Individuals and Travellers

Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403)

Features

This visa allows you to come to Australia on a temporary basis:

  • in relation to a bilateral agreement (Government Agreement stream)
  • to represent a foreign government or to teach a foreign language in an Australian school (Foreign Government Agency stream)
  • to do domestic work for a diplomat (Domestic Worker stream)
  • as a person with statutory privileges and immunities (Privileges and Immunities stream)
  • to participate in the program of seasonal work (Seasonal Worker Program stream).

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if:

  • you meet the requirements for one of the streams within this visa.

About this visa

​The Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) allows you to come to Australia under one of five streams:

  • Government Agreement stream: to come to Australia under the terms and conditions of a bilateral agreement between the Australian Government or an Australian state or territory government and the government of another country
  • Foreign Government Agency stream: for a representative of a foreign government who will not be given official status in Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), or a person who is to be employed as a foreign language teacher by a foreign government in an Australian school
  • Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream: to do domestic work in the household of someone who holds a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995)
  • Privileges and Immunities stream: for a person with privileges and immunities under the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 or the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1995
  • Seasonal Worker Program stream: to come to Australia to work as a seasonal labourer in selected industries for Australian employers who cannot source local labour You must be invited by an approved Temporary Activities sponsor to participate in the Seasonal Worker Program. This program is limited to selected countries only.

This is a temporary visa.

Applying in Australia: If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted.

Applying outside Australia: If you a​​pply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when your visa is granted.

Note: The Seasonal Worker Program stream visa can only be applied for and granted outside Australia.

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter Australia temporarily
  • do the work or activity specified in your visa application
  • enter and leave Australia while your visa is valid.

Before you apply

This visa is not for representatives of foreign governments or foreign government agencies who are accredited by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), such as diplomats, United Nations agency executives and consular officials.

Your passport

If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. In most cases, you and your family members must have valid passports to be granted this visa.

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

You might not need to pay the visa application charge if any of the following apply:

  • you hold a valid diplomatic, official or service passport and have a Third Person Note from your government
  • you have been accorded, or expect to be accorded, privileges and immunities and be recommended by the Foreign Minister for the grant of a visa
  • you are in a class of persons specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument, such as a Fulbright scholar coming to Australia as part of your scholarship.

You must provide evidence to show that your application is exempt from the application charge.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • have a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia
  • have adequate financial support for you and your family while you are in Australia
  • have adequate arrangements for health insurance for you and your family while you are in Australia
  • meet health and character requirements
  • meet the requirements of the stream in which you are applying for the visa
  • if you are in Australia when you apply for the visa, you must hold a qualifying visa.

Financial support

  • Evidence of your financial capacity to support yourself and your family while you are in Australia, such as:
    • bank statements
    • a letter from your financial institution stating your financial position
    • employment contracts
    • documents showing allowances, accommodation and stipends from your sponsor while you are in Australia.

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The health examinations you need will depend on your personal circumstances, including your period of stay, country of citizenship, time spent in another country during the last five years and your intended activities in Australia. The results of your health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.

Applying in Australia

Contact Bupa Medical Visa Services to arrange your health check. Tell them you are applying for this visa and ask for a reference number. Keep a copy of the reference number and provide it with your application. If you live in a regional area, contact Bupa Medical Visa Services for the details of a local doctor who is approved to do the required examination.​​

Applying outside Australia

Medical examinations conducted outside Australia are only acceptable if conducted by a member of the Australian panel. For public list of panel clinics outside Australia refer to Immigration Panel Physicians.

Health insurance

You are responsible for all your health costs while you are in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

You must have adequate health insurance unless you are covered by Medicare. You should ensure that your insurance will provide at least the level of coverage required for the purpose of your stay. Your health insurer could be in either Australia or your home country.

Attachment A in the health insurance standard template letter (138 kB RTF) is a guide to the level of health insurance we will accept as adequate.

This applies to you and any dependent family members listed in the application.

If you are not entitled to Medicare benefits, you can ask for an exemption from Australia’s Medicare levy in your end-of-year tax return.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. If you are applying for a stay in Australia of longer than 12 months, you must provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age.

This also applies to all dependent family members in the application who are 16 years of age or older.

