Frequently asked questions

PROactive + PROclients + PROresults = PROmigration

Who has the right to work in Australia ?

Current migration legislation defines work as an activity that, in Australia, normally attracts remuneration. This means that any activity that normally attracts payment, irrespective of whether you are paid or given some other kind of reward is deemed to be work.

As a general rule, only Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents – that is, migrants who are not yet Australian citizens – and certain New Zealand citizens who have entered Australia on a valid passport, have unrestricted rights to employment in Australia.

Any other foreign national who wants to work in Australia must have a temporary visa that allows employment.

What is a ‘skilled occupation’ ?

Under the General Skilled Migration program a skilled occupation is an occupation described in a Gazette Notice as a skilled occupation for which points can be awarded.


Processing times

Australia ‘s visa processing times vary by the type of visa being applied for. Factors that influence processing times include the place (country) where the visa application was made; visa processing workload at the relevant office at any given time; whether all the necessary documents have been provided; the complexity of the visa application; turnaround times for medicals and character checks.

Another variable to consider is whether the application is made onshore or offshore.

How much do visa applications cost?

The latest visa application fee schedule is available for download ( 

Note that visa application charges are subject to change. Therefore, please use this information as a guide only.

Please do not confuse

‘lodgement fee’, that is, the money payable to the Australian Government when the application is lodged


the professional fees that you will need to pay your Australian Immigration Law Consultant
for preparing your application and representing you at the Department of Home Affairs.

Health requirement for permanent visas

The health requirement is defined in Australia’s Migration Regulations.

It is set by the Department of Home Affairs on advice from the Department of Health and Ageing. It is designed to: ensure risks to public health in the Australian community are minimized; ensure public expenditure on health and community services is contained, and protect access by Australians to health and other community services.  In line with Australia’s global non-discriminatory immigration policy, the health requirement applies equally to all applicants from all countries, although the extent of testing will vary with their personal circumstances.

All family members (spouse and children and any other dependant) of an applicant for a permanent visa, even if they do not intend to migrate with the principal applicant, must be assessed against the health requirement. If a person within the family of the principal applicant, cannot meet the health requirement, the visa application must be refused under the Migration Regulations.

Health requirements for some temporary visas

People applying for visas to stay temporarily for short periods may also be required to undergo medical, and/or X-rays, if their health is of special significance to their work or lifestyle, or if there is a very high risk of tuberculosis rating in the country where they have been staying. A chest-x-ray and physical medical examination may also be required if a temporary entrant intends to go into any health-care environments (such as hospitals, nursing homes, pre-school centers) or where there are indications that the temporary entrant may not meet the health requirement. Blood tests may also be required in certain occupations or circumstances, such as hospitality or nursing.

If you apply for a temporary stay in Australia, you are required to declare your health status on your visa application form. In certain circumstances, you may be asked to provide a doctor’s report or undertake medical (including HIV/HEP B/HEP C) tests and/or radiological examination.

This may depend on whether you are:

  • likely to enter a hospital or other health care environment, including nursing homes as either a patient, visitor, trainee, or employee
  • likely to enter a classroom environment, including preschool, creche, and child care situations known or suspected of having a medical condition, regardless of your length of stay
  • intending to stay in Australia for more than 12 months, or
  • intending to stay in Australia for more than 3 months if you have recently visited or lived in a country with a very high-risk rate of tuberculosis (TB)

What is the ‘one fails, all fail’ test?

All family unit members will be assessed against the public interest criteria, and will usually also be assessed against the health criterion, which is known as the ‘one fails, all fail’ criteria. This means that if any member of the family unit fails to meet any of these criteria, no one in the family unit, including the primary applicant, can be granted the visa. A refusal of the visa on medical grounds can be reviewed in certain cases.

What is the ‘balance of family’ test?

To be eligible to apply for a parent visa (whether the ordinary one or the contributory parent visa), an applicant must pass the ‘balance of family’ test. This means that:

  • at least half of the parent’s children must live in Australia; or
  • more children must live in Australia than in any other single country


Can parents who fail the ‘balance of family test’ travel to Australia under other categories?

Parents who fail the balance of the family test may successfully apply for other visas, such as:

  • aged dependent relative visa;
  • skilled Australian-sponsored or skilled designated area sponsored visas (if they are aged under 45 and pass the points test);
  • visitor’s visa


What is a ‘nominated skilled occupation’?

