Do you need a migration agent if you already have a 457 visa?
I moved to Sydney four months ago on a 457 visa but want to try and get an independent visa.
I contacted a migration agent and it seems I have a really good chance of getting an 189 (points look good, my profession is on the list, I have a Ph.D. and my skills have been assessed and approved by APS, I’m from the US so hope to get a high score on IELTS).
1. My case seems pretty straightforward so I was wondering if I should just apply alone without an agent?
2. How should I handle this as far as my employer? If I tell them, it’s pretty much letting them know I want to leave, but I’m not sure of the timeframe this is going to take (and if it’s going to go through), so at some point I have to tell them. I think either way they will be upset (and I can’t go through our company lawyer/visa person), but I want to minimize it as much as possible.
Things are not going so well at work and I’m actually thinking of quitting my job.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much!
First off, since you’re from the US and have a Ph.D. you won’t have to take an IELTS so cross that off your list.
The norm for changing from a Temporary 457 Visa to a Permanent Residence Visa is to wait two years then ask the employer if they are interested in sponsoring you for a more permanent position and an 186 Visa.
Let’s face it, everyone on a 457 Visa is temporary. It isn’t until they switch to a PR Visa that they are permanent.
Here’s info about the 186 Employer Sponsored Visa from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
This visa is for skilled workers from outside Australia or skilled temporary residents who live and work in Australia. It has three streams.
- The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for two years and their employer wants to offer them a permanent position.
- The Direct Entry stream is for people who have never, or only briefly, worked in the Australian labour market.
- The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour or regional migration agreement.
I’ve included that bit of info for our other SMG readers that may have been wondering about how long they have to wait to start the 186 Visa process.
Now, your specific situation is a bit different.
Work doesn’t sound like it’s going well for you. If you do quit your job, you have 90 days to find another employer to sponsor your 457 visa.
But that’s not what you asked, is it?
Ah but the processing time for a 189 Visa is 3 months. So yes, if you send in your application and the same day quit your current job, cross your fingers and all the stars are aligned, you will be “ok”.
The thing is getting everything together for your application alone takes time. You need to account for this time. You are probably at a good starting place if you still have most of your info for your 457 visa application. Be sure to double check things like how long your medical exam are good for etc.
I would say go for it. Start the process of getting your application together. But…
BUT in the meantime start looking for a new employer that is willing to take over your sponsorship.
Why? Your visa could take longer than 3 months for approval and most do. In fact, I just read on LinkedIn here about someone who started her process for a 186 visa in December and didn’t actually get her visa until May. And that’s with employer sponsorship.
You will also still have an income to live off of by switching employers. That will take the stress off of the application fees and, if you need one, paying for a migration agent, not to mention things like rent and food.
Now if you don’t find an employer and your 3 months are up then the worst is you fly home and wait for the outcome of your application there.
Actually, since I’m not a migration agent and can’t not advise or know all the ins and outs of the visa process, I would get back in touch with the migration agent you talked with and ask about bridging visas. It could be that, since you have a 457 visa already, you might be able to get a bridging visa for the time between applications. That would be very handy info to have.
Whatever you decide to do, DO NOT get sacked. This is your first job in Australia and you don’t want to start your work history off with getting sacked.
Now I’m guessing you want to know if going ahead without using a migration agent is based on cost. Right now your looking at about $3,520 AUD for just the visa application if you do it yourself. Fees for a migration agent to help out with your application range from $2,000 to $4,500 according to the Department of Migration Agents for July 2014 to December 2014.
That’s on top of your visa application fee.
Ok, let me back up and see where we are at.
Yes, start the visa process on your own BUT, at the same time, start looking for a new employer to take over your visa sponsorship. A good place to start your search for a new employer is Konnecting.com, an international recruiting agency in Australia. I believe they are based in Sydney.
Second question, ah yes, how to handle your current employer.
They don’t need to know you’re applying for an 189 visa, do they? How will they know? Are they a reference in the application? Why would they care?
I don’t think that would matter to them, but I guess it depends on how bad things are at work. If they got wind of it then they might easily put two and two together.
I think that this isn’t so bad as you might think because you’re in the middle of it.
I think you would be totally ok saying something like, “I really love it here and want to stay on a more permanent basis rather than being temporary. I talked to a migration agent and it sounds like I have a good chance. So I thought I should just go for it.”
They will probably just point out that for an 186 sponsored visa you have to wait two years but to that you just reply that you know, that you did your research and you’re fine with covering the cost.
Once they realize they don’t have to pay or deal with sponsoring you, I bet that would be the end of that conversation.
Ok, this is a huge reply to your two questions.
Hope it helps.
All the best and keep in touch! I’m interested in hearing how things turn out.
UPDATE: Just got an email with an update and it’s good news so thought I should share it with you!
“Hey! Just wanted to update you–I got my permanent residency!!! Less than 3 months!
I ended up going with a migration agent but probably could’ve done it myself. I was just nervous and wanted “piece of mind”, especially with the situation I was in.
I could’ve just gone to find another sponsor, but don’t want to be in that type of situation again.
I did take the IELTS to make sure I had clear-cut points but probably didn’t need to. The 189 depends on the profession too and the ceilings on invitations.
I was SO lucky and got my invitation within a day!”
What Are Mailbox Mondays?
Every Monday I pick a question from you along with my reply straight out of my inbox to share with everyone here on Sydney Moving Guide.
I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I will do my best to point you in the right direction or help you with your research as I know there is a lot of noise out there on the interwebs and good resources are hard to find.
The main goal of Mailbox Mondays is to start conversations on topics you want to know about.
So please leave a comment, or ask a question, or share more info from your experience living in Australia in the comment section below.