Migrating on a Work Visa without an Employer

Australia’s general skilled migration program targets people who are highly skilled, are under 45 years of age, have a high level of English language ability and who will quickly make a contribution to the Australian economy. A skilled person can be allowed to stay in Australia permanently as a Permanent Resident if the conditions are met.

The following visas are available to skilled people who have an occupation listed on the Australian Department of Immigration’s Skilled Occupations List (SOL) without first needing an employer:

If you do not have a ‘skilled occupation’, there is an alternative working holiday visa program for young people which may be suitable.

Requirements – Skilled Persons Visa

To make a valid application for a skilled working visa, applicants or their spouses must be able to satisfy the following essential criteria.

  • Age – You must be under 45 years of age when you apply.
  • English language – You must have sufficient ability in the English language for working in Australia. This is known as ‘vocational English’. A higher level of English is required for certain occupations where English ability forms part of the skills assessment.  In the Skilled–Designated Area and the Skill Matching visa categories, a lower level of English may apply. You are encouraged to have your English language ability tested before you apply.
  • Qualifications – You must have post-secondary (such as university or trade) qualifications (in a small number of occupations, substantial relevant work experience may be acceptable).Your skills must have been assessed by the relevant assessing authority as suitable for your nominated occupation.
  • Nominated occupation – When you apply, you must nominate an occupation which fits your skills and qualifications. Your nominated occupation must be on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL)If your nominated occupation is not on the list you cannot apply.

Recent work experience

  • This requirement is separate to the need to have your skills assessed as suitable for your nominated occupation before you apply.
    • If your nominated occupation is worth 60 points, you must provide evidence of work experience for at least 12 of the 18 months immediately before applying
    • If your nominated occupation is worth 40 or 50 points, you must provide evidence that you have been in paid employment in an occupation on the SOL for at least 2 of the 3 years immediately before applying
    • In the Skill Matching or Skilled-Designated Area Sponsored categories, you may be eligible with less work experience
  • You do not need to meet work experience requirement if you have completed an Australian qualification less than 6 months before lodging your visa application, although condition apply.