Have you thought about following the well-trodden path of UK citizens backpacking across Australia on a UK working holiday visa Australia? Did you know that the number of Working Holiday Visas granted to UK citizens as at 30 June 2020 was by far the greatest proportion granted in that year, accounting for 22.4% of overall Working Holiday Visas granted? In fact, the most recent report in 2020 on Department of Home Affairs (the Department) statistics shows that the UK accounted for the most Working Holiday visas granted to its citizens as far back as the 2015-16 migration program year. Going back in time to the 30 June 2011 report shows the same, and these figures go back to 2006-07.

As you can see, UK citizens like to take up this opportunity!

Why A UK Working Holiday Visa To Australia?

But why, you may wonder. Why is it such a popular option, especially for UK citizens? This may be because it offers many benefits. For one, as a UK working holiday visa Australia holder, you can spend 12 months travelling around the country, seeing all the sights and sounds that this beautiful and unique nation has to offer. You can travel to any state or territory in Australia, and you can also re-enter Australia as many times as you like.

So, whether it’s the sandy deserts, sweeping landscapes, world-famous beaches and tourist landmarks, cultural experiences such as art, theatre and dining, there is no limit to what you can see or do in Australia as a Subclass 417 Working Holiday Visa holder.

You can also work in Australia to help fund your trip as you travel around the country, and you can undertake a short course of study or training too.

Getting in and amongst the locals also means you get to experience Australia in all its forms, from its people, to what it is like to work and live in Australia. It presents a great opportunity to gain a well-rounded experience of this nation, and as a bonus, you have the option to extend your stay in Australia by an additional 1-2 years, with a second- and third-year UK working holiday visa Australia (subject to meeting specified requirements).

Another benefit? Well, apart from the experience of being in Australia that it offers, it can prove beneficial if you are looking at potentially seeking a longer term temporary visa, or even to immigrate to Australia from UK with a permanent residence visa later down the track. You may wonder how it can do this?

By giving you time to fulfil the requirements that you may need to meet in order to qualify for a further visa, whether that be gaining work experience so that you can meet relevant requirements to apply for a Skilled Visa, for example. Or, to live and work in a certain state or territory so that you can meet prescribed pre-requisites to qualify for a state sponsored skilled visa. Perhaps you would like to settle in Australia permanently to live with your Australian partner. There are certain relationship criteria you must meet, one of which may require that you have lived with your partner for a specified minimum period, before you will be eligible to apply. You could use the time you have in Australia as a Working Holiday visa holder to build up the time you need to later apply for a Partner Visa.

What Other Types of UK Visas For Australia Can You Apply For?

It depends on what your purpose in travelling to Australia is. There are a myriad of options for you to choose from, whether you are looking to undertake a course of study in Australia, or work in your nominated occupation. Maybe its to live in Australia with your partner or spouse, or even to join your children in Australia on a Parent Visa.

And another aspect to consider is that for some visa types, you may also have the option to bring eligible family members with you to Australia as dependent applicants.

There is a visa to suit virtually any need. The trick is in choosing the right one to apply for, as this will not only be the most suitable one for you, based on what you would like to do in Australia, but it also means you will give yourself the greatest chance of lodging a correct application with the Department, and consequently, more likely to meet visa grant requirements and have a successful result. Having a visa refused is not a good situation to be in, because not only will you lose time and money going through a process which is ultimately unsuccessful, but you also risk losing the chance to qualify for certain visas, and consequently, you may need to adjust your original migration pathway plan to immigrate to Australia from UK if that option is no longer possible. Consider that some visas have time limits in that you must apply within a certain time of completing your course of study or holding a Student Visa, for example, as is the case when applying for a Temporary Graduate Visa.

In the worst case scenario, you could be subject to an exclusion period or even a re-entry ban to Australia in more serious cases if you make a mistake in your application.

This is why it is so crucial to have a good understanding of the migration laws, regulations and policy so that you not only apply for the most appropriate visa for you, but that you also get it right.

