Ways to get PR (permanent residency) in Australia

The new visa system (see blog post and this post) has brought into focus the issues around getting PR (permanent residency) in Australia. It used to be that the simplest & quickest way was via the Skilled Independent Visa 189 (points tested) system. However, recently this has become more difficult – anecdotally, we’ve heard that you need to have  75 points in order to be in with a chance of being invited to apply (GPs can get 65 / 70 points but it is hard to get more without having worked in Australia for at least a year. There is a bit of hope that it will get easier for GPs after July 1st 2018 for the new “immigration year” – there is a chance that they will allocate more invitations each month  (in the last few months it has been around 300 to 400 whereas a couple of years ago it was 7 x to 10x this number).

So, what are the alternatives? There are two further options to getting PR – both via the 186 visa: a Transitional Route and a Direct Entry Scheme

  • Transitional Route. This is available to 457 visa (the old work visa) and the new 482 visa holders. There is a minimum time you have to have worked in Australia for the employer to able to apply for you. For 457 visas granted before April 2017, the threshold is 2 years. For 457 visas since then and the new 482 visa, the threshold is three years. After you’ve worked in Australia for the requisite time, your employer can nominate you for PR. The key advantages with this method are: a) if you get your 482 visa while GPs are on the medium and long term shortage list (as they are at the moment) then, this route will be open to you – even if GPs are subsequently taken off the list (*see note below). And b) you don’t need to be a direct employee of the practice – you can be an independent contractor (the standard way in which GPs work in Australia). The disadvantages: it’s 3 years before the application can be made (for new visa holders) and you have to remain with that same employer for the whole time
  • Direct Entry Scheme. With this scheme, employers can nominate a GP at any time – there is no “time spent working” threshold. So, the application can be made as soon as you start work (or more likely just after a probationary period). The main stumbling block is that you will need to be a true employee of the practice rather than an independent contractor. Your contract will need to be for at least 2 years. We are currently talking to a few practices about offering employee contracts in order to meet the requirements.
    • N.B. you would need to start work via the 482 work visa and then the employer would submit the application for the 186 visa. It seems unlikely that it will be possible to arrange the Direct Entry scheme before you leave the UK.This is because, as part and parcel of the application, you would need to be registered with AHPRA, which itself requires registration with the RACGP. The latter requires you to start work within 6 months of registration. Although an extension might be granted to your start date (not guaranteed), it leaves you and the practice exposed to changes in the system (for example the RACGP registration process) or significant delays with immigration

So, possible routes for PR:

  • Agree a 3 year “independent contractor” contract with the employing clinic, with an agreement that they will support an application via the Transitional Route after 3 years. Start work via the 482 visa.
  • Agree an employer / employee contract with your clinic with an agreement that they will support an application via the Direct Entry route as soon as you arrive / after a probationary period in Australia. (N.B. You may need to pay for the application process). Start work via the 482 visa.
  • Apply via the points system (189 visa) when you get to Australia – you can do this instead of the options above (ie if you only accept a 2 year contract) or as well as. (If you’re successful with the points application, then you or your employer can withdraw the 186 application).

*note: We are not migration agents and we’ve published this information as an unofficial guide only, based on our understanding of the rules on visas and PR as at June 28th 2018. We cannot accept any liability if there is an error or if the immigration department changes the rules.

I decided to make the move to Australia in December 2011 to work as a GP. It had always been an ambition of mine to move out there. In all honesty though I had no idea where to start. I searched online and emailed an agency. Paul emailed me back straight away with a lot of initial information and we arranged to talk. After a long discussion with him (he was very patient as I had a LOT of questions), to cut a long story short he sent me a lot of information about available jobs and how to make the move. I basically let Paul know the jobs I was interested in and he gave me more info and set up interviews (this all happened very quickly). Anyhow after the interview (for the job I liked) I was offered the job and accepted the contract. As I discovered a little bit at a time moving to Australia can be very time consuming and difficult with all the procedures and paperwork needed. Paul also put me in touch with Monique who is based in Australia. So I now basically had 2 contacts to ask questions. As I mentioned previously I had a lot of questions. I can’t even begin to describe how helpful and easy it was to communicate with them both. If I had a question, or if there was a problem it was sorted out asap. Moving to Australia as a doctor is hard, but Paul and Monique made it so easy for me, it was just more time consuming than difficult (collecting all the paperwork). Had I tried to do this without them I would have struggled an awful lot. Not only do they help you with the medical paperwork, they will also give advice on living in Australia and also help with other things that will need to be done to facilitate the move. They will talk you through every thing that needs to be done in a manner that makes things seem straightforward!

Now I’m here, I still have contact and the little things and attention to detail, such as phone calls to see how I’m settling in is amazing. I love the place, the job and I don’t think i would be here now without their help.

I can quite honestly say this is a fantastic service and i would recommend it to anybody! They will talk you through every thing that needs to be done.
Dr Graham