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Visa & Immigration FAQs
We get a lot of queries about visas and immigration to Sydney so we've had an expert provide us with some FAQs. We'll continue to post more FAQs as time goes on. If you need more help or want any more questions answered just contact us and we'll hopefully point you in the right direction.

Please note the info below is obviously meant to assist, but it shouldn't be relied on as everyone's situation is different and laws, rules, processes, etc could change at any time.

There are 3 main types of Visa’s discussed belows:

  1. Visitor Visas
  2. 457 Visas
  3. Working Holiday Maker Visas

Applying may involve certain health checks and police clearances which are also discussed below. Other FAQs will continue to be added below.

Immigration and permanent residency issues are largely dependent on an individual’s circumstances. We’ll try to add some FAQS over time but feel free to contact us in the meantime so we can point you in the right direction.

Visitor Visas

I have a family member that wants to visit me in Australia for a short period of time how do they go about applying for a visitor visa?

Canadian’s are able to apply for Electronic Transit Authorities (ETA) to enter Australia for tourism purposes (detaiils below). Your family member’s travel agent can organise an ETA visitor visa but will normally charge a premium. Your family member can apply for an ETA visitor visa easily over the web and save a few dollars.  The process is simple and will require the applicant to log on to DIACs website using the weblinks below and complete an online application. The visa is normally issued on the within 24 hours. The applicant will need to have a credit card and passport on hand when completing the online form.

  • Nationals from Eligible European Countries
    Nationals from Eligible European Countries can apply for an eVisitor visa. The eVisitor Visa is designed for applicants from Eligible European Countries who are outside Australia and want to visit Australia for tourism purposes.

    There is no charge for an eVisitor visa and once granted the visa will allow the holder to enter Australia for up to 3 months on each visit within a 12 month period.

    Apply for an eVisitor Visa HERE

  • Nationals from Electronic Transit Authority (ETA) Countries (inc. Canada & USA)
    Nationals from ETA Countries outside of the European Union can apply for an ETA visitor visa. The ETA visitor visa is designed for people who are outside Australia and want to visit Australia for tourism purposes.

    There is a charge for an ETA visitor visa and once granted the visa will allow the holder to enter Australia for up to 3 months on each visit within a 12 month period.

    Apply for an ETA Visitor Visa HERE

  • Other Visitor Visas
    Family Sponsored Visas and Visitor visas for up to 12 months can be applied for but normally require a paper based application to be lodged at the local overseas embassy and can be extremely complicated.

  • Contact us if you would like to check your eligibility for a visitor visa or wish to speak to the right  professional.

457 Visas

How does the program work?
The 457 visa program underwent major reforms on 14.09.2009. The reforms have been implemented so as not to undermine local training and employment opportunities of Australian workers and provide equality between Australians and temporary residents in the Australian work place. The program has been designed to assist Australian and overseas business’s to sponsor highly skilled individuals to undertake skilled work in Australia for specified periods of time.

To facilitate the employment of an overseas skilled worker on a temporary work visa the application process is split into three separate applications. The first applications are made by the employer. The employer lodges an application to become a Standard Business Sponsor, then lodges an application to nominate a skilled position to be filled by an overseas skilled worker. Finally an application is lodged by the skilled overseas worker and accompanying family for a subclass 457 visa(s).

  • Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS)
    If you are an employer who is struggling to obtain skilled staff in Australia and have vacant skilled positions within your business that appears on the list of occupations for business long stay (457) visas, you may be eligible to become an Standard Business Sponsor (SBS).

    To become a Standard Business Sponsor the business must:
    • Be lawfully and actively operating
    • Be able meet the governments training benchmarks and have a commitment to maintain the benchmarks throughout the duration of the sponsorship
    • Be committed to employing local labour and has non-discriminatory employment practices
    • Have no adverse information be known about the business or office holders
    • Agree to adhere to the obligations
    • Please note: Breaches to obligations can result in punitive penalties

  • Nomination
    On lodgment of a Standard Business Sponsorship application with DIAC the sponsoring business will be eligible to lodge a nomination application for a skilled position that is available within the business or associated entity of the business.

    The nominated position must:
    • Appear on the list of occupations for business long stay (457) visas
    • Meet the relevant market rate of salary within the proposed location of work
    • Have a base rate of pay higher than the Temporary Skilled Migrant Income Threshold (TSMIT)
    • Have no less favourable terms and conditions of employment than Australians employed in the same role

    In addition to this the sponsor must attest that the nominated position contains a substantial majority of tasks listed on the Australian Standard Classification of Occupation descriptor for the relevant nominated occupation and that the nominee has the appropriate qualifications and skills to meet the needs of the skilled position.
  • 457 Visa Application
    Once the nomination application has been lodged an application to employ a skilled overseas worker under sub class 457 can be lodged.