A nominated skilled occupation is a skilled occupation named by a visa applicant as their current occupation for their visa application.


What is a Resident Return Visa (RRV)?

The purpose of a Resident Return Visa (RRV) is to facilitate the re-entry into Australia of non-citizen permanent residents. An RRV allows Australian permanent residents who have not applied for Australian citizenship, to travel from, and return to Australia as often as they wish within the validity of the visa, whilst maintaining their status as permanent residents.

Do I need a Resident Return Visa (RRV)?

Everybody, except Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens travelling on their New Zealand passport, must have a visa to travel to Australia.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia and intend to travel away from Australia, you should ensure that you have a visa, which is valid for re-entry, on your return to Australia. This visa can be your original permanent resident visa, or a Resident Return visa, as long as it authorizes travel to Australia on the date you return.


What happens if the passport where the RRV has expired?

If the RRV was stamped in your expired passport, you should also carry it with you while you travel. Permanent Residents should obtain their RRVs before leaving Australia, to avoid travel delays and the need to obtain an RRV through an Australian diplomatic office overseas.

What is a Bridging Visa?

A bridging visa is a temporary permit that the Department of Home Affairs grants you -if you apply for a visa while you are in Australia- to keep you lawful in this country. Please note that a bridging visa is not a substantive visa. Technically, a bridging visa is not a visa but a mere permit to remain lawfully in Australia.

If you have a current -or substantive- visa, you will not need a bridging visa. However, if your current substantive visa ceases before a decision is made on your application you will get a bridging visa. Finally, a bridging visa will also keep you lawful if your visa is refused and you seek review of the decision.

What is the meaning of condition 8503?

Condition 8503 means ‘no further stay’. If you have this condition stamped on your visa, you will not be able to apply for any further visa while you are in Australia. You can write to the Minister to seek a waiver of the 8503 condition.

The exception to this rule is: you can lodge an application for a Protection Visa.

Waivers of 8503

If you have a ‘no further stay condition’ stamped on your visa and you still require a further stay, you should send a written request for the waiver of the 8503 condition. This request needs to be lodged at any office of DIBP in Australia. A waiver of the 8503 condition is not automatic and specific requirements need to be met. The Minister for Immigration -or his delegate- decides whether a waiver is applicable or not.


Can visitors work?

Visitors are not entitled to work in Australia. Penalties apply to holders of a visitor visa who do not abide by the 8101 ‘no work’ condition and include cancellation of your visa and removal from Australia. An employer needs to check a visa holder’s work rights to ensure that they employ people who have the right to work in Australia. People who hold Australian permanent visas are entitled to work. People who hold an Australian temporary Resident visa may or may not have the right to work.

What happens if I work without permission?

If you work without having work rights you commit an offence against the Migration Act 1958. People working illegally may have their visas cancelled and be subject to immediate removal from Australia. They can also be excluded from returning to Australia for a period of up to three years, or fined up to $10,000.

What are the rights of a working holiday visa holder?

Working holidaymakers are permitted to do any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature for up to six months. If they want to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa, they should prove that they have worked in ‘regional’ Australia for a minimum of 88 days during the first year. Working in regional Australia during a minimum period of time while on the second Working Holiday Visa, allows its holder to seek a third and final year on a Working Holiday Visa.

Please note that due to COVID-19, certain exceptions apply to this particular visa.

How many hours may international students work while in Australia?

As an overseas/international student in Australia, you should have enough money to support yourself and your family for the entire time that you are studying. As a student, you have the right to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during sessions unless that work is a registered component of the course. For immigration purposes, a fortnight always starts on a Monday.


Please note that due to COVID-19, certain exceptions apply to this particular visa.

Dependants of student visa holders. Can they work?

May generally work up to 40 hours per fortnight during sessions while in Australia. Remember: students must provide evidence that they have money available for living expenses prior to the grant of their visa. Living expenses amount change periodically, so please check with the relevant embassy prior to sending your application.

Please note that due to COVID-19, certain exceptions apply to this particular visa.


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The personal information that we disclose to relevant organisations about clients, is done with our clients’ consent. No attempt will be made to disclose your personal information to any other parties unless permitted or required by law.

Information collected

Unless you specifically provide us with your details during the initial consultation, we will not collect and/or keep any personal information, including your name, unless it is part of your email address. We will retain our notes from the initial consultation for our records only.