Working visas for Australia

international worker in Australia
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Working in Australia can be a great way to improve your English skills, meet new people and experience Australian culture. In light of the economic downturn, Australia has moved towards a demand-driven immigration program. This means that if you have the skills and qualifications to fill skills shortages in the market, you may be looked upon more favourably for immigration.

If you are interested in working in Australia, make sure you find a visa that best suits your situation as well as your skills and experience. Also make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements; these may include age, health, insurance and other characteristics. Most working visas require you to have good English language skills and you may need evidence to support your application.

Some working visas also allow for secondary applicants. This means that you can also request to have your spouse, dependent child or relative travel and live with you in Australia.

Most visa applications are assessed by a points system. The points test assigns points based on how well you meet the eligibility requirements. For all visas you will need to sign an Australian Values Statement to declare that you will respect and obey Australian values and laws.

Temporary Visas

Working holiday visa (sub-class 417)

Working while you are holidaying is a great way to help pay for your travelling costs such as food and accommodation. To apply for a working holiday visa you need to be between the ages of 18 and 30 and hold a passport from a country or region participating in the working holiday visa program. A working holiday visa will let you work in Australia for 12 months; however, you can apply for a second working holiday visa if you plan to extend your holiday.

You should not apply for this visa if your primary reason for travelling to Australia is to work.
 

Work and holiday visa (sub-class 462)

Depending on the country you are from, you may need a work and holiday visa rather than a working holiday visa. A work and holiday visa will allow you to gain temporary or casual employment while you are holidaying in Australia. This visa program is aimed at developing and encouraging a cultural exchange and closer relationships with participating countries. In order to apply for this visa you need to hold a passport for a country partaking in the work and holiday visa program.
 

Occupational trainee visa (sub-class 442)

If you are looking to enhance your skills and experience through workplace training, then you may be eligible for an occupational trainee visa. In order to be eligible for this visa you will need to be sponsored and nominated by an Australian organisation or a State or Territory government agency.

If you are in Australia studying on a student visa you may also be eligible for an occupational training visa, depending on your field of study.
 

Professional development visa (sub-class 470)

A professional development visa allows you to undertake professional development training programs in Australia. You will need to be employed by an eligible business overseas or invited by a government agency of a foreign country, province or territory to take part in the program.
 

Temporary business long stay visa (sub-class 457)

Temporary business long stay visas are for people who are sponsored by an employer to work in Australia for up to four years but no less than three months. The sponsoring employer can be an Australian business or an overseas business operating within Australia and with positions available.

You will need to prove you have proficient English language skills as well as skills and experience that match the position you are sponsored for. All visa applicants will need to meet the character and health requirements in order to successfully gain migration. These include having a clean criminal history and private health insurance.
 

Permanent Visas

Skilled - Independent (Migrant) visa (sub-class 175)

If you have good English language skills as well as the skills and qualifications for an occupation that is listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), then you may be eligible to work in Australia under a skilled independent visa.

Your application will be assessed based on a points test. You will be given points if you meet the eligibility requirements, including age, English language skills and work experience, and gain a pass mark of 120 points or over. If you score lower than 120 but higher than 100 points your application will be held in the 'pool' for up to two years. If the pass mark is lowered to below your mark, then your application will be accepted.
 

Skilled - Sponsored (Migrant) visa (sub-class 176)

To be eligible for a skilled sponsored visa you will need to have good English language skills as well as the skills and qualifications for an occupation listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). You will also require sponsorship from either a participating State or Territory government agency or an eligible relative living in Australia.

Your application will also be assessed against the points system. You will need to achieve a pass mark of 100 to be successful.
 

Skilled - Regional (Residence) visa (sub-class 887)

If you have lived in Australia for at least two years and have worked for 12 months in a regional area, then you may be eligible for permanent residency under a skilled regional visa.

To be eligible for this visa you will need to be already holding an Australian provisional visa. You will also need to meet specific residence and work requirements before applying for this visa. You will be able to study and work in Australia under this visa.
 

Skilled - Independent (Residence) visa (sub-class 885)

If you are an overseas student and have completed your studies in Australia in the last six months, you could be eligible for a skilled independent residence visa.