    Applicants wishing to meet the criteria for the grant of a 457 visa will need to demonstrate they have the relevant qualifications and/or work experience to match the nominated position and demonstrate the mandatory health, character and English language requirements can be met. Please note: Due to the 457 visa program changes if you are already the primary holder of a subclass 457 visa you may not need to lodge a new application for a subclass 457 visa.

I have heard that if I apply for a 457 visa after 14.09.2009 I need to obtain private health insurance, is this correct?
From 14 September 2009 it is a requirement for visa grant that applicants have made adequate arrangements for health insurance for themselves and accompanying family members.
Subclass 457 visa holders are subject to visa condition 8501. Condition 8501 requires all visa holders, including accompanying family members, to maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia.

You are required to maintain an adequate level of insurance cover for the duration of your stay in Australia. This insurance must be at least as comprehensive as the minimum level of coverage required under the subclass 457 visa program. For the minimum level of coverage required, see Attachment A to the health insurance standard template letter by visiting the link below:

There are a few countries that have reciprocal health care arrangements with Australia. New Zealand and Irish passport holders do not need to obtain adequate health cover as they are automatically covered by the reciprocal arrangements. Some residents from other countries with reciprocal health care arrangements with Australia may be eligible for adequate cover through Medicare but will need to enrol once onshore. This means that adequate health cover will need to be organised prior to grant of the 457 visa and maintained until covered by medicare once enrolled onshore.

Where can I obtain adequate private health Insurance that is adequate for a 457 visa?

You can go to http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/searchbyinsurer.aspx to see what is on offer or contact us if you need any help.

Working Holiday Maker Visas

I understand that there is a work condition on my subclass 417 working holiday maker visa that states that I can only work for one Australian employer for a maximum of 6 months at any one time. Can I undertake work in the same location doing the same work for more than 6 months if I am paid through another company?

A working holiday maker has a 6 month work limitation on their subclass 417 working holiday maker visa (WHMV). This means that a WHMV holder cannot be employed by the same end user for more than 6 months. If a holder of a subclass 417 working holiday maker visa holder is going to perform the same duties and tasks in the same location for the same end user, regardless of who they are paid by they will be in breach of the 6 month work condition. This could lead to cancellation of the visa and would also mean that the company would be employing the person in breach of their work condition which can carry severe penalties. Please find below the Department of Immigration & Citizenships policy on this visa condition:


  • You can do any kind of work in Australia and may work with the same employer for up to six months.
  • The six month work limitation applies to full-time, part-time, casual and shift work.
  • Workplace-based training is considered to be work. You are able to undertake workplace-based training with each employer for up to six months.
  • The 'employer' is the business for which you are working directly.
  • If you are referred by an agency or labour supplier to a business, you can work for six months for that business. The same agency or labour supplier can refer you to another business where you can work for another six months. For the purpose of the six month limitation, the 'employer' is considered to be the business for which you are working directly, even if you are being paid by an agency or labour supplier.
  • Working for longer than six months with the same organisation, regardless of whether the duties or location of the employee change, is generally not allowed. A Working Holiday visa holder may, work for independently owned franchises located in different areas for up to six months at each, as long as the franchisees are different employers with different Australian Business Numbers.
  • You cannot stay in the same job beyond six months by using different employment agencies, business affiliates or sub-contracting arrangements.
  • If you hold a second Working Holiday visa, you may return to work for a further six months for an employer with whom you worked on your first Working Holiday visa.
  • http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/obligations.htm
If a WHMV holder is under the age of 31 and undertakes specified work in a specified region of Australia the WHMV Holder could apply for a second working holiday maker visa. On grant of the second working holiday maker visa they would be able to undertake a further 6 months work for the same end user.


I am applying for a visa, will I need to undertake a health examination and X-ray?

  • Permanent Visa
    A full health assessment is required for all permanent residency applications to ensure that the relevant public interest criteria is met for the grant of the visa. Additional tests may be required depending on a person’s occupation or circumstances. Please refer to the following link that will give further commentary on health requirements for permanent visas: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/booklets/1071i.pdf
  • Temporary Visas
    Not all applicants for permanent residency will need to undertake a health assessments. There are certain factors that will need to be taken into consideration such as the type of visa that is being applied for, the age of the applicant, the countries the applicant has lived in and the duration the applicant has lived in the relevant countries, the occupation the applicant may undertake when in Australia, the length of study that will be undertaken and the general health status of the applicant. Please refer to the following link that will give further commentary on health requirements for temporary visas: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/booklets/1071i.pdf

Police Clearance Certificates

Do I need to undertake Police Clearance Certificates if I apply for Permanent Residency?