You must provide a certified English translation with all documents that are not in English.

Debts to the Australian Government

You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted.

This applies to you and any dependent family members in your application who are 18 years of age or older.

Provide biometrics

You might be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of the application. Countries and visa subclasses included in the biometrics program has more information.

Government Agreement stream

To apply for this visa in the Government Agreement stream, you must:

  • be engaged in Australia under a bilateral agreement between Australia and another country
  • provide evidence that you meet the terms and conditions of the agreement and that your stay in Australia has the support of both the Australian signatory and the foreign signatory to the agreement
  • provide evidence that the Australian signatory is satisfied that you will be employed or engaged in accordance with Australian labour laws and practices, unless that requirement is stated in the agreement
  • comply with all necessary licensing or registration requirements associated with your employment or engagement
  • have evidence from either the Australian or the foreign signatory indicating how long the position lasts.

If the foreign signatory is not the national government of the relevant foreign country, you could be asked to provide evidence that the national government of that country does not oppose your stay in Australia.

If family members are coming to Australia with you, the bilateral agreement must allow them to enter Australia, the Australian signatory must agree to their stay in Australia, and your family members must meet the requirements of any terms and conditions of the relevant agreement that apply to them.

We might ask you for a copy of the government agreement after you apply. The agreement must be written in English.

Foreign Government Agency stream

To apply for this visa in the Foreign Government Agency stream, you must be either:

  • a representative of a foreign government agency who will not be given official status in Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and have a letter of support from your government ministry or agency naming you as a foreign government agency representative
  • a foreign language teacher who will be employed by a foreign government in an Australian school, have a letter of support from your government ministry or agency naming you as a foreign language teacher, and have a letter of support from the Australian school.

You must provide a statement as evidence that your employment in Australia will benefit Australia (the statement can be part of the statement of support from your government ministry or agency).

Letter of support

If you are applying as a foreign government employee, you must provide a letter of support from your government ministry or agency detailing support for your visa application. If you are applying in Australia, the letter can be provided by your embassy or consulate in Australia.

The letter of support must confirm:

  • the job title and or duties you will undertake in Australia
  • support for your visa application
  • your period of stay
  • that you will be representing your government or agency.

If you are applying as a foreign language teacher, you must provide:

  • a statement from the Australian school or educational authority supporting your intention to work in an Australian school
  • a letter from your government's foreign ministry or relevant government agency supporting your intention to work as an employee of that government in Australia (if you are applying in Australia, the statement can be provided by your embassy or consulate in Australia).

Benefit to Australia

You must provide a statement as evidence that your employment in Australia will benefit Australia. The statement can be part of the statement of support from your government ministry or agency. It must include reasons why it is necessary to employ you. It must also establish that your employment will not disadvantage Australian residents and will contribute to at least one of the following:

  • the expansion of local business and export activity
  • the generation of employment
  • the promotion and maintenance of good international trade relations
  • the introduction and transfer of new skills and technology
  • improved employment and training opportunities for Australians.

Domestic Worker stream

To apply for this visa in the Domestic Worker stream, you must:

  • be outside Australia when lodging your initial application for Domestic Worker stream. When you apply for subsequent Domestic Worker visas you can be in Australia or outside Australia at time of lodgement.
  • have turned 18 years of age, if you are applying from outside of Australia 
  • intend to perform full-time domestic duties exclusively in the household of an eligible holder of a Diplomatic visa (subclass 995) in Australia
  • have an employment contract in accordance with Australian workplace conditions, as well as applicable state and territory legislation
  • undergo an interview with the Department
  • have the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Privileges and Immunities stream

To apply for this visa in the Privileges and Immunities stream, you must:

  • be a person to whom privileges and immunities will be accorded under the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 or the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1995
  • have a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommending that you should be granted the visa.

Seasonal Worker Program stream

To apply for this visa in the Seasonal Worker Program stream, you must:

  • be outside Australia
  • have been invited to participate in the program by a temporary activities sponsor
  • be a citizen of and resident in Timor-Leste, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu or Vanuatu
  • at least 21 years of age
  • intend to enter Australia temporarily for seasonal work and return to your home country after your employment ceases.  