And another thing? You probably don’t want to hold a visa that limits you in something that you had sought to travel to Australia for. Say you want to study a degree at a university in Australia. But you incorrectly apply for a Visitor Visa. So, you may fulfil your goal of travelling to Australia, but the fact that you are subject to study restrictions as a Visitor Visa holder means you cannot do what you truly wish to do in Australia.

So the take home message here is to have a full understanding of the visa options available, which of these suit you based on your individual circumstances, and understand what the requirements are to achieve a successful outcome.

But how do you do that?

Why Seek Professional Migration Advice Before You Apply For An Australian Visa From The UK?

Migration experts are trained in migration law, which is one of the most complex areas of law in Australia. Not only is it complicated, but it is full of layers, with what may appear to be a simple requirement in fact having a more defined meaning that you need to be aware of. For example, what is the definition of work? And what is considered to be full-time work when applying for a Skilled visa?

How about a genuine visitor? What does this actually mean and how do you demonstrate this when applying for a Visitor Visa?

Added to this is the fast-changing nature of migration law. And don’t forget case law too. It is a minefield of information that requires years of study, training and experience to be on top of the current requirements in migration law.

Who Can You Turn To For Help?

Start off on the right foot by contacting PAX Migration Australia to explore your options to apply for Australian visa from UK. We know our stuff, and we know it well.

To find out more about why you should consider choosing PAX Migration Australia, comments from our clients about what they think about us, and why obtaining expert advice and assistance from a migration agent can be beneficial in achieving a positive outcome on your Australia visa for UK citizens, please see the following articles:

Selecting a migration agent in Australia

Should I use a migration agent or immigration lawyer for my application?

Migration Agent in Adelaide

Immigration Agent Adelaide

Migration Agent Australia

Best Migration Agent Adelaide

PAX Migration Adelaide

Migration Agent Elizabeth

Migration Agent Aberfoyle Park

Migration Agent Glen Osmond 

For more information on what you can expect from PAX Migration Australia when you engage our services, including the process involved, when you apply for Australian visa from UK, please see the following articles:

Migration Agent Hallett Cove 

Migration Agent Kensington Park 

Migration Agent Morphett Vale

Migration Agent Oaklands Park

Migration Agent Reynella

Migration Agent Glenelg

Migration Agent Henley Beach

Migration Agent Noarlunga

Migration Agent Semaphore

What Other UK Visas (For Australia) Can You Apply For?

There are plenty of options available. As noted above, you first need to know exactly what you are seeking to travel to Australia for.

Visitor Visa

If you would like to visit Australia for a short-term period, you may consider a Visitor Visa.

A Subclass 600 Visitor Visa is designed for people who are seeking to travel to Australia as a tourist, for business or to visit family. It is a temporary visa which may be granted for a period of up to 3, 6, or 12 months.

Or, you might consider a Subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Visa, which also permits you to visit Australia for a shorter period. It is designed for people who are seeking to travel to Australia for a holiday, to visit family or friends, or as a business visitor. You can also study or train for up to a total of 3 months on this visa.

This temporary visa is available to citizens of certain countries only, including the UK, and allows you to enter Australia on an unlimited basis for a 12-month period, with a maximum 3 month stay permitted each time you enter the country.

Alternatively, a Subclass 651 eVisitor visa is another option available to UK citizens. This visa enables you to visit Australia as many times as you like within a 12-month period, with a maximum stay of up to 3 months each time you enter Australia. It is designed for UK nationals who would like to travel to Australia as a tourist, to visit family or friends, or as a business visitor. You can also engage in study or training for up to 3 months as a subclass 651 visa holder.

Skilled Visa

If you would like to live and work in Australia, either temporarily or as a permanent resident, you may like to consider a Skilled Visa. A UK working visa Australia is based on your skills, qualifications and/or experience in a skilled occupation which is on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) for the relevant visa subclass which you intend to apply for.

