We've blogged previously on the changes to Australian skilled migration and specifically how the Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (subclass 475) and the Skilled Sponsored visa (subclass 176) have become a more attractive proposition to potential migrants, due to these state sponsored visa subclasses receiving 'Priority 1' visa processing status.
However, we've not really touched on the criteria of the state sponsorship lists, or the all-important question of what financial demands an Australian State or Territory will ask an applicant to meet before they are deemed eligible for sponsorship.
To put it briefly, some states have clear and interpretable rules, and others do not. As a result, this often makes it difficult to anticipate exactly what funds an applicant must hold for them to receive sponsorship by a specific state.
For example, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have clear financial criteria for an applicant and their dependants, stating exactly what the financial requirements are for the primary applicant and any dependants they might have.
Other states’ financial criteria are vaguer, with both Western Australia and Queensland asking just that applicants hold "sufficient funds" to settle in the state. Victoria takes this even further and doesn't specify any financial criteria, giving the applicant absolutely no indication as to what requirements might be made.
This comes in stark contrast to most other aspects of the Australian migration process, which are tightly legislated and bound by regulations that are supported by (mostly) clear policy. That's not to say that lodging an Australian visa is a clear-cut process, but the answers to most questions regarding visa policy can generally be found if you know where to look.
This issue becomes especially pertinent as the state sponsored skilled visa subclasses are becoming increasingly favoured by Australian visa applicants due to other subclasses such as the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 175), family sponsored Skilled Sponsored visa (subclass 176) and family sponsored Skilled Regional Sponsored (subclass 475) visa subclasses currently taking an indefinite time to process (unless the applicant is listed on the Critical Skills List).
Without all states making a more transparent explanation of all sponsorship criteria available, it makes it very difficult for skilled sponsored visa applicants to fully assess their chances of success from the very beginning of the process, even as more and more applicants are forced to take this pathway.
As a migration consultancy that is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), we are obliged to outline the risks and likelihood of success as best we can before taking on a client. Thankfully, our years of experience in successfully lodging state sponsored visas means we have some hands-on experience with each state's specific requirements, but not every agency or applicant will have the same resources to understand the almost hidden financial criteria that can come with applying for sponsorship.
- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau
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