Including family in your application

You can bring dependent family members with you to Australia only if you apply for this visa under one of the following streams:

  • Government Agreement stream, if:
    • they are listed in the agreement and in the letter of support from the relevant supporting agency
    • the Australian signatory agrees to their stay in Australia
    • they comply with all the terms and conditions listed in the agreement that apply to them.
  • Foreign Government Agency stream
  • Privileges and Immunities stream.

Dependent family members include:

  • your partner (married or de facto)
  • your or your partner’s dependent children
  • other dependent relatives who live with you.


If you add a dependent child to your application, that child must meet the requirements for including family members in your application. The application needs to include documentary evidence of the child's relationship to you.​​

Your family members must apply separately if you do not include them in your application for this visa.

You cannot bring your family if you apply under the Domestic Worker stream or the Seasonal Worker Program stream.

If you hold a Government Agreement visa (subclass 406) or a Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415) and you did not include your family members in your visa application, they can apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) to join you in Australia as your family member.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted. If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the visa is granted.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge your application

You can apply for this visa online or lodge a paper application.

You must provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge when you apply.

If you do not provide the documents requested, your visa application could be refused.
Note: Online application has faster processing time frame than paper application. This is due to additional procedures required when processing paper applications.

Apply online

After you have gathered and scanned the documents that support your application, create an account and apply using our online application system – ImmiAccount.

Lodge paper application

You can also apply for this visa using the following form:

In Australia:

If you are in Australia, lodge your paper application at one of our offices in Australia.

Outside Australia:

Paper application must be lodged at one of the Immigration offices outside Australia.

More information

There is more information to help you prepare your application, such as certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.​​

Track and manage your online application

A Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is a unique number assigned to each online application. You will need this to:

  • track and manage your application
  • identify your application when you communicate with us
  • check your visa entitlements.

You can use your ImmiAccount to:

  • continue a saved application​
  • attach documents
  • update passport details
  • change email and address details
  • check progress of your application.

After you have applied

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing times for each visa.

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, if your application is incomplete or if you lodged a paper application.


Outside Australia:
If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa.

In Australia:
If you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be able to get a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for Bridging visa B (BVB) to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application.

Online applications

Any additional documentation you need to submit should be uploaded into ImmiAccount. If you provide your documents through any other channel, it will result in processing delays.

Paper applications

If you want to correct information you provided, use:

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in your circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

You can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.

For applications lodged online, report any changes in circumstances using ImmiAccount.

Withdrawing your application

​You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it.

If you lodged a paper application, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include your file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

​​​All applicants 18 years of age or older who want to withdraw, must sign the request for withdrawal.​​​​​​

Applications lodged online can be withdrawn using ImmiAccount.

Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.​

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:

  • why the visa was refused
  • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
  • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Document checklist

You need to provide documents to support your application for this visa. We can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge your application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

Provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Police certificates should be original documents. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

Use this checklist to make sure your application is complete.

Complete this checklist and attach it, with your documents, to the front of your application when you lodge it.

Forms (if lodging a paper application)

  • Form 1403Application for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (393 kB PDF).
  • For anyone included in the application who is 18 years of age or older and is not your partner:
    • undefined document entitled: 'Form 47a'Form 47a Details of child or other dependent family member aged 18 years or over (238 kB PDF).

Note: Domestic Worker and Seasonal Worker Program stream applicants are unable to bring their family members to Australia as part of this visa. Therefore Form 47a and Form 80 are not required.

Receiving assistance (if lodging a paper application)

Charges

Financial support

  • Evidence of your financial capacity to support yourself and your family while you are in Australia, such as:
    • bank statements
    • a letter from your financial institution stating your financial position
    • employment contracts
    • documents showing allowances, accommodation and stipends from your sponsor while you are in Australia.

Personal documents

Your identity

  • Certified copies of the biographical pages of the current passports or travel documents of all people included in the application (these are the pages with the holder's photo and personal details and the issue/expiry dates).
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm) of each person included in the application.
    • These photographs should be of the head and shoulders only against a plain background.
    • Print the name of the person on the back of each photograph.
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate showing both parents' names. If you do not have a birth certificate and are unable to get one, you must provide a certified copy of the identification pages of at least one of the following documents:
    • family book showing both parents' names
    • identification document issued by the government
    • court-issued documents that verify your identity.
  • A national identity card if you have one.
  • If your name has changed or the name of anyone included in your application has changed: a certified copy of evidence of the name change.

