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As a business, there are several employer sponsored / assisted visa options which can facilitate access to foreign workers.

Read our general information and document checklists in relation to these visa categories below. Contact us directly for specific advice.
Overview

Australia’s employer sponsored / assisted visas

Australia has a number of employer sponsored / assisted visas which can be used by employees to fill skill gaps in the Australian economy. As a business, there are several visa options which can facilitate access to foreign workers, the most appropriate of which will depend on the individual’s skill level, the duration of stay, duties required, and of course, cost. The program includes short term visas (Subclass 400) of long term visas (Subclass 482) and even permanent residence (Subclass 186), aong others.  Additional points are awarded to those willing to relocate to designated regional areas.

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In demand occupations
  • Engineers (various)
  • IT professionals (various)
  • Medical professionals (various)
  • Construction and building professionals (various)
Occupation lists
Visa categories
  • Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) (TSS) visa (see document checklist here)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) (ENS) visa (see document checklist here)
  • Global Talent Employer Sponsored (GTES) visa;
  • Temporary Work (subclass 400) (400) visa (see document checklist here)
  • Training (subclass 407) (407) visa
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa (subclass 494) (SESR) visa (see document checklist here).
Overview

Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) (TSS) visa

The TSS visa is the most common work visa in Australia, being a temporary visa for skilled foreign workers employed in specified occupations, and allows employers to sponsor workers with suitable skills and qualifications where a suitable Australian worker cannot be sourced. You can read more about this visa here.

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Sponsorship requirements
  • The first step is to obtain business sponsorship approval by applying and demonstrating that the business:
    • has a legally established and currently operating business
    • does not have any adverse information regarded against it
  • The business then assumes a number of sponsorship obligations, including assuming certain costs, ensuring your employee only works in their nominated occupations, and is subjected to equivalent terms and conditions of employment as your Australian workers. You will only need to apply for the SBS once every 5 years
Nomination requirements
  • The second component is the nomination application, where the business nominates a position within the organisation. Generally, the position must:
    • be a genuine, full-time position;
    • have a salary in line with market rates (which is at least $70,000 per annum);
    • be subject to Labour Market Testing (see here); and
    • be on the relevant occupation lists (see here).
  • If the position is on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), the candidate may be eligible for an up to 2-year visa. The applicant will also need to demonstrate that they are a “genuine temporary entrant”.
  • If the position is on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), the candidate may be eligible for an up to 4 year visa. 
Visa requirements
  • The third component is the visa application, where the applicant demonstrates they meet the requirements for a TSS visa. The main applicant must:
    • have relevant skills and qualifications that match the role;
    • have at least 2 years of experience in a related position;
    • have a genuine intention to work in the nominated position;
    • meet mandatory licensing, registration, or professional membership requirements;
    • have adequate arrangements for health insurance; and
    • satisfy health, character, and English requirements.
  • The applicant’s family members can be included in the TSS visa as secondary applicants, including their spouse/de facto partners and dependent children. They will be granted the same full working rights as the primary applicant, though they are not tied to working for the sponsor
  • The TSS visa may has have a pathway to permanent residency via the 186 visa (see Subclass 186 tab)
Overview

Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa

The ENS visa allows businesses to sponsor foreign workers on a permanent basis. Nominated workers can already be living and working in or outside Australia. You can read more about this visa. Though there are a number of streams, the most common are the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream and the Direct Entry (DE) stream. In both cases, there are 2 stages for the ENS application, being the nomination and visa (with different requirements for the relevant streams).

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Nomination requirements
  • if TRT stream, have worked for at least 2 out of the previous 3 years (before the nomination is made) in the nominated position (whilst holding a TSS / 457 visa as the primary visa holder);
  • the business must be actively and lawfully operating in Australia;
  • there must be a genuine need for the visa applicant in the nominated position under its direct control;
  • the business must have the capacity to employ the individual in that position for 2 years;
  • the position must be full time and available for at least 2 years from the time the visa is granted;
  • the position must have a salary that is at least (a) $70,000 per annum and (b) at least the annual market salary rate for the nominated occupation; and
  • the position must be subject to conditions of employment that are no worse than those that apply (or would apply) to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location.
Visa requirements (TRT stream)
  • be under the age of 45 at the time of application (unless exempt);
  • have the required skills and qualifications for the position;
  • demonstrate a “competent” level of English (unless exempt);
  • hold (or be eligible to become the holder of) the relevant license/registration/membership required to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation; and
  • meet health and character requirements.
Visa requirements (DE stream)
  • be under the age of 45 at the time of application (unless exempt);
  • have the required skills and qualifications for the position;
  • demonstrate a “competent” level of English (unless exempt);
  • hold (or be eligible to become the holder of) the relevant license/registration/membership required to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation; and
  • meet health and character requirements.
Overview

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (subclass 494) visa

The SESR visa is a temporary, employer sponsored 5-year visa for skilled foreign workers employed in positions located in “designated regional areas”. The visa offers pathways to permanent residency after 3 years via the Skilled Regional (subclass 191) visa, though the subclass 191 does not require a sponsor. Unless you have a Labour Agreement with the Australian Government, you will likely need to apply under the Employer Sponsored Stream. You can read more about this visa here.

