Workers

On 14 December 2015, new criminal and civil penalties and visa cancellation provisions were introduced as part of a 'paying for visa sponsorship' framework that allows for sanctions to be imposed on a person who asks for, receives, offers or provides a benefit in return for visa sponsorship or employment (that requires visa sponsorship). 

For further information, please see: Work visa scams.

Comparing your visa options

Intending migrants can use the visa chart to view their visa options for skilled migration to Australia.

See: Visa Options Comparison Chart 

General Skilled Migration

Cap and Cease of some GSM visa subclasses

The Assistant Minister set a cap for offshore General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas which takes effect on 22 September 2015. The following  offshore General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas are affected: 

  • Skilled Independent (subclass 175)
  • Skilled Sponsored (subclass 176)
  • Skilled Regional Sponsored (subclass 475).

 As such unfinalised applications for these subclasses are taken not to have been made and the relevant visa application charge will be refunded to affected applicants.

More information is available about Cap and Cease.

Applying for a Skilled Migration Visa

The first step in the process of Points Tested Skilled Migration or General Skilled Migration is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect. SkillSelect is the Department's online system for assisting with the skilled migration process.  

See: Skill Select

SkillSelect can be used to submit an EOI for all skilled visa subclasses including points tested skilled migration visas, employer sponsored visas and business visas. For points tested and business visas, SkillSelect is a mandatory part of the application process. For employer sponsored visas, SkillSelect is not mandatory but can be used to assist in the locating of an employer. Before you submit your EOI, you will need to meet requirements of the visa subclass that you are interested in.

If you have skills and want to apply for a points tested skilled migration visa to migrate to Australia, you need to submit and Expression of Interest (EOI) and meet the requirements for the visa subclass you wish to express an interest in.

After your EOI has been submitted, you might be invited to apply for a skilled migration visa.

Visas that require you to submit an EOI include;

If you are invited to apply for a skilled migration visa you will have 60 days to lodge a visa application which will be assessed by a processing team against the visa subclass requirements. Each visa has different eligibility requirements that you must also meet. We recommend you check the eligibility requirements of each visa prior to submitting your EOI.

At time of invitation, you must nominate an occupation that is on the relevant skilled occupation list.

See: Skilled Occupations Lists

Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)

Information on how an overseas worker's skills are assessed for a specific occupation in Australia using ANZSCO.

See: ANZSCO

Skills Assessments and Assessing Authorities

A requirement of points tested skilled migration visas is a valid skills assessment issued prior to the date of being issued an invitation to apply for a visa. You must provide a valid skills assessment issued by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation. To learn more about skills assessments and find the relevant assessing authority see Skills assessment and assessing authorities.

English Language Requirement

To be eligible to submit an EOI for points tested skilled migration visas, you must meet the English language requirement. You will need to have undertaken a suitable English language test no more than 36 months prior to being issued an invitation to apply for a visa.

See: English language tests

General Skilled Migration (GSM) applications

General Skilled Migration processing centres allocate applications to processing teams in accordance with priority processing arrangements; and to meet the Migration Programme planning levels set by the government. Applicants can check allocation dates.

See: Allocation dates for GSM applications

After you have lodged your application, it will be allocated to a Visa Processing Officer. Your Visa Processing Officer will contact you in writing to either request further information or to advise of an outcome.

If you have provided documentation to support your visa application, you do not need to contact us. We will contact you in due course.

If your enquiry relates to the status of your application, you can refer to Skilled migration visa processing times.

Visa applications are usually processed more quickly when documents are provided through Immiaccount. You can also use ImmiAccount to update your details and check the progress of your application.

Withdrawing a General Skilled Migration visa application

You can withdraw your visa application at any stage during processing.

See: Withdrawing General Skilled Migration Visa Applications

State Migration Plans

State Migration Plans allow individual states and territories to sponsor applicants to fill skills shortages within their local labour markets.