If you are unable to provide any of these documents, you must provide other acceptable evidence confirming your identity.

Your relationships (does not apply to Domestic worker or Seasonal Worker Program stream)

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or relationship registrations for you and anyone else included in your application, even if they are not joining you in Australia.
  • If you are living in a de facto relationship: independent evidence of your relationship (for example, joint bank account statements or billing accounts in joint names).

  • If you or anyone included in the application has been widowed, divorced or permanently separated: a certified copy of the death certificate, divorce documents, or statutory declaration separation documents.
  • Evidence of financial dependency for all your family members aged 18 or older:
    • a certified copy of their birth certificate and proof of their relationship to you
    • proof that they live in your household
    • proof that they have been financially dependent on you for at least the 12 months immediately before you lodge your application.

Your children (does not apply to Domestic worker or Seasonal Worker Program stream)

  • Certified copies of birth certificates or the family book showing the names of both parents of all your dependent children.
  • Evidence of financial dependency for all your family members aged 18 or older (such as evidence of current studies):
    • a certified copy of their birth certificate and proof of their relationship to you
    • proof that they live in your household
    • proof that they have been financially dependent on you for at least the 12 months immediately before you lodge your application.
  • If any dependent child included in the application is adopted: certified copies of the adoption papers.
  • If you want to bring a child younger than 18 years of age with you to Australia, and that child’s other parent is not included in the application, you will need documentary evidence that you have the legal right to bring that child to Australia, such as:

Character requirements

  • Evidence that everyone included in the visa application has applied for an Australian Federal Police National Police Check if they are at least 16 years of age and have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia since turning 16 years of age.
    The AFP National Police Check Application Form is available from the Australian Federal Police website. Visa applicants should tick Code 33 in Section 8 of the form. Fingerprints are not required.
    You will be issued with a 'National Police Check' certificate which will have 'Complete Disclosure' in the heading if your AFP police check application is successful.
  • Police certificates from each country in which anyone in your application has spent a total of 12 months or more in the past 10 years since turning 16 years of age. Provide the original certificates and keep a copy for yourself.
  • If anyone included in the application has served in the armed forces of any country: certified copies of their military service record or discharge papers.

Health

  • If you are required to undergo health examinations, you must organise your health examinations upfront before lodging a visa application and include your health identifier (HAP ID) when completing your visa application form .
  • If you have confirmed that you do not need to undergo health examinations by using My Health Declarations, please indicate on your online application form that you have organised your health examinations when lodging your visa application (as you are considered to have met this requirement).
  • Evidence that everyone included in your application has adequate health insurance in Australia. Provide any one of the following:
    • a signed letter from a health insurance provider (140KB RTF)
    • a Medicare card or receipt of enrolment with Medicare
    • evidence of adequate health insurance (including travel insurance)
    • if you are from a country with a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia and will be eligible for Medicare when you arrive here, evidence of adequate health insurance (including travel insurance) to cover you until you enrol in Medicare
    • evidence that you hold a passport from the Republic of Ireland
    • a statement in the Temporary Activities sponsor’s invitation letter that health insurance has been arranged for you while you are in Australia.

Government Agreement stream

  • Evidence that you meet the terms and conditions of the relevant agreement and that your stay in Australia has been agreed to by both the Australian and foreign signatories to the agreement
  • If not stated in the agreement: evidence that the Australian signatory is satisfied that you will be employed or engaged in accordance with Australian labour laws and practices
  • Evidence that the Australian signatory is satisfied that you will be employed or engaged in accordance with Australian labour laws and practices
  • Copies of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV) and, if required, a copy of registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Foreign Government Agency stream

  • A letter of support from your government ministry or agency, covering you and family members coming with you to Australia
  • If not included in the letter of support: a statement from your government ministry or agency that your employment in Australia would benefit Australia
  • If you are applying as a foreign language teacher: a letter of support from the Australian school
  • A copy of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copies of any registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Privileges and Immunities stream

  • Written statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommending that you and any family members coming with you to Australia be granted the visa
  • A copy of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copies of any registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Domestic Worker (diplomatic or consular) stream

  • A letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • A signed employment agreement between you and your employer.
  • A copy of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Copies of any registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Seasonal Worker Programme Stream

  •  Evidence that the sponsorship application has been approved, such as the sponsorship application ID number or the sponsor approval letter.
  • A copy of your letter of invitation from an approved temporary activities sponsor.

