Australia is a popular travel destination for South Africans, whether for vacationing or on a more permanent basis.
The political uncertainty of recent years saw a bit of a spike in the country’s citizens seeking to settle elsewhere, with the land Down Under getting a decent chunk of Saffers moving to its shores.
Most recently, one of former President Jacob Zuma’s bloodiest cabinet reshuffles saw Australian visa requests from South African surge by up to three times, following the axing of Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan from his previous post as Finance Minister.
Interest in emigrating to the land Down Under has not waned significantly, despite its Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull scraping the 457 Visa allowing skilled foreigners to live and work in the country. This was in an effort to further prioritise Australians in the job market.
The recently passed motion by Parliament to amend Section 25 of the Constitution in order to fast track he process of land expropriation without compensation has spooked some South Africans into seeking to settle elsewhere, with Aussie politician, Peter Dutton rather controversially proposing that SA farmers be met half way in prioritising their visa applications.
This suggestion was widely lambasted in South Africa, but received support from Dutton’s fellow MPs, who proposed a “special intake” of up to 10 000 “refugees” to join the booming community of expats Down Under.
According to Business Tech, of approximately 100 000 South Africans who emigrated in the ten years between 2006 and 2016, about 26% of them opted to settle in Australia, followed by the United Kingdom with 25%, then the United States with about 13%.
In terms of raw data, as many as 178 700 South Africans were living in Australia in total. This is as of 2016, and is unsurprising as Australia ranks among the top 10 cheapest countries for Saffers to buy citizenship in.
Do you need a visa to travel to Australia?
The South African passport gets you to a total of 100 countries visa-free, but unfortunately, Australia is not one of them. This of course, is unless you’re a New Zealand or Australian resident or citizen.
This means that a visitor visa is necessary for those vacationing in the land Down Under on a South African passport, also known as “the green mamba”.
For those travelling purely for pleasure, and not business or medical treatment, thereis an option called the “tourist stream” which, according to travel website, SouthAfrica.to, is not without a complication or two:
“A complication which is unique to trying to get a visa to Australia, is that South Africans applying for the visa first have to create an account on the Australian Government’s website to submit forms and documents, before they have to create another account on TLSContact’s website to set up an in-person appointment.”
Typically, the maximum stay granted ranges from three to six months but, in exceptional circumstances, this period can be extended to up to 12 months.
Business Innovation and Investment Visa
There are other options besides the Tourist Stream of course, such as the Business Innovation and Investment Visa, which allows one to own and manage a business, as well as undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia.
This one is particularly designed for applicants who have been “nominated by a state, territory government or Australian agency with an invitation to apply by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection”.
The visa has four streams, such as the “Business Innovation Stream”, which requires the following from applicants;
Be under the age of 55.
Be nominated by a state, territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian government
Have an invitation to apply for the Visa
Meet all health and character requirements must be met
Have a minimum score of 65 on the points test
For 2 out of 5 fiscal years before the invitation to apply, investor must have had at least AUD500 000 (R4.7 million) turnover in a business of a minimum for two out of four fiscal years before the invitation to apply
Have a successful business career
Have a desire to continuously own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia
At the time of invitation, investor must have total net business and personal asserts of at least AUD800 000 (R7.5 million).
There is also the Investor Stream, which has similar requirements to the Business Stream, as well as a few more additions to its qualifying criteria, which are as follows;
Have a minimum score of 65 points
Before the invitation to apply, for at least 1 of the 5 fiscal years, the investor must have either managed eligible investments of at least AUD1.5 million (R14 million) or a qualifying business with at least 10% ownership interest.
Applicants are also required to also have personal assets worth AUD2.25 million (R21 million), and should also intend to spend a minimum of two years in the state one has made an investment in.
How do you apply for an Australian visa?
To apply, you must be outside Australia and hold a passport from one of a select countries, which include South Africa.
The application process includes the following assessments:
English language competency test.
Skills assessment – this is conducted by an independent industry regulator and not by the Australian government. In some cases the assessors travel to South Africa regularly for the skills assessment
Points test which is based on qualification, age and money available
Expression of interest (skills selection)
Pool of applications – applicants that score the most points, which are occupations in the highest demand are selected
Invitation to apply – the applicant has 60 days to submit a visa application
How much does an Australian visa cost?
Costs differ depending on the type of visa one is applying for and the length of the stay.
A tourist visa will cost about R1 300 for a three month holiday, while a working holiday visa costs up to R4 300.
Student visas vary, but will set you back an amount in the region of R5 400, while a temporary work visa costs between R2 700 and R10 000 for short stay specialists and skilled workers.
For those looking for a more permanent stay via partner migration, they should be prepared to fork out something in the region of R67 000.