A survey by the BBC (correct in 2006) concluded that around 13% of British people have considered emigrating and of those, around 40% would like to move to Australia. Reasons stated for moving were a better quality of life, more free time, better weather and having friends and family already there. There are various ways of getting a Visa to live in Australia, the most common being a work based visa, however, for many, there is the opportunity to emigrate based on a partner sponsored visa.
Partner Sponsored Visa Types
A partner sponsored visa is an umbrella term for a visa that includes spouse visa, de facto visa, and interdependency visa. A spouse visa is normally issued to an individual who is married to an Australian citizen. A de facto visa is focused on a couple that live together as though they were married. An interdependency visa is primarily for couples of the same sex who are in an ongoing relationship. There is also the option of a prospective spouse visa, but this is usually classed as a special case visa and doesn't follow the exact same requirements as the others.
Requirements for a Partner Sponsored Visa
If you and your sponsor (usually your partner) are intending on applying for a visa whilst in the UK, you must provide evidence of your relationship. Ultimately, DIMIA (Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) are looking for proof that you and your partner have a loving, honest and realistic relationship that is likely to continue when you move to Australia. In order to prove this, you are usually asked to provide evidence of joint commitments, such a bank account, mortgages, insurance, joint travel and more. You will also be able to provide family photos, along with statements from yourself and your partner and other family members. All of this should be sufficient to prove the genuine nature of your relationship and should be sent away with the correct forms for your visa type.
Police Checks and Medical Assessment
Before you can be accepted as a new Australian migrant, you will also be asked to undertake police clearance checks and a medical assessment. These are often requested along with your visa application, although for some work sponsored applications, these are not required until later in the process. The police clearance checks will determine that you are of good character. The medical assessment consists of X-rays to ensure you do not have tuberculosis and also a thorough medical exam, that shows you are a fit and able person.
Temporary or Permanent Residence
Many people are confused as to whether they're able to become temporary or permanent residents in Australia when they first arrive. This is purely based on the visa you have been granted. When you apply, you actually apply for both a temporary and permanent visa at the same time. Your application is then processed and you will be granted one or the other. For many, a permanent visa is granted immediately, this is usually when there is sufficient evidence of an ongoing, committed relationship over a period of 5 years. When a temporary visa is granted, this is normally accepted for 2 years, where after this period, the visa may be altered to permanent.
Getting Help or Going it Alone
Many people will employ the help of a reputable migration agent when applying for a visa. For partner sponsored applications, it is often not necessary to do so, as they are one of the more straight forward processes. However, a good migration agent will help expedite the process and make it far less stressful, so are highly recommended. A migration agent can deal with you on a one to one basis, and will be able to offer advice on anything you may be unsure about. The fees for migration agents tend to range from around £500 to £2,000 for this type of visa. The current visa fee is £537 when lodged outside Australia, so it can be expensive, but of course is worth it when that visa is approved.
Australia Here I Come
When your visa has been approved, you generally have 12 months to validate it at an Australian port of entry. After this, you have 5 years in which to move to Australia to set up home. Many people find the entire process very exciting, if a little daunting, and it's better to do as much research from the UK as possible. You will need to set up an Australian bank account, obtain a Medicare number, a tax file number and so much more. Start looking into the real estate options and employment opportunities in the area you wish to move to, and of course, start preparing your family for your eventual move. Starting a new life somewhere else can be extremely rewarding, so long as you are prepared and willing to adapt and change to your new environment.