Visa holders

Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements.

See also: Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia

This information is for people who have already been granted a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

How long your visa lasts

Government Agreement stream:
Your visa is valid for a maximum of two years, or a shorter period approved by your Foreign Ministry or government agency or the Australian signatory to the bilateral agreement.

Foreign Government Agency stream:
Your visa is valid for a maximum of four years, or a shorter period approved by your Foreign Ministry or government agency.

Privileges and Immunities stream:
Your visa is valid for the period of your status as an international representative with privileges and immunities.

Domestic Worker stream:
Your visa is valid for the duration of your employer’s posting to Australia.

Seasonal Worker Program stream:
Your visa will be granted until a specified date, usually it will be the length of your employment in Australia, and any additional time for you to travel to and from the place you are employed.

Renewing your visa

If you want to stay longer once you are in Australia (except for the Seasonal Worker Program stream applicants), you might be able to do so by completing a new visa application, providing appropriate evidence, and paying the visa application charge.

With appropriate approval and support the Domestic Worker stream applicants can apply for another 403 visa within the same stream.

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter Australia temporarily
  • do the work or activity specified in your visa application
  • enter and leave Australia while your visa is valid
  • work for your sponsor (Seasonal Worker Program stream only)
    • anywhere in Australia if you work in horticulture
    • in limited locations in tourism (accommodation), sugar cane farming, cotton farming or aquaculture.

You might be able to bring dependent family members with you to Australia if you apply for this visa under the:

  • Government Agreement stream, provided:
    • your family members are listed in the bilateral agreement and in the letter of support from the your government department or agency
    • the Australian signatory agrees to their stay in Australia
    • your family members comply with all the terms and conditions listed in the agreement that apply to them.
  • Foreign Government Agency stream
  • Privileges and Immunities stream.

You cannot bring dependent family members with you to Australia if you are applying in the Domestic Worker stream or Seasonal Worker Program stream.

Your obligations

You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

During your stay in Australia, you and your family must:

  • maintain adequate health insurance
  • continue to meet the requirements of the visa stream in which you were granted the visa.

You must continue to work in the activity for which the visa was granted.

If you applied under the Seasonal Worker Program steam you must also:

  • continue to be employed by your sponsor
  • must only do the work in the industry covered by the visa
  • cannot work for yourself or anyone other than the sponsor.

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth or death in your family.

Report changes in your circumstances using ImmiAccount.  If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:

You can use the following forms:

Employers

This information is for diplomatic visa holders who want to employ domestic workers from outside Australia to work in their households in Australia on a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO for Organisations) to check the visa details and entitlements of a person that you have sponsored.

Who can employ a domestic worker

To employ a domestic worker under this visa, you must:

  • hold a Diplomatic visa (subclass 995) and be accredited as a diplomat or consular officer in Australia
  • not be a permanent resident of Australia
  • have formal support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to employ a domestic worker, before the worker applies for their visa
  • intend to employ the worker to perform domestic duties in your private household
  • sign an employment contract that is in accordance with Australian workplace conditions, as well as applicable state and territory legislation.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can provide  information and advice about workplace rights and conditions, including employer obligations.

Employer obligations

You must:

  • ensure the domestic worker is employed only to perform domestic duties in your private household
  • tell the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when your domestic worker first arrives in Australia and when they finally leave
  • ensure that the domestic worker leaves Australia when they finish working for you.

Sponsors

This information is for an Australian organisation that wants to sponsor a person for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) under the Seasonal Worker Program stream.

Who can sponsor a seasonal worker

For the Seasonal Worker Programme, the sponsor must be an approved employer recruiting seasonal workers for the horticulture, tourism (accommodation), aquaculture, sugar cane and cotton industries.