Instead of requiring sponsorship, you will be assessed by a points system that determines how valuable your characteristics are to the Australian labour market. Characteristics and skills that are deficient in the labour market will rate higher in the points test. To pass the test for a skilled independent visa you will need to score 100 points.

In order to be eligible for this visa you must have sound English language skills, as well as skills and qualifications that match the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Your nominated occupation will also need to be classified as either a 50 or 60-point occupation.
 

Skilled - Sponsored (Residence) visa (sub-class 886)

If you are an overseas student who has completed their studies in Australia, and hold a temporary visa, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the skilled sponsored residence visa.

In order to be eligible for this visa you must have sound English language skills, as well as skills and qualifications that match the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Your nominated occupation will also need to be classified as either a 50 or 60-point occupation.

To successfully apply for this visa you will need to have sponsorship from either an eligible relative living in Australia or a participating State or Territory government agency.
 

Pathways to permanent residency

Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (sub-class 487/475)

If you are an overseas student and are unable to meet the criteria for a permanent skilled visa, you may be eligible for a skilled provisional visa. A skilled regional sponsored visa is a three-year visa that will give you the opportunity to apply for permanent residency after you have lived in Australia for two years, and have worked 12 months or more in a recognised regional area.

You will need to have sponsorship from either a participating State or Territory government agency or an eligible relative who is living in a regional area. You will also need to score above the pass mark of 100 points.

If you are a New Zealand citizen you may be eligible for this visa under sub-class 475.
 

Skilled - graduate (temporary) visa (sub-class 485)

If you have completed your Australian qualification in Australia and do not meet the criteria to apply for a permanent visa you may be eligible to remain in Australia under a skilled graduate visa.

This visa allows you to remain in Australia for 18 months to gain the necessary work experience or English language skills in order to qualify for permanent residency. You are able to work and study under this visa.

In order to be eligible for this visa you must have sound English language skills, as well as skills and qualifications that match the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Your nominated occupation will also need to be classified as either a 50 or 60-point occupation.
 

Industry specific

Medical practitioners visa

If you are an overseas-trained doctor or overseas student who has completed their medical degree in Australia, then you may be eligible to work in Australia. Under a medical practitioner (temporary) visa you will need sponsorship by an employer for a period between three months and four years. Sponsorship usually lasts for a 12-month period. You need to be a registered doctor in order to practise in Australia.
 

Skilled - Recognised Graduate (Temporary) visa (sub-class 476)

If you have recently graduated from a recognised overseas university with a degree qualification in engineering, then you may be eligible to gain 18 months of skilled work experience in Australia under the skilled recognised graduate visa.

To be eligible for this visa you will need to be under the age of 31 and have good English language skills.
 

Employers

Labour agreements

Employers undertaking a labour agreement make a formal agreement to employ a number of overseas workers. Under the labour agreement an employer will nominate a position and the skills and experience required to fill the position.

A business may choose to make a labour agreement if there is a shortage of skills needed to fill positions that are not on the list of approved occupations for visas such as the Temporary Business (Long Stay) Sub-class 457 visa, permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

A business needs to prove that there is a need to recruit overseas skilled workers, and must make efforts to recruit from the local labour market first.
 

Employer nomination scheme (sub-class 121/856)

The employer nomination scheme (ENS) is for employers looking to sponsor highly skilled workers for a permanent visa to work in Australia. In order for a nomination or sponsorship to be approved, an eligible occupation must be available. An occupation is eligible if it is a full-time position that is available for at least three years, and is listed on the Employer Nomination Scheme Occupation List (ENSOL).

If you have an approved nomination from a business and you are living or working in Australia with a qualifying visa, then you will need to apply for a visa under sub-class 856. If you have been nominated by an employer but are working and living outside of Australia, you will need to apply for a visa under sub-class 121.
 

Regional sponsored migration scheme (sub-class 119/857)

If you are an employer operating in a regional or low population growth area, you can sponsor skilled workers from overseas to fill vacant positions in your business. In order for your business to be eligible to recruit under the regional sponsored migration scheme, your position must be located in a regional area and be available for a minimum of two years, full-time.

If you are a sponsored worker already living within Australia and holding a qualifying visa, you will need to apply for a regional sponsored migration visa under sub-class 857. If you have been nominated by an Australian employer and reside outside of Australia you will need to apply under sub-class 119. You will need to provide evidence that you have the relevant qualifications for this position.





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