Find information on State Migration Plans for each state and territory.

See: State Migration Plans

Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)

If you are a recent graduate from an Australian education institution and want work in Australia, you might be eligible for the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485).

See: Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)

Nominated or sponsored workers

Employers can sponsor or nominate workers to remain in Australia for both a temporary and permanent basis.

Temporary Work

If you would like to be sponsored between 1 day to four years, you might be eligible for the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457). Your employer must be approved as a sponsor and nominate your position before you can be granted your 457 visa.

See: Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457).

Sponsorship obligations

Approved sponsors must meet certain sponsorship obligations. The sponsorship obligations will depend on the type of sponsor.

See: Temporary residence sponsor obligations

Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme

Employers in Australia can sponsor skilled workers to remain in Australia on a permanent basis through the Employer Nomination Scheme.

See: Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa will allow a skilled worker to remain in Australia on a permanent basis and work in a regional area.

See: Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187)

For information on exemptions for the Employee Sponsored Programme, including:

  • Age exemptions
  • Skill exemptions
  • English language exemptions

See: Age Skill and English Language Exemptions Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme

Working in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry

All overseas workers must hold an appropriate visa to work in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry.

You can find information on working on an offshore site, including:

  • Visa options
  • Travelling to and from an offshore site

See: Working in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry

Investment visas

If you want to invest in Australia, the Significant Investor stream or the Premium Investor stream of the provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) might be a visa option for you.  After satisfactory evidence of a specified level of investment activity in Australia, you might want to apply for permanent residence under the Permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888).

Please note that SkillSelect is mandatory for Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188).

If you currently hold a Provisional Business Skills Investor visa (no longer open to new applications), you might consider applying for the following Permanent visas:

Business owner visas

If you want to establish a new or develop an existing business in Australia, the Business Innovation stream of the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) might be a visa option for you. After satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business activity in Australia, you might want to apply for permanent residence under the Permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888).

Business migrants can also apply for a Business Talent visa(subclass 132) to get direct permanent residence if they have high level business skills.

Please note that SkillSelect is mandatory for Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) and Business Talent visa (subclass 132).

If you currently hold a Provisional Business Skills visa (no longer open to new applications), you might consider applying for the following permanent visas:

Entrepreneurs

If you have an innovative idea for a new product, service or business and have third party funding from a specified source to undertake entrepreneurial activity in Australia, the Entrepreneur stream of the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) might be a visa option for you. After satisfactory evidence of a successful record of entrepreneurial activity in Australia, you might want to apply for the Permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888).

Entrepreneurs can also consider the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream of the Business Talent visa (subclass 132) to get direct permanent residency if they have obtained high level funding from an Australian venture capital firm.

Please note that SkillSelect is mandatory for Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) and Business Talent visa (subclass 132).  

Other temporary work/activity visas

If you want to travel to Australia for short-term work, you might be eligible for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400).  This visa will allow you do to short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work in Australia.

If you plan to come to Australia on a temporary basis to undertake one or more of the following activities, then you might be eligible for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408):

  • work in the entertainment industry
  • participate in activities at the invitation of an Australian organisation
  • participate or observe in an Australian research project
  • work in a skilled position under a staff exchange arrangement
  • participate in high-level sports competitions or sports training programs
  • participate in approved special program
  • do full-time religious work
  • be employed as a superyacht crew member
  • do full-time domestic work in the household of certain senior foreign executives
  • participate in a government endorsed event.

Superannuation for workers

Information for former temporary residents on the Departing Australia Superannuation Payments scheme.

See: Accessing Superannuation Benefits – Former Temporary Residents

Repealed or closed temporary work visas

Information on repealed or closed temporary work visas, including alternate visa options.

See: Temporary work visa

Your rights as a worker

People working in Australia, including both sponsored and non-sponsored visa holders, have rights and protections at work. These cannot be taken away by contracts or agreements.

Pay rates and workplace conditions are set by Australian law.

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

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