I get heaps of questions about Australian Visas every day. I’m always very reluctant to answer these questions because I’m not a registered migration agent and, in Australia, it is illegal for me to give advice about the visa process and applying. There is a very good reason for this.

As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, during at least one of your many Google searches, there is a lot of bad advice out there on the interwebs.

This is one of the reasons I’m so excited to have True Blue Migration as a partner to help with visa questions like this one.

This post tackles changing from a Tourist Visa, Working Holiday Visa or Student Visa to a 457 Skilled Migration Visa.

Switching from an Australian Tourist Visa (600), a Working Holiday Visa (417 visa) and a Student Visa (571,572,573) to an Australia General Skilled Migration Visa (457 Visa) can sometimes be a bit of a contentious issue. Below, is some information that will hopefully clear up some of those grey areas.

Some Background Information on Australia’s General Skilled Migration

The General SKilled Migration caseload processing times have substantially increased recently and unfortunately, there is uncertainty on when these applications will be finalised. To make matters more difficult, I am sure many of you also have partners and families outside Australia who are not included in your application.

Due to the increase in processing times, there are growing numbers of people who would like to leave Australia, or have their partner or other family members join them over here, while awaiting the outcome of their application.

If you are onshore and have applied for a 457 visa and wish to leave Australia to await the decision of your application, you need to be be aware about your eligibility for a Bridging B visa (BVB) option (if appropriate) and that the department will facilitate your return on a Tourist stream visa if there is a strong chance you will be granted the GSM visa.

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People outside Australia awaiting grant of General Skilled Migration visa in Australia

If you have left Australia after applying for a GSM visa, you might seek a Tourist visa to re-enter, if you do not hold a valid Bridging Visa B.

Currently, Department of Immigration and Border Protection supports the facilitation of entry on Tourist visas for GSM applicants who have been assessed as meeting the GSM criteria and advised that the visa will be granted on re-entering Australia.

However, if you have applied for a GSM visa outside Australia and you have not been advised that your GSM visa will be granted, you may not be granted the Tourist (600) visa. This is because DIBP believes that allowing you to re-enter Australia, raises your expectations that the GSM visa will be granted and may lead you to overstaying your visa, without holding a substantive visa, which can have ramifications on future visa applications.

Subclass 600 – Australian Tourist Visa

Some of you may come to Australia wanting to start work or seek long-term employment opportunities on a Tourist visa, while some of you may be merely planning to, for example, arrange accommodation, before starting work following the grant of your 457.

Keep in mind however, that Australian migration policy does not support the grant of a visitor visa in these circumstances, and there is a risk of refusal given that:

  • applicants coming to Australia to await the assessment of another visa will generally not meet the ‘genuine temporary stay’ requirement – the primary criterion for grant of a visitor visa;
  • beginning work with the 457 sponsor would be a breach of visitor visa condition 8101 (must not engage in work in Australia);
  • in most cases, the health check element of the 457 visa application would not have been assessed and
  • expectations might arise that your 457 visa will be granted.
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Australian Working Holiday Visas

In the situation you want to extend your stay in Australia after your working holiday, (for example, applying for a GSM or Partner visa) you may still be considered to be a genuine visitor for the purpose of a Working Holiday Visa application.

Keep in mind however that WHV comes with condition 8547 which states that you must not be employed by any 1 employer for more than 6 months. The Department will investigate whether or not you breached any conditions on your previous visa before granting you a 457, so do be wary of the 6 month limit with the same employer. However, you can request permission to continue working for the employer beyond the six months, once the 457 has been lodged.

If you have breached condition 8547 you will need to go offshore to apply for a 457 as you will have breached the conditions associated with the WHV.

Student Visas

Student visa holders who wish to apply for GSM

If you are a student visa holder who:

  • applies for a Tourist visa for tourism purposes after you have completed your studies but
  • are intending to later apply for a GSM visa

You should be aware that:

  • if granted, the Tourism visa will be subject to condition 8101 (that is, no work, not the 8105 work limitation that is imposed on most Student visas) which is mandatory on all Tourist visas; and
  • you will only have 6 months following the completion of your studies to apply for a GSM visa.

Condition 8503

8503- (no further stay, that is you cannot apply for another visa in Australia, unless it is a protection visa, while onshore) is mandatory for Tourist visas, yet is a discretionary condition for WHV applicants. However, if this condition is imposed on your visa, keep in mind that it carries over to every subsequent visa you apply for, even a 457.

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In some cases, you or your employer may seek a ‘waiver’ of the 8503 no further stay condition, however, it is extremely difficult to prove compassionate and compelling circumstances.

If your Tourist or WHV visa does have an 8503 condition attached to it, you do have the option to apply offshore for your next visa, such as a 457, and in this way, avoid this condition.

If you have any further questions in regards to the above, or any other immigration matters, please do not hesitate to contact True Blue Migration.