There are a range of options available, from independent, state sponsored, and family sponsored to employer sponsored visas. Some are regional based. There are also temporary, provisional, and permanent options available.

Some skilled visas are points-based, for which you first need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and then be invited to apply for the relevant visa. You may also be subject to an age limit, and you may need a skills assessment.

Each also comes with its own visa conditions, which may impose limits on things like where and for whom you can work, and where you must live, work and/or study for a prescribed length of time (including any of your accompanying family members).

This is the type of detail that you need to know before you apply for any visa, as you first need to make sure that you meet the requirements and if your application is successful, you need to be aware of your visa conditions to ensure that you comply with your obligations. Failing to do so can have serious consequences, which may include the cancellation of your visa.

So, with this in mind, what UK working visa Australia options are available?

The range of skilled visa options include:

  • Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) visa;
  • Subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) visa;
  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa;
  • Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa;
  • Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa;
  • Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa.

Let us now take a closer look at these skilled visas to give you an idea of what they are about.

Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) Visa

This is a permanent points-based skilled visa for which you first need to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) (you need a minimum score of 65 points), and you can only then proceed to apply for the visa upon receipt of an invitation from the Department.

Invitations are allocated in ‘rounds’ which normally occur once every month, however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, these are run quarterly. The process for issuing invitations is a highly competitive one, based on achieving the highest score, along with a number of other factors which determine how applicants are ranked. See our article on the New Skilled Regional Visas to be introduced to learn about how EOI applicants are ranked under this process.

As the holder of a subclass 189 visa, you can live and work in Australia permanently (in any state or territory).

Subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) Visa

The subclass 190 visa is a state sponsored permanent residence visa which is also points-based; however invitations are issued throughout each month by individual states and territories. You will receive an additional 5 points on account of the nomination.

When applying for this visa, there is an added step, that being to apply for nomination approval from a state or territory government. Only upon receipt of an invitation from the relevant state or territory to which you apply can you then proceed to apply to the Department for the visa itself.

As a subclass 190 visa holder, you must commit to abide by your nominating jurisdiction’s obligations, as well as commit to living in your nominating State or Territory for two years following visa grant.

Each state and territory allocates invitations based on its own requirements, which means achieving the highest points score may not be as critical a factor as it is with the subclass 189 visa in order to receive an invitation. In allocating invitations, each state and territory set their own requirements, which may include work experience and English language criteria, which may be at a higher level or standard as compared with the minimum immigration requirement. You may also need to evidence that you have resided in the relevant jurisdiction for a certain minimum period of time.

Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa

The subclass 491 visa is a regional-based state or family sponsored visa which too is points based. It has a visa term of five years. Invitations are allocated by the Department for family sponsored EOI applications only (in invitation rounds), while state sponsored invitations are issued by individual states and territories throughout each month. You will receive an additional 15 points on account of the nomination.

A provisional visa means it provides a pathway to a permanent residence visa which, in this case, is the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, provided you meet prescribed requirements.

It is important to be aware that as a subclass 491 visa holder, you will be subject to visa condition 8579, which requires you to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia.

Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa

The subclass 482 visa is a temporary employer sponsored visa which will enable you to live and work in Australia for up to two or four years, depending on the visa stream which you apply for. In certain cases, it provides a pathway to permanent residence in Australia after three years, provided you meet specified requirements.

It consists of a short-term, medium-term and labour agreement stream (of which you must select one when applying for the visa).

It also requires approval of three applications, being a sponsorship application by your employer (a new one is required every 5 years), a nomination application for your nominated position, and a visa application.

You must be sponsored to work in a nominated occupation which is listed in the relevant Skilled Occupation List (SOL) (these vary, depending on the visa stream for which you apply).

Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Visa

Subject to meeting prescribed requirements, as a subclass 482 visa holder, you may be eligible for a subclass 186 permanent residence visa after three years (under the temporary residence transition stream). Or, alternatively, you may qualify for this visa under the direct entry or labour agreement stream.