To be a sponsor, your organisation must be lawfully established and actively operating in Australia. In addition:

  • you must be an Australian organisation or government agency
  • there must be nothing adverse known about your organisation or it is reasonable to disregard any adverse information
  • if your organisation has previously sponsored overseas workers to Australia, you must have a satisfactory record of complying with Australian laws.

Sponsorship applications lodged before 19 November 2016

If you were approved as a special program sponsor before 19 November 2016 you can use this approval to sponsor a Subclass 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) visa applicant (under the Seasonal Worker Program stream) during the transitional period, that is until 18 May 2017, or until your approval ceases (whatever is earlier).

From 19 May 2017 you would need to apply online for approval as a temporary activities sponsor if you want to sponsor a Subclass 403 visa applicant.

If you apply for approval before 19 November 2016 as a special program sponsor, your application would continue to be assessed under the pre-19 November 2016 legislation. The sponsorship would only be valid for new visa applications until 18 May 2017.

How to apply

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. These documents are listed in the Document checklist for sponsors below.

Some of these documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge your application to reduce any delays in processing

Lodge your application

You must lodge your sponsorship application online.

After you have gathered and scanned all relevant documents you need to create an account and lodge your application using our online system – ImmiAccount.

You will need to upload your documents and pay the visa sponsorship application charge by credit card when you apply through your ImmiAccount .

The sponsor application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

Track and manage your application

A Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is a unique number assigned to each online application. You will need this to:

  • continue a saved application
  • identify your application when you communicate with us
  • track and manage your application​
  • attach documents
  • change email and address details
  • check progress of your application.

How long the sponsorship lasts

A sponsorship lasts for up to five years.

If you are approved as a temporary activities sponsor, you can apply to vary (extend) your sponsorship before it expires to allow you to continue to sponsor people. If the sponsorship period expires, you will need to reapply and be approved as a sponsor, to sponsor further visa applicants.

Sponsor obligations

You must comply with following sponsorship obligations:

  • cooperate with inspectors
  • tell us when certain events occur
  • keep records
  • provide records and information to the Minister
  • not recover from, transfer or charge certain costs to another person
  • pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen
  • ensure the visa holder participates in the position for which the visa was granted.

You are responsible for meeting all your obligations, even if you have someone else authorised to act on your behalf, including a migration agent.

Cooperate with inspectors

You must cooperate with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) who are investigating whether:

  • a sponsorship obligation is being, or has been, complied with
  • you have hired an illegal worker
  • there are other circumstances in which we might take administrative action.

This obligation:

  • starts on the day the sponsorship is approved or work agreement commences
  • ends five years after the day the approved sponsorship ends or work agreement ceases.

Cooperating with inspectors can include (but is not limited to):

  • providing access to premises 
  • producing and providing documents within the requested timeframe  
  • not preventing or attempting to prevent access to a person who has custody of, or access to, a record or documents 
  • providing officers with access to interview any person on their premises.

Tell us when certain events occur

In this section, a primary sponsored applicant is a person your organisation intends to employ as a seasonal worker under the Seasonal Worker Programme.

You must tell us in writing when certain events occur. Send the information by registered post or electronic mail to a specified address and within certain timeframes of the event occurring.

Events where a sponsor must provide information to us include:

  • the primary sponsored person is unable to meet the requirements of the programme
  • the primary sponsored person is unable to participate in the programme
  • the primary sponsored person ceases to participate in the program prior to the end of the programme
  • the primary sponsored person fails to attend a programme
  • a change to the information in your application for approval as a sponsor, relating to the person's address and contact details
  • your legal entity ceases to exist.

This obligation starts to apply on the day the standard business sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences.

This obligation ends two years after:

  • your sponsorship or the work agreement ends, and
  • you are no longer sponsoring anyone.

Where to send a notice of an event or change

You must send details of these events by email or to one of our state or territory offices listed below.

