Moving to Brisbane?

Connect with fellow expats in Brisbane
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our Brisbane guides
Exchange tips about expat life in Brisbane

Brisbane, Australia: Visa Options

Settling in Brisbane, you will be able to enjoy the beach life in Queensland, the “Sunshine State”. But a move to Brisbane requires more than just a surfboard and some swimwear: The InterNations Expat Guide on moving to Brisbane provides info on the city, visa options, housing, and more.
Until you can safely pass the immigration check at Brisbane Airport, you need to put some effort into your visa application.
Since Australia offers various options for immigrants from overseas, you can choose between different visa types if you’d like to move to Brisbane. However, the exact visa you have to apply for depends on your reasons for moving to Brisbane and the planned duration of your stay.

The most typical choice of visa for expatriates sent to Brisbane on an intra-company transfer or taking up temporary employment with an Australian company is the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (457)This kind of visa is usually valid for up to four years. A successful visa application requires a confirmed job offer from a company based in Australia.

Migrant Visa Categories

If you are planning to settle in Brisbane permanently, you can try for the Skilled Independent Visa (189). It gives you the right to stay in Australia for as long as you want, to live anywhere you like, and to take up any kind of work. To obtain such a visa, you usually have to achieve a certain minimum score in a points test. Points are distributed according to whether you have an occupation currently in demand, your professional experience, your age, your English language skills, and other factors.

In case that your occupation is not on the list that would qualify you for the Skilled Independent Visa, there is always the  Skilled Nominated Visa (190) or the  Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (489) as a potential alternative. The government of a specific state or territory sponsors 190 visa applicants, mainly because their professional skills are needed in that particular area, for example in Queensland. Immigrants can obtain a permanent visa for Australia in this way.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa, though, is only temporary at first. Moreover, it obliges you to live and work in a specific region for a certain minimum period. After that, you may be able to apply for a permanent visa if you want to stay.

Please note, though, that the Immigration Department introduced some major changes to the Skilled Migration program. As of 1 July 2012 onwards, people wishing to apply for such an occupation-based visa must not only pass the points test and prove their English language proficiency. They also have to enter their data into the SkillSelect database.

Potential immigrants may only apply for a migration visa if the Australian government explicitly invites them to do so. These invitations are issued on the basis of an annual quota system that includes the people with the highest scores in their field of employment.

Visa Options for Business People in Brisbane

There are also visa subclasses specifically tailored to the needs of business people that prefer to start as their own boss in Brisbane rather than work as an employee.

There are several visa categories for business owners who’d like to establish their own company, executives interested in managing an existing one, or investors who want to make a financial commitment to the Australian economy. It is the options of the  Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (188) stream you should look into. However, all these options are provisional (i.e. temporary) visas. After a minimum of two years, you may apply to turn this into a permanent one.

In addition to these temporary business visas, there are also permanent visas catering to the needs of business people who’d like to settle in Brisbane. Please check out the Business Talent Permanent Visa (132). They apply to affluent business owners and investors, as well as entrepreneurs planning to found a start-up with venture capital from Australia.

Business people wanting to settle in Brisbane have to apply via the SkillSelect system, too.

Further Information on Your Visa for Australia

For additional details about any of these visas (e.g. exact requirements, supporting documents, visa fees), please contact your nearest Australian diplomatic mission or the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The DIAC website also offers you a visa finder that determines the visa category you or your family members need.

Once you have chosen the appropriate option, you will find in-depth information on the purpose of this visa, its validity period, your rights as a visa holder (e.g. access to government healthcare), conditions for eligibility, your obligations, and the application process. As soon as you have cut through the red tape, your future move to Brisbane is guaranteed.



We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Benoit Julien

"Before moving to Brisbane I contacted 5 members of their InterNations community. Today 3 of them are my friends."

Gabriela Jaquez

"As a traveling spouse it was not always easy to meet interesting people abroad. On InterNations I have many of them here in Brisbane in no time."

Global Expat Guide