Individuals and Travellers

Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415)

​This visa is closed to new applications.​

Features

This visa is for representatives of:

  • foreign government agencies who do not have official status in Australia
  • certain foreign language teachers who are to be employed in Australia by their government or government agency.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you are:

  • sponsored by an approved foreign government agency sponsor
  • a representative of a foreign government agency to be employed in Australia and who will not be given official status in Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) or a language teacher employed by a foreign government in an Australian school.

About this visa

The Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415) is closed to new applications. You cannot apply for this visa. You might be able to apply for the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

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 Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415). It explains your rights and obligations.

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

What this visa lets you do

This visa lets you to enter Australia if you are:

  • a representative of a foreign government or foreign government agency that does not have Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade acceditation
  • a foreign language teacher who is employed in Australia by your government or government agency.

You can:

  • stay in Australia for up to four years
  • work for a specific organisation or school in Australia
  • bring your family with you to Australia
  • enter and leave Australia while your visa is valid.

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:

  • comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws
  • maintain adequate health insurance while you are in Australia
  • meet Australian taxation obligations if you work in Australia.

Work in Australia

You must not:

  • stop working for the employer who sponsored you
  • work in a position or occupation that was not nominated in your visa application
  • work for another person or for yourself while also working for your sponsoring employer.

If your sponsor ends your employment, you must either:

  • find another employer who is willing to sponsor you
  • leave Australia within 28 days, or before your visa expires, whichever happens first.

Family members

Any family included on your visa must:

  • enter Australia with, or after you
  • leave Australia with, or before you
  • continue to be a member of your family unit.

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change after you have applied for this visa. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth or death in the family.

You can use the following forms:

  • Form 929 Change of address and/or passport details (86 kB PDF) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022Notification of changes in circumstances (77 kB PDF) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

Sponsors

This information is for sponsors of workers on a Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415).

This visa is now closed to new applications. You cannot apply to sponsor someone for this visa.

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

How long the sponsorship lasts

Your sponsorship period lasts for three years.

New applications for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) do not require sponsorship.

Sponsor obligations

You must be able to 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 nominated occupation, program or activity.

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 could 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.

Keep records

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

You must keep a record 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.

This 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 the department.

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.

Tell us when certain events occur  

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 cessation, or expected cessation of a primary sponsored person's employment. If an expected cessation does not take place or the primary sponsored person will cease employment on a different date than previously notified, you must notify us of the continued employment or new cessation date; and
  • a change to the information in the sponsor's application for approval as a sponsor, relating to the person's address and contact details.

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

Ensure that the visa holder participates in the nominated occupation, program or activity

You must ensure that the person you have sponsored participates only in the occupation, program or activity for which you nominated them. If you want to engage a visa holder for a different occupation, program or activity, you must lodge a new nomination application. This obligation starts on the day the person you have sponsored is granted a visa. If they already hold a visa when you nominate them, your obligation starts on the day the nomination is approved.

This obligation ends on the day (whichever is the earliest):

  • the sponsored visa holder has a nomination approved for another approved sponsor
  • the sponsored visa holder is granted another  substantive visa of a different type for which you sponsored them (unless that other visa is a bridging visa, criminal justice visa or enforcement visa)  
  • the sponsored visa holder  has left Australia and  the relevant visa (and any subsequent bridging visa) is no longer in effect.

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 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 and nomination charges
  • migration agent costs associated with the lodgement of sponsorship and nomination 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.

You may be liable to pay the Commonwealth the difference between the actual costs incurred by the Commonwealth (up to a maximum of AUD10 000) less any amount which may have already been paid under the obligation to pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia (see ‘Obligation to pay travel costs’ above).

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 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 undertake 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 AUD10200 for a body corporate and AUD2040 for an individual for each failure.
  • we can apply to a court for a civil penalty order of up to AUD51 000 for a corporation and AUD10200 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.
  • The types of actions that could be taken depend on whether the sponsor is a standard business sponsor or has made  a work agreement.

    If you have sponsored someone under a work  agreement, we could suspend or terminate it in accordance with the clauses of the particular work  agreement.

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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.