Australia has a migration program which it follows under the name of The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). This organisation is responsible for screening and issuing all visas to enter Australia. The DIAC accepts 170,000 permanent migration applications annually for family and skilled migration programs as well as 500,000 under student visa scheme and 250,000 under temporary entry to Australia. There are more than three million annual visas issued for visiting Australia and about 14,000 visas are granted annually for humanitarian aid programs.
There is a budget of about 200,000 visas issued for permanent residency but this can be adjusted or tuned by the minister concerned as per the skill requirements, citizen sentiments and other political circumstances. The DIAC manages 149 subclasses of visa out of which 25 of the subclasses constitute for about 97% of all issued visas. These subclasses belong to worker, family, visitor, student and humanitarian visas and are also reclassified further into temporary and permanent and onshore and offshore visas.
Worker: These are employer sponsored visas that are issued for purposes of working in Australia. These are further classified into temporary and permanent as well as onshore and offshore. This visa includes entrants from fields such as religious, sports, diplomatic, entertainment and academic.
Family: This visa application constitutes the second major category of migrants and adds to about a third of all permanent residencies each year. There are almost 45,000 visas granted annually under this program to spouses and dependants of existing visa holders.
Visitor: This is the single largest set of visas approved by the DIAC. This is granted to nationals interested in vising and sightseeing Australia for a short term. However, this program also has a unique element whereby the DIAC also grants ‘working holiday visas’ and ‘work and holiday visas’ which allow the visitors permission to work and earn in the country while holidaying.
Student: This is granted to foreign nationals who wish to study in Australia at an accredited university. Any internationals student looking to pursue a course in primary or secondary education, English language intensive courses for overseas students (ELICOS), vocational trainings and traditional higher education are eligible for this visa. Post the completion of studies, these are also eligible for employer sponsored work visas.