Australia's permanent Migration Program incorporates economic and family migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence. It includes the Skill stream, Family stream and Special Eligibility visas. The only other way to obtain permanent residence is on humanitarian grounds.
Skill stream visas
The Skill stream is designed for workers with the skills, qualifications and entrepreneurship most needed in the Australian economy. The Skill stream comprises four components; namely: Points Tested Skilled Migration; Employer Sponsored; Business Innovation and Investment; and Distinguished Talent.
Family and Child stream visas
The Family stream allows the permanent migration of close family members, of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. It focuses on partners and parents, but also provides the opportunity for additional family members, such as aged dependent relatives, carers, remaining relatives and orphan relatives, to join their family in Australia.
Child visas allow the permanent migration of children, of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. The Child visa comprises two categories, namely Child and Adoption visas.
Special Eligibility visas
Special Eligibility visas allow former residents and certain people who served in the Australian Defence Force to live in Australia as permanent residents.
Australia's permanent migration outcome—the Migration and Child Program, 2017—18 for more information on the size and composition of the Skill Stream, Family Stream and Special Eligibility for the 2017—18 Migration Program.
The graph below shows the change in the permanent Migration Program over the past 10 years.
Source: Department of Home Affairs