sometimes known as 'common law' spouse.

De jure

Legally married.


Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Departmental office

An office of DIAC.


A person who is wholly or substantially reliant on a family member for financial support to meet their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing; or wholly or substantially reliant on their family member for financial support due to being incapacitated for work because of the total or partial loss of bodily or mental functions.

Dependent child

A natural, adopted, or step-child, who has not turned 18 years of age, or, if age 18 years or over, is dependant. A child must not have a spouse or be engaged to be married.

Designated investment

Investment in a security issued by an Australian State/Territory government authority which is specified by the Minister by Gazette Notice for the purposed of Investor and State/Territory Sponsored Investor Visa subclasses.


Department of Immigration and Citizenship.


The country in which you are domiciled is the country in which you permanently live.

Eligible investment

'Eligible investment' in relation to a person means:

  • Ownership interest in a business;
  • A loan to a business;
  • Cash on deposit;
  • Stocks and bonds;
  • Real estate; or
  • Gold or silver bullion

that is owned by the person for the purpose of producing a return by way of income or capital gain and is not held for personal use.

Eligible New Zealand citizen

For sponsorship purposes, an eligible New Zealand citizen is one who held a Special Category Visa (SCV) on 26 February 2001; or held a SCV for at least 1 year in the 2 years preceding that date; or has a certificate, issued under the Social Security Act 1991, that states that the New Zealand citizen was, for the purposes of that Act, residing in Australia on a particular date. The SCV holder would also have needed to meet certain health and character requirements on last entry to Australia.

Eligible overseas student

Refers to overseas students in Australia who are eligible to apply for the onshore students in Australia visa categories.


Having worked in paid employment for at least 20 hours a week.

ENS List of Occupations

Positions nominated under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) must correspond to an occupation that is on the ENS list of occupations.


Electronic Travel Authority.

Family head

For migration purposes, the family head is generally the person who is most likely to meet the primary legal criteria for the grant of a Partner Visa.

Fiance(e) relationship

A relationship where a couple is engaged to be married or betrothed. In the context of the partner migration, the term fiancee is used to mean a man and a woman who intend to marry each other.

Fiscal year

'Fiscal year' in relation to a business or investment means:

  • If there is applicable to the business or investment by law an accounting period of 12 months - that period; or
  • In any other case - a period of 12 months accepted as applying to that business for taxation or reporting purposes by the authorities in the country in which the business operates and reports.
Immediate family

Your spouse and dependant children.

Interdependent partner

A partner who is mutually dependent on you. This is usually a same-sex partner.

Interdependent relationship

A relationship in which a couple have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others. The relationship between them is genuine and continuing and they live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis. This is usually a same-sex partnership.


This refers to the International English Language Testing System, the test required to assess your English language ability for migration purposes.

Lawful non-citizen

A non-citizen who holds a valid visa.

Long-term independent relationship

An independent relationship that has continued for 5 years or more.

Long-term spouse relationship

A spouse relationship that has continued for 5 years or more; or 2 years or more if you have children together.

Main business

Owned by the person for the purposes of producing by way of income or capital gain and is NOT held for personal use:

  • The applicant has, or has had, an ownership interest in the business;
  • The applicant maintains, or has maintained a direct and continuous involvement in the management of the business from day to day and in making decisions affecting the overall direction and performance of the business;
  • The value of the applicants ownership interest, or the total value of the ownership interests of the applicant and the applicants spouse in the business is or was at least 10% of the total value of the business; and
  • The business must be a qualifying business.
Migration Institute of Australia (MIA)

The Migration Institute of Australia is the professional association for Australian migration service providers worldwide.

Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA)

The MARA is the migration industry's regulatory body, ensuring consumers are protected in relation to cost, quality of service and professionalism.

Member of the family unit

A spouse or dependent child. Also includes single (unmarried, widowed or divorced) relatives who reside with, and are dependent on, the family head.

Net assets

The 'net assets' of a business is the amount attributable to the owners or shareholders of the business after deducting financial claims upon the business by third parties from total assets (ie. Net assets = total assets - liabilities).


This refers to the Occupational English Test. In some professions, applicants are required to sit this test as part of the qualifications assessment.

Ownership interest

In relation to a business means:

  • A shareholder in a company that carries on a business;
  • A partner in a partnership that carries on the business; or
  • The sole proprietor of the business, including such an interest held directly through one or more interposed companies, partnerships or trusts (if a trust, there are strict requirements)

Includes married and de facto spouses, fiancee and interdependent partners.

