Crikey! SA visa enquiries to Oz have more than doubled, mate

The number of South Africans inquiring about Australian visas has more than doubled in the past two years, and as immigrants flock to the country, applicants are finding it much harder to qualify for a visa, says Sable International's Australian immigration expert, Sam Hopwood. Here are the five types of Visas that South Africans or South African businesses can qualify for.

1. Business Innovation Visas

If you're a business owner in SA and if you're under the age of 55, the business innovation visa is a good option for you, according to Hopwood.

You'll need to demonstrate that your business in SA has a turnover of at least AUD500 000 and that you or you and your partner combined have net assets of at least AUD800 000. This will eventually give you a visa which will allow you to come to Australia to either establish a new business or buy into a business. The visas are temporary visas, so you are a temporary resident of Australia for the first four years.

You can convert that visa to a permanent residency visa after your business has qualified and has hit certain thresholds in terms of turnover and has a certain number of Australian employees within the business.
2. Skilled Visas

The most common or traditional route of migration into Australia for South African citizens is when you're skilled in a particular occupation which is on Australia's medium to long term skilled lists. Those types of occupations are, for example, accountants, secondary school teachers, IT specialists, trades and engineers.
"Civil engineers and construction project managers are really hot occupations at the moment in Australia. There are a lot of civil works happening in Australia, a lot of construction projects. We're building a lot of roads and rails, so engineers are in really high demand," says Hopwood.

"If you're working in an occupation which is considered to be high in demand and if you're under the age of 45, then you might qualify for a skilled visa."
3. Spousal Visas

For South Africans in relationships with Australians, there are a number of Australian Partner Visas available. They are divided into various subclasses and classification is dependent on whether the visa is temporary or permanent as well as where the application is made.

4. Parental Visas

Australia offers a number of parent visas that enable immigrant children to bring their parents over to live in the country permanently. There are a number of criteria that have to be met, but according to Hopwood, the most important criteria of the parent category visa is the "balance of family test".

This states that the parent, who is still living in South Africa, must have at least 50% of his or her offspring living in Australia and they must be permanent residents or citizens of Australia.

5. Student Visas

Hopwood says there are very few options for young South Africans wanting to go and work in Australia.

Australia has reciprocal Working Holiday Visas agreements with a number of different countries, but South Africa does not make the list. Student Visas are available, but the upfront costs for international students are prohibitive, starting at $20 000 per year.

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