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Sponsorship requirements
  • Thef first step is to obtain business sponsorship approval by applying and demonstrating that the business:
    • has a legally established and currently operating business
    • does not have any adverse information regarded against it
  • the business then assumes a number of sponsorship obligations, including assuming certain costs, ensuring your employee only works in their nominated occupations, and is subjected to equivalent terms and conditions of employment as your Australian workers. You will only need to apply for the SBS once every 5 years
Nomination requirements
  • The second component is the nomination application, where the business nominates a position within the organisation. Generally, the position must:
    • be a genuine, full-time position that is available for at least 5 years;
    • be in a designated regional area;
    • approved by an appropriate certification board;
    • have a salary in line with market rates;
    • be subject to Labour Market Testing (see here); and
    • be on the relevant occupation list (see here).
Visa requirements
  • The third component is the visa application, where the applicant demonstrates they meet the requirements for a SESR visa. The main applicant must:
    • have relevant skills and qualifications that match the role;
    • have at least 3 years of experience in a related position in the last 5 years;
    • be under the age of 45 at time of application (unless exempt);
    • have a positive skills assessment (unless exempt);
    • satisfy health, character, and English requirements; and
    • hold a substantive visa (or a Bridging visa A, B or C) if applying in Australia.
Overview

​​​​​Global Talent Employer Sponsored visa

The Global Talent Employer Sponsored program is specifically catered for applicants that are highly skilled and do not fall into the traditional occupations listed in the occupation lists. It essentially utilises the existing labour agreement stream of the TSS visa and employers will have to demonstrate to the Department of Home Affairs that they are unable to fill the position through existing skilled visa programs. This visa is valid for up to 4 years and allows access to a permanent residence pathway. There are 2 main streams for the GTES program: (1) Established Business stream and (2) Startup stream.

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Common criteria
  • An employer must:
    • be able to demonstrate that the position cannot be filled through existing skilled visa programs
    • demonstrate that access to the program will support job opportunities and skills transfer for Australians
    • submit evidence of labour market testing that the specified positions cannot be filled by Australians
    • have a good track record with relevnat regulatory agencies, including compliance with immigration and workplace laws
  • An applicant must:
    • meet health, character and secuirty requirements
    • not have any familial relationship with directors / shareholders
    • have relevant qualifications that are commensurate with the highly skilled role
    • have at least 3 years of relevant work experience
    • have capacity to pass on skills / develop Australians
Additional criteria (Established business stream)
  • Additionally, an employer must:
    • be a publcily listed company or have an annual turnover for at least AUD 4 million for each of the past 2 years;
    • be endorsed as a TSS Accredited Sponsor
  • Additionally, the visa applicant must:
    • be paid annual earnings equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Treshold (being $162,500 at the time of writing)
    • be a publcily listed company or have an annual turnover for at least AUD 4 million for each of the past 2 years;
    • meet health, character and security requirements;
    • have no familial relationship with directors or shareholders;
    • have qualifications commensurate with the highly skilled role;
    • have at least 3 years work experience directly relevant to the position;
    • have capacity to pass on skills or develop Australians.
Additional criteria (start-up stream)
  • In anddition, an employer must:
    • operate in a technology based or STEM-related field;
    • be a viable and genuine startup and be endorsed by the independent GTES startup advisory panel;
    • have received either investment of at least AUD50,000 from a registered Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership fund, or an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant.
  • In addition, an applicant must:
    • be paid a minimum annual earnings at the market salary rate, though not less than AUD 80,000 (this can include equity but the cash component must be more than AUD 53,900);
    • meet health, character and security requirements;
    • have no familial relationship with directors or shareholders;
    • have qualifications commensurate with the highly skilled role;
    • have at least 3 years work experience directly relevant to the position;
    • have capacity to pass on skills or develop Australians.
Overview

Temporary Work (subclass 400) visa

The 400 visa is a temporary visa that allows applicants working in highly specialised roles to work short-term in Australia. The general period of stay is 3 months; however, certain applications can be granted up to 6 months for strong business cases. There are two streams for this visa, but the most common stream is the “Highly Specialised Work Stream”. You can read more about this visa here.