Partner visa

A Prospective Marriage, Spouse or Interdependency Visa.

Pass mark

This is the total number of points you must score to pass the Points Test. You must reach the pass mark applicable to your application at the time it is assessed (note: not at the time the application is lodged). If you pass, your application will be processed further.

Permanent visa

A visa permitting a person to remain indefinitely in Australia.

Points test

For many of the skilled categories, you must pass a Points Test. The pass mark changes from time to time.

Pool mark

If you do not achieve the pass mark, the pool mark is the total number of points you must score if your application is to be held in reserve for up to 2 years after it is assessed, in case a newer, lower pass mark is set. If your application scores sufficient points to meet the new pass mark, your application will be withdrawn from the pool and processed further.

Prohibited degree of relationship

A relationship between a person and his or her ancestor/descendant (ie. between a parent and a child or a grandparent and a grandchild) or between a brother and a sister (full or half blood). This applies to natural and adoptive relationships.

Provisional visa

A temporary visa allowing a person to enter and remain in Australia until a decision is made on the permanent visa application.

Qualifying business

The enterprise:

  • Is operated for the purpose of making a profit through the provision of goods, services, or goods and services (other than the provision of rental property) to the public; and
  • Is not operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.

A relative or a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or step equivalent.

Regional Australia/low population growth metropolitan areas

Living in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area means that SIR Visa holders can live anywhere in Australia except in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, the NSW Central Coast, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne or the ACT.

Second-stage processing

Usually 2 years after the application for a Partner Visa was made, applicants who are holders of a temporary Spouse or Interdependency Visa are assessed as to whether they continue to meet all the requirements for the grant of a permanent Spouse or Interdependency Visa.


To meet settled requirements, a person must have been lawfully resident in Australia usually for a period of 2 years.

Skilled Occupations List (SOL)

If you are intending to apply under ANY one of the skilled categories, you must have a nominated occupation which is on the SOL at the time you apply. In order to be successful in your application, your qualifications (and work experience, in some cases) must be assessed by the Australian assessing authority responsible for your SOL nominated occupation.


For some categories you must have a sponsor. A sponsor is a relative aged 18 years or over who is living in Australia, is an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen and is prepared to sponsor your application and who undertakes to assist the application, to the extent necessary, financially and in relation to accommodation for a period of 2 years.

Spouse relationship

A married or de facto relationship between a couple where they have a mutual commitment to a shared life as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others, the relationship between them is genuine and continuing, and they live together, or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

Statutory Declaration

This declaration must be made before a person authorised by the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 and Regulations, which include the following: magistrate, Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations, Commissioner for Affidavits, solicitor, registered medical practitioner, bank manager, postal manager, an Australian Public Service Officer with 5 years or more service.

Substantial period

12 months or more.


Technical and Further Education (Australian distance education network)

Temporary visa

A visa permitting a person to remain in Australia temporarily.

Transitional arrangements

Overseas students who were studying towards a degree, diploma or trade qualification in Australia on or before 31 March 2003 and who apply for a General Skilled Migration or a Graduate Skilled Temporary visa before 1 April 2004 will need to meet only the pre-1 July 2003, '1 year of full-time study' requirement (see below). Applicants in this transitional group may also be able to claim the points in the 1 July 2003 points test changes.


Permission to travel to, enter and remain in Australia for a period of time or indefinitely.

1 year of full-time study

To meet the 1 year of full time study requirement you must have successfully completed, in the 6 months immediately before the application is made, a degree, diploma or trade qualification that required at least 1 year of full time study at one Australian educational institution and all the instruction was conducted in English.

2 years study in Australia

To meet the 2 years study in Australia requirement:

  • You must have studied in Australia at an Australian educational institution for at least 2 years full time;
  • You must have completed during the 6 months immediately before lodging the application, an Australian degree, diploma or trade qualification, and all tuition for this study was conducted in English;
  • Any qualification awarded during this 2 year period is appropriate to the nominated occupation; and
  • If this study was undertaken at more than 1 Australian educational institution, the primary applicant was awarded an Australian degree, diploma or trade qualification before commencing study at another Australian educational institution.

Understanding the above Visa and Immigration Glossary of Terms will help you in your migration to Australia.