By email (preferred): sponsor.notifications@border.gov.au

By registered post:

  • Australian Capital Territory
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 717
    Canberra ACT 2601

  • New South Wales
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 9984
    Sydney NSW 2001

  • Queensland
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 9984
    Brisbane Qld 4001

  • Northern Territory
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 864
    Darwin NT 0801

  • South Australia
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 2399
    Adelaide SA 5001

  • Tasmania
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 794
    Hobart Tas. 7001

  • Victoria
    Sponsor Monitoring
    GPO Box 241
    Melbourne Vic. 3001

  • Western Australia
    Sponsor Monitoring
    Locked Bag 7
    Northbridge WA 6865

Keep records

You must keep records to show how you have complied with your sponsorship obligations. All records must be in a reproducible format and some must be capable of verification by an independent person.

You must keep records of:

  • any notification that you were required to make to us
  • the date on which you notified us, and how and where you made the notification.

This obligation starts on the day the sponsorship is approved.

The obligation ends two years after both of the following:

  • you are no longer an approved sponsor, and
  • you are no longer sponsoring anyone.

You do not need to keep any records for more than five years.

Provide records and information to the Minister

You must provide records or information, if they are requested by a departmental officer that goes to determining whether:

  • a sponsorship obligation is being or has been complied with, and
  • determining whether other circumstances, in which the Minister may take administrative action, exist or have existed, in the manner and timeframe requested by us.

We may ask you in writing to provide records or information which relate to your sponsorship obligations, and any other matters that relate to your sponsorship of visa holders. You must provide the records or information requested if it is a record or information that:

  • you are required to keep under Commonwealth, state or territory law
  • you have an obligation to keep as a sponsor.

This obligation starts to apply on the day the sponsorship is approved or work agreement commences.

This obligation ends two years after:

  • your sponsorship or work agreement ceases, and
  • you no longer have a sponsored visa holder.

Not recover, transfer or charge certain costs to another person

You must not take any action or seek to take any action that would result in the transfer or charging of costs (including migration agent costs) to another person, such as a sponsored visa holder or their sponsored family members this includes costs that relate to:

  • the recruitment of the person you sponsored
  • becoming or being a sponsor or former approved sponsor.

This obligation:

  • starts on the day the sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences
  • ends on the following two events:
    • you cease to be an approved sponsor or party to a work agreement
    • you no longer have a sponsored visa holder.

Sponsors are also required to pay certain costs associated with becoming a sponsor and not pass these costs, in any form, onto another person. These include:

  • cost of sponsorship charges
  • migration agent costs associated with the lodgement of sponsorship applications
  • administrative costs and any sundry costs an employer incurs when they conduct recruitment exercises, including:
    • recruitment agent fees
    • migration agent fees
    • the cost of job advertising
    • screening of candidates, short listing, interviews and reference checks
    • salaries of recruitment or human resource staff
    • the cost of outsourcing background checks, police checks and psychological testing where they relate to an employer determining an applicant’s suitability for the position
    • training of new staff
    • responding to queries for prospective candidates, and advising unsuccessful applicants
    • travel costs for the sponsor to interview and/or meet the applicant either overseas or in Australia.

Pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen

In the event a primary sponsored person (or any of their sponsored family members) becomes an unlawful non-citizen, you may be required to pay the costs incurred by the Commonwealth in locating and/or removing the primary or secondary sponsored persons from Australia.

This obligation starts on the day the person you sponsored becomes an unlawful non-citizen.

It ends five years after they leave Australia. This means that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection might, up to five years after the person you have sponsored has left Australia, give you a letter requiring payment of the costs that the Commonwealth paid to locate and remove the person you sponsored prior to their departure from Australia.

Monitoring of sponsors and visa holders

You must comply with your obligations as a sponsor. We monitor your compliance with the sponsorship obligations and whether your visa holders are upholding their visa conditions.

We monitor you while you are a sponsor and for up to five years after you cease being a sponsor. We do this routinely and in response to information provided to us, and in three main ways:

  • exchanging information with other Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies, including the Department of Employment, the Fair Work Ombudsman, and the Australian Taxation Office.
  • writing to you to ask for information in accordance with the obligation to provide records and information
  • site visits, usually to the sponsored business premises, with or without notice

Your compliance with the sponsorship obligations might be investigated by Immigration inspectors who have investigative powers under the Migration Act 1958. Failure to cooperate with inspectors is a breach of the sponsorship obligations.

