Australian Immigration Glossary

Australian immigration glossary

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australia immigration glossaryYou could read for hours and still not make much sense of the ins and outs of immigrating to Australia.

The many specialist terms and phrases especially get confusing really quickly. ANZSCO, de facto, SkillSelect…The list goes on!

That’s why we wanted to help out today with an Australian immigration glossary. You’ll find the most common, and pertinent, immigration concepts on here as well as their definitions.

If you need further clarification on any term or phrase, or have any other immigration questions, you’re welcome to contact us to speak to one of our agents.

Your Australia immigration glossary

Aged parent

A person who is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension.


Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations as published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


The person (or persons) applying to migrate to Australia.

Australian Migration Program

The Australian Migration Program is the program under which people with skills in demand in Australia are invited to move to Australia permanently. The Program runs from 1 July to 30 June each year.


Biometrics is a means of identifying and authenticating a person through features of that person’s body. Examples include:

  • Fingerprints.
  • Face structure (photos).

Certified copy

Copy of a document authorised, or stamped as being a true copy of the original, by a person or agency recognised by the law of the applicant’s home country.


Your child is your:

  • Biological child.
  • Stepchild.
  • Adopted child.

Close relative

Your spouse, children, parents and siblings as well as stepchildren, parents and siblings.

De facto

Not legally married, but in a spouse-like or spouse-equivalent relationship. Some people refer to these partners as a ‘common law spouses’. Additionally:

  • You are committed to a shared life excluding all others.
  • Your relationship is genuine and continuing.
  • You live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.
  • You are not related by family.


Someone who has wholly or substantially relied on mostly one family member for financial support to meet their basic needs, or someone who has wholly or substantially relied on a family member for a significant period of time for financial support because they can’t work due to a mental or physical disability.

Dependent child

A natural, adopted, or stepchild who has not turned 18 years of age. Such a child is:

  • Not married, engaged or in a de facto relationship; and
  • Wholly or substantially reliant on you for their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

To apply for a visa as a dependent child aged 18 years or older, the child must be:

  • Dependent on you more than any other person for their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, or
  • Unable to work to support themselves because they have a disability that totally or partially affects their bodily or mental functions.


The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which was a department of the Government of Australia that was responsible for immigration, citizenship and border control. The DIBP has now been subsumed into the Department of Home Affairs, which combines it responsibilities with a number of other portfolios.

Eligible New Zealand citizen

An eligible New Zealand citizen (ENZ) is a person who:

  • Holds an Australian permanent residence visa; or
  • Is defined as a protected SCV holder under the Social Security Act 1991.


Your employer is the person or organization that pays you to work for them.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

An Expression of Interest, commonly abbreviated to EOI, is the way you are able to show your interest in applying for a skilled visa to migrate to Australia.

Fiancée relationship

A relationship where a couple is engaged to be married.

Immediate family

Your spouse and dependent children.


The International English Language Testing System, which is used to assess your English language ability.


Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority. You can check on MARA’s website to see if an immigration agent is licensed and registered.

Members of the family unit

For visa purposes, the following people are recognized as the man applicant’s family unit:

  • Spouses and de facto partners.
  • The main applicant’s children, or their partner’s children, who are not engaged, married or in a de facto relationship, and who are:
    • Under the age of 18; or18 to 23 years of age and dependent on the main applicant or the main applicant’s partner; or
    • 23 years or older and dependent on the main applicant or the main applicant’s partner due to a partial or total physical or mental disability.
  • The dependent children of the main applicant or their partner.

Near relative

When applying for Remaining Relative Visas, near relatives are defined as:

  • Your parents or stepparents.
  • Your partner’s parents or stepparents.
  • Siblings or step-siblings.
  • Children or stepchildren who are 18 years or older and who are not dependent on you.
  • Children or stepchildren who are under the age of 18 and not in your or your partner’s daily care.


Partner refers to married and de facto spouses, fiancees, and interdependent partners.

Permanent resident

This refers to a person who holds an Australian permanent visa and is usually a resident in Australia. Generally, permanent residents can live, work and study with much fewer restrictions than temporary visa holders.

Permanent visa

A visa permitting a person to remain indefinitely in Australia.

Points test

For many of the skilled categories, you must complete a points test and score at least a minimum points score in order to continue with your visa application.

Provisional visa

A temporary visa allowing a person to enter and remain in Australia until a decision is made on the permanent visa application.

Qualifying business

A qualifying business is one that is:

  • Operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of goods, services or goods and services the public; and
  • Not operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.


A relative is your:

  • Partner, child, parent, brother, sister, stepchild, stepparent, stepbrother or stepsister.
  • Grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or step equivalent.


Australia will consider you ‘settled’ if you:

  • Have lived legally in Australia for reasonable period, usually at least 2 years; and
  • Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.


Your sibling is someone who has at least one parent in common with you.

Skilled migration

Skilled migration to Australia is one of the most common ways to obtain a visa for Australia. It allows for applicants to obtain a work visa on the grounds of:

  • A job offer (sponsorship) from an Australian Employer.
  • A particular state or territory wishing to nominate an individual.
  • A family member being able to act as the immigrant’s sponsor.
  • An individual who may have studied in Australia and now wishes to work there.
  • The applicant having sufficient points to make an independent application (without nomination, sponsorship or relevant studies).

Skilled Occupations List (SOL)

If you are intending to apply under any skilled migrant visa, you must have a nominated occupation which is on the SOL at the time you apply.


SkillSelect is an online service which helps Australia to manage its skilled migration programme. The primary goal is to make sure that the skilled migration programme focuses on and is fully based on the economic needs of Australia.


For some categories you must have a sponsor. This is an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen who is prepared to sponsor your application and who undertakes to assist the application, to the extent necessary, financially and in relation to accommodation for a period of 2 years.


A spouse is your husband or wife where you’re married to each other under a marriage that is valid for the purposes of Australia’s Migration Act. It is also required that you:

  • Have a mutual commitment to a shared life excluding all others.
  • Have a genuine and continuing relationship.
  • Live together or don’t live separately and apart on a permanent basis.


A stepchild is the child of your current or former partner. If the stepchild is the child of your former partner, the child must be under the age of 18 and you must have either:

  • An Australian parenting order that is in force, saying that you are to live with the child and look after them.
  • Legal guardianship or custody of the child.

Subsequent entrant

Some visas allow your eligible family members to apply to join you in Australia as subsequent entrants after you’ve been granted your visa.

Temporary resident

Australia’s temporary residence policy facilitates the entry, on a temporary basis, of people who can contribute to the economic, cultural and social development of the Australian community.

Temporary residence visas allow people to live and work in Australia for a limited time. Initial stay in Australia is generally for more than 3 months but not more than 4 years.


Permission to travel to, enter and remain in Australia for a period of time or indefinitely.


To work is to perform an activity in Australia in exchange for remuneration. This could be payment or some other form or reward.



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