All applications for permanent residency will require all applicants over the age of 16 to provide DIAC with a valid ORIGINAL police clearance certificate from every country that the applicant has lived within for a period of 12 months or longer in the last 10 years to demonstrate that they meet the character requirements for the grant of the visa. All police clearance certificates must be in English or the original language copy accompanied by a translation undertaking by a NAATI approved translator.

Police clearance certificates are usually only valid for 12 months. For further information on how to apply for police clearance certificates please visit the following link: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/character-requirements/character-penal.pdf

How do I obtain a Police Clearance certificate from Canada?

Obtaining Police Clearance certificates for immigration purposes from Canada can be a long process. The application process requires the applicant to provide original finger prints, personal information, identification documentation and a processing fee in Canadaian dollars. Certified Criminal Record Check from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can be obtained in the following way:

Step 1 – Obtain Full set of fingerprints required

  • To conduct a criminal record verification the Royal Canadian Mounted Police require a full set of fingerprints, including both rolled and flat impressions of all ten fingers.
  • Complete all fields on the fingerprint form.
  • Incomplete forms will be returned to the applicant unprocessed

If you are IN CANADA:
You must have your fingerprints taken on form C-216C at your local police station or private accredited fingerprinting agency. Depending on the police jurisdiction, a fee may be required.

Contact the nearest police force which offers fingerprinting services. The RCMP will accept fingerprint forms from foreign countries that contain the following:

  • rolled and flat impressions of all ten fingers taken with black ink
  • full name, date of birth and sex of the applicant
  • the name and address of the police agency
  • the signature of the official taking the fingerprints
Please note that you should call your local police station prior to visiting the police station to ensure that they are able to undertake this service.

Step 2 – Reason for request of document
Please ensure that you indicate the reason for your certified criminal record verification on your fingerprint form as: "Permanent residency in foreign countries/visa application"

Step 3 – Personal Information
You will need to provide the following information when you complete your fingerprint form:

  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Email addres

Step 4 - Identification of police service or fingerprinting agency
Verify the information recorded by the official taking your fingerprints and ensure that the official's name and signature, and the name of the agency is indicated on your fingerprint form.

The processing fee is $25 CAN or the US equivalent per request and is payable to the "Receiver General for Canada" by certified cheque or money order. Payments by credit card are not accepted .

Step 5 – Checklist
Before sending your request, make sure it contains all of the following:

  • Original fingerprint form
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number and email address
  • Reason for application (step 2)
  • Processing Fee

Please ensure you have all this information with you and a postage paid envelope addressed (see step 6) to Canada in case you are not able to take your fingerprint form away from the police station you are obtaining the prints from.

Step 6 – Send completed application
Once you have completed the fingerprint form and all of the required details are filled out, please send the application with the processing fee to:

The Director
Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services
1200 Vanier Parkway

Other FAQ's

I am looking to apply for a working holiday visa to Australia (417). Everything that I come across tells me I will not be covered by Medicare. I recently did a working holiday visa in the United Kingdom. I was told that I would not be covered by the NHS there because of no reciprocal health agreement with Canada ( same as Australia) but once I spent lots of money on health coverage extension here in Canada I got to England and once I got my National Insurance Number I was covered by the NHS. I am wondering if this will happen to me once I get to Australia as well. Since I will work there and pay taxes will I be covered?

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the governments of the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Malta and Italy which entitles nationals from these countries to limited subsidised health services for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia. Please visit the following web link for further information:

Information relating to Health Care for Visitors to Australia

As the Australian Government does not have a reciprocal Health Care arrangement with Canada, Canadian nationals will need to ensure that they obtain adequate private health insurance prior to travelling to Australia to ensure that they are adequately cover for the validity of their stay in Australia. Please refer to he following web link which gives further details in relation to health insurance products for non-Citizens of Australia:

Insurance Products for Non-Citizens of Australia visiting Australia

If the Canadian National becomes a Permanent Resident, then the Canadian National will be eligible for Medicare. Please refer to the Web link below for further details:

Eligibility and Enrolment Information

Information Valid as at: 23 September, 2009

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