Sanctions for not meeting your sponsor obligations

If you do not meet your obligations, we could take one or more of the following actions:

Administrative

  • you could be barred from sponsoring more people for a specified time
  • you could be barred from applying for approval to be a sponsor, in relation to this visa or another one
  • all of your existing approvals as a sponsor could be cancelled.

Enforceable undertaking

You could be invited to enter into an enforceable undertaking.  Enforceable undertakings require you to promise, in writing, to complete certain actions to demonstrate that the failures have been rectified and won’t happen again.

Civil

  • we can issue an infringement notice of up to AUD10,800 for a body corporate and AUD2,160 for an individual for each failure.
  • we can apply to a court for a civil penalty order of up to AUD54,000 for a corporation and AUD10,800 for an individual for each failure.

Other circumstances in which administrative action might be taken

In addition, you could also have sanctions imposed if:

  • you provide false or misleading information to us or the Migration Review Tribunal
  • you no longer satisfy the criteria for approval as a sponsor or for variation of a term of that approval
  • you have been found by a court or competent authority to have contravened a Commonwealth, state or territory law
  • the person you have sponsored breaks a law relating to the licensing, registration or membership needed to work in the nominated position.

Document checklist for sponsors

You need to provide documents to support your application to become a sponsor. We could ask you for more information, but we can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge the application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

You must provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

Use this checklist to make sure your application is complete.

Charges

Information about your business

Financial status
  • Provide one of the following:
    • a letter of support from a chartered accountant, Certified Practising Accountant, Professional National Accountant, Fellow Professional National Accountant or reputable financial institution that clearly summarises the organisation’s ability to meet its financial responsibilities, or
    • other details of the organisation’s financial status, such as bank statements for the most recent six months; balance sheets / profit and loss statements / tax returns for the most recently concluded financial year; relevant extracts from the business plan showing cash flow projections; contracts; lease agreements; and statements concerning the source of any funds.
    If your organisation is operated under a trust structure, these documents must relate to the trust (to the trustee in their capacity as trustee).
    Your organisation is not required to provide evidence of its financial status if it is one of the following:
    • an Australian Commonwealth, state, territory or local government organisation, a government business enterprise or a statutory authority/agency
    • listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and you have provided an ASX Code at Question 6
    • a foreign government agency operating in Australia
    • has more than 20 full-time employees, has satisfactorily sponsored temporary resident visa holders previously, and is listed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and you have provided an ABN and/or ACN/ARBN at questions.
Lawfully and actively operating in Australia
  • certificate of registration for tax purposes showing your Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Business Names Extract (if operating under a trading name)
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) historical company extract – if you are a company
  • ASIC historical director data
  • If you are an operation under a trust structure:
    • relevant pages of the trust deed (pages listing parties to the trust and the signature page)
    • an ASIC historical company extract (where the trustee is a company)
  • if youa are an operation under a franchise: relevant pages of the franchise agreement (pages listing parties in the franchise agreement and the signature page)

If none of these is applicable to your organisation, provide some form of documentation that shows registration of your organisation with an Australian government authority.

If your organisation is a new or start-up business that has operated for less than 12 months: a combination of:

  • detailed business plan
  • contract of sale relating to the purchase of the business
  • lease agreement relating to business premises
  • evidence of lease or purchase of machinery, equipment, furniture etc.
  • contracts to supply services
  • evidence of employment of staff
  • Business Activity Statements for each complete quarter since the commencement of business
  • business bank statements covering the period of operation.
Ability to comply with obligations

Documents to demonstrate that you satisfy sponsorship requirements:

  • bank statements (provide at least six months’ worth of your most recent bank statements)
  • tax returns for the most recently concluded year
  • profit and loss statements and balance sheets for the most recently concluded financial year
  • a letter of support from a qualified accountant (CPA, CA, Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) registered), or reputable financial institution that clearly summarises the organisation’s ability to meet its financial responsibilities.
Compliance with Australian laws

Information relating to your employment arrangements over the past 12 months for any person who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Information relating to action that has been taken against the organisation by any Australian state or territory government agency in the preceding 12 months, even if it did not result in a criminal or civil penalty being imposed. This should include any breach notices or infringement notices issued to the organisation.

Further information is provided in Adverse information for sponsors.

Other documents

A copy of the organisation’s structure chart.

Estimate the cost of your visa

The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.