Migrating to Canberra wasn’t always on the top of everyone’s list. Although Australia’s capital, Canberra has also been Australia’s most underrated city. Long maligned as a staid city without a soul, more and more people are now discovering the truth: Canberra is a fun, vibrant, family-friendly and liveable city, anchored by a strong and diversified local economy.
In fact, we’d even go so far as to officially claim that Canberra is now cool. And with the introduction of international flights in recent years, more and more people don’t want to just visit Canberra, but want to live here. After all, once you’ve visited the National Arboretum and taken a Go Boat on Lake Burley Griffin, why would you want to live anywhere else?
In this article, Dominic Cookman, Associate with Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers, discusses how to go about migrating to Canberra.

Now that I know that Canberra is great, how do I make the move?

For non-residents, one of the best pathways to living in Canberra (and starting the first day of the rest of your life) is the subclass 190 visa. This is because the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government sponsors potential migrants through this visa. The subclass 190 visa is designed for people who have the skills and attributes that Canberra needs, and who want to make Canberra their home. Securing ACT Government sponsorship provides an accelerated pathway to a permanent residency visa from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

How can I get an ACT Government sponsorship?

The ACT Government has just released its updated guidelines for assessing applications for subclass 190 visa sponsorship. Instead of a first-in, first-served system, the ACT is adopting a merit-based system. These changes are effective from 29 November 2018.
To attain ACT Government sponsorship, you must submit an expression of interest (EOI). The ACT Government will then provide you with a point score. As part of this process, you must also show that you’ve submitted a separate EOI to the DHA for the grant of the subclass 190 visa.
The ACT Government lists the occupations for which it is prepared to sponsor applicants here. It will review the occupations on the list on an ongoing basis.
You’ll be awarded points for, among other things:

  • Educational and professional qualifications
  • Demonstrated English proficiency (you must take the IELTS test)
  • Any demonstrated personal or financial ties to the ACT
  • Any previous residence or employment in the ACT
  • Whether your occupation is currently open – is the ACT Government actively looking to recruit people with your skillset?

After ranking all EOIs according to their point score, the ACT Government will issue invitations to the top scoring candidates each month.

My occupation is listed as closed – what do I do?

Even if the ACT Government has closed your occupation, you can still apply for a visa. However, applications for open occupations are awarded an extra 20 points. Nevertheless, an excellent applicant for a closed occupation may still be issued an invitation.

The ACT Government has approved my sponsorship – what do I do now?

Once the ACT Government has confirmed its sponsorship, the DHA will invite you to apply for the subclass 190 visa. Remember, though, an invitation to apply isn’t the same as being granted a visa. You must still apply to the DHA (within 60 days) to get your subclass 190 visa.

How can Snedden Hall & Gallop assist?

Snedden Hall & Gallop is an experienced leader in migration law and advice. We would be happy to assist you in your ambition to move to Canberra. Please call 02 6285 8000 or email us to arrange an initial consultation.