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General eligiblity
  • have highly specialised skills, knowledge, or experience;
  • be able to support yourself and any dependents;
  • be a genuine visitor; and
  • meet health and character requirements.
Other requirements
  • The work has to be “non-ongoing” which means it should conclude within the time period of the visa
  • There is no minimum salary requirement, but Department policy holds that “Delegates must be alert to persons attempting to obtain a GA-400 visa to avoid the more stringent requirements of the UC-457 visa, particularly in regards to English language and minimum salary level requirements.” As a general rule of thumb, the salary paid during a person’s stay should be according to market rates.
  • Whilst subclass 400 visa holders allow for family members to accompany them, the family members are unable to work or study in Australia, except to complete a language training course. As such, the applicant must provide evidence of their financial capacity to support a reasonable standard of living for any accompanying family members.
Overview

Training (subclass 407) visa

The 407 visa allows visa holders to take part in workplace-based occupational training activities to improve their skills for their job, area of tertiary study, field of expertise or in a professional development training program in Australia. This can be applied onshore or offshore, and the applicants can live in Australia for up to 2 years. This visa does not have a direct pathway to permanent residence, but it can enable the visa holder to apply for a TSS visa and potentially the ENS visa.

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Sponsorship requirements
  • The first step is applying for and obtaining approval to be a Temporary Activity Sponsor (TAS), which requires the business to:
    • have a legally established and currently operating business in Australia;
    • not have any adverse information regarded against it; and
    • provide evidence that it has financial capacity to meet its sponsorship obligations.
  • The business undertakes a number of sponsorship obligations, including to assume certain costs and ensuring that the visa holder only works or participates in the nominated occupation, program or activity.
  • You will only need to apply for the TAS once every 5 years. 
Nomination requirements
  • The second component is the nomination application, where the business provides details about the applicant, the purpose or type of training, and how and where the training will be provided. The business will have to prepare a detailed training programme to support the application. There are 3 streams:
    • Occupational training required for registration
    • Occupational training to improve skills in an eligible occupation
    • Occupational training for capacity building overseas
Visa requirements
  • The third component is the visa application, where the applicant demonstrates they meet the requirements for a 407 visa. The main applicant must:
    • be at least 18 years of age;
    • demonstrate financial capacity to support themselves (and their dependents, if any) for the duration of stay in Australia;
    • be a genuine temporary entrant;
    • have adequate arrangements for health insurance; and
    • satisfy health, character, and English requirements.
Employer Sponsored / Assisted

Frequently Asked Questions

I hold a current visa and am in Australia, what if it expires before my general skilled migration visa is approved?

If you are in Australia and hold a substantive visa when you lodge your general skilled migration visa application, in most cases you will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA). This BVA will allow you to remain in Australia during processing of your further visa. However, bear in mind that the general skilled migration visas are usually invitation only. This means simply lodging an expression of interest is not a visa application and will not grant you a bridging visa.

Can I include my family?

Yes, you generally can include your spouse/partner and children in your visa application. They will be granted the same visa as you.

There are specific requirements for children over the age of 18 to demonstrate dependency. Children 23 years or above cannot be included except in very limited circumstances.

I have a dependent partner, can they work?

Yes, your partner will have full work authorisation in Australia which means they can work for any employer.

Can my children study?

Yes. However, different States/ Territories in Australia have different requirements and fees may be applicable. We strongly recommend that you explore this with the education provider directly.

Should I just book my health examinations and obtain police clearances?

The Department have appointed particular panel doctors who are authorised to conduct health examinations for Australian visa purposes.

If the health examinations are not carried out by these individuals, they will need to be redone.

The Department also require specific police clearances.

Please wait for instructions from your HT advisor to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily incur any costs or loss of time.

Disclaimer

The information contained here is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm. The information: (i) must be regarded as a practical guide for general information and not a process guide for determining the specific immigration requirements of the countries covered, (ii) should not be a substitute for a more indepth analysis of applicable facts and circumstances conducted by competent professionals, and (iii) does not represent an opinion from Hannan Tew or any of its agents with regard to the laws of any of the jurisdictions concerned. The information does not guarantee the outcome or approval of any particular immigration application.

What can we do for you?

With extensive experience helping assisting companies (from multinationals to local start ups), our staff are well placed to assist with a variety of employer sponsored / assisted immigration matters including: visa applications, compliance issues, moniotring, workforce planning and general advisory.

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