To be granted the permanent residence visa, you must commit to remaining with your nominating employer for two years from visa grant.

Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa

The subclass 494 visa is a regional-based employer sponsored visa. It has a term of five years.

This visa provides a pathway to a permanent residence visa with the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, provided you meet prescribed requirements.

As with the subclass 491 visa, as a subclass 494 visa holder, you will be subject to visa condition 8579, which requires you to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia.

Get More Information About The Skilled Visa

Our Australian Skilled Migration Visa List article outlines the various types of skilled visas available, important points to be aware of when applying for a UK working visa Australia and links to more information if you are considering applying for Australia visa for UK citizens.

You can also learn more about state sponsored options in South Australia in our article on the South Australian State Nomination Program.

Business Visas

If you are interested in establishing and manage, investing in a business, or innovating a product or service for commercialisation in Australia, you may consider a Business Visa. To be eligible, you must be sponsored by a State or Territory Government.

Both temporary and permanent residence visa options are available for you to immigrate to Australia from UK under this programme.

Get More Information About The Business Visa

Please see our Comprehensive Guide to a Business Investment Visa article for more information about applying for a Business Visa.

You can also learn about the South Australian state sponsored Business visa options in our articles on the South Australian State Nomination Program and 188c Visa Eligibility.

Student Visa

If you would like to study in Australia, you may like to consider a Student Visa.

The Subclass 500 Student Visa is a temporary visa that can be granted for up to five years (the visa term will depend on the length of your course/s).

For more information, see our Student Visa article where we outline the eligibility requirements and how you can apply for a Student Visa.

Temporary Graduate Visa

A Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa can be a good option for recent student graduates in Australia and can form part of an overall migration visa pathway.

It is a flexible visa which allows you to live, work and study in Australia on an unrestricted basis.

The Subclass 485 visa is a temporary visa consisting of two streams, a Graduate Work stream and a Post-Study Work stream. The visa term can range from between 18 months to 4 years, depending on which stream you apply under, and your qualification.

With recently introduced changes, you may qualify for a second subclass 485 visa, and extend your stay in Australia by an additional 1-2 years (if you meet specified requirements). Please refer to our article on the Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass 485 for further information.

Get More Information About The Temporary Graduate Visa

We have prepared a series of articles to assist you in understanding how the Temporary Graduate visa application works, and the issues you need to be aware of when embarking on this type of application. Please refer to these below.

International Graduates Continue to Get Caught Out on Graduate Visa

What are different temporary graduate visa streams and how to qualify for these streams

Qualification criteria for Temporary Graduate subclass 485 visa

Occupation lists – what are they and how do they apply to graduates?

Australian Graduate Visa FAQs

Comprehensive Guide to Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 Visa

Top 5 Graduate Visa Tips AND How to spend your time on a graduate visa wisely

Most common refusal reasons for graduate visas

Family Visa

Visa options under this stream include partner, prospective marriage, child and parent visas.

Each visa is aimed for a specific purpose. With a Partner Visa, you can settle in Australia with your de facto partner or spouse. You can apply for this visa either onshore or from outside Australia.

If you are engaged to be married to your Australian partner, you might be eligible for a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa.

Learn more about the Partner and Prospective Marriage visa options in our Partner Visa Sponsor Approval article.

For information about other family visas, please refer to our article on Sponsoring a family member.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

In conclusion, we note that the above discussion provides an overview of the types of UK visas for Australia. Australia’s migrations laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice before you proceed with applying for a UK visa for Australia, as being fully informed about the process and requirements that apply will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application, and thus lessen the chance that it will be refused. A migration professional can help you to do this. Start off on the right foot by contacting PAX Migration Australia today.

For up-to-date advice on a UK visa for Australia, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.

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Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs – BR0110 – Working Holiday Maker Visa Program report – 30 June 2020


Australian Government – Department of Immigration and Citizenship – Working Holiday Maker Visa Program report – 30 June 2011