Visas

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Visas, Work Permits and Migration

Australia is an exciting and desirable nation for global expansion. It has been ‘recession free’ for the past 30 years and has a high level of disposable income which means money in peoples’ pockets – a great environment for businesses. Companies or individuals planning to move to this thriving economy need the correct documentation to enter, work and live within its borders which are stringently guarded. International companies targeting Australia for international expansion face unraveling the complexities of work permit, visa, and immigration laws if they intend to move existing staff into the country.

Few companies have these resources, or the time. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO-service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence. Our team is trained to research the latest information on Australian visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. This guide highlights the complexities of obtaining the necessary documentation.

What types of Visas and Work Permits for Australia are there?

Visiting, working, or expanding your business in a foreign country means exploring all the visa options and there are many for Australia. Everyone needs a visa before entering the country, unless Australian, or New Zealand citizens who can apply for a visa on entry. Plus, there is a Special Category Visa (SCV) which allows them to visit, study, stay and work – also applied for on arrival. All other nationalities require visas which need to be applied for from outside Australia. For visitors or businesspeople, there are online e-Visas / Electronic visa services (for some nationalities free of charge) However, these do not cover paid work. First it is important to know which visa is required as they can prove expensive, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Individuals and companies must also be aware of eligibility; employers are expected to familiarize themselves with immigration laws and workers’ rights. Another area that Bradford Jacobs specializes in.

Categories of Visa

This government site provides a tool to check on the right category for each individual’s needs. Visitors and Tourists: For holidays (working or for pleasure) and unpaid business activities. Travelers must apply for:

  • An Electronic Travel Authority, which has 12-months’ validity when people can visit Australia for three months at a time as a tourist, visiting family or as a business visitor, at a cost of AU$20 (€12.80, US$14.40). Applicants must check eligibility and apply online.
  • Tourist Stream Visa for three, six or 12 month stays to visit friends, cruise passengers or for a holiday. It comes with a fee of AU$145 (€93.13, US$104.30), and must be applied for from outside Australia.

Other types of visas (besides work) that can be applied for include:

  • Study: For studying or training
  • Permanent residence: To live in Australia
  • Family Visas: To join visa holders who are partners or family
  • Humanitarian: For example, refugees
  • Work Visas: There are several routes which depend on age, experience, skill set, qualifications and English language skills. Some visas can limit the type of work allowed or the hours permitted:
  • Regional Migration Visas: are designed to attract workers/migrants to improve regional areas
  • Temporary/Provisional Visas: for limited projects or contracts, usually attached to specific employers which can lead to a permanent visa. Some may need sponsorship.
  • Short Stay Visas: Young persons on a working holiday, seasonal workers, or those on the Pacific Labor Scheme.
  • Permanent Work Visas: Regional, skilled, business investment, sponsored, exceptionally talented people.
  • Skilled Occupation Visas: People to train or work in a skilled eligible occupation.
  • SkillSelect: This route can be used when seeking sponsorship from a potential employer and so increase the possibilities of obtaining a visa. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). There is no fee for this service.

Main Work Permit and Employment-Based Visas

The following allow skilled and professional foreign workers, who have been either invited, nominated, or sponsored, to live and work in the country on a permanent or temporary basis:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Visa (subclass 186) permanent residency
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visa (subclass 187)
  • Skilled Nominated Visa
  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482)
  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489) sponsored via government or a relative.
  • Also, through the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program and SkillSelect.

Employers will need to understand the minimum salary that is required to be paid to foreign workers in particular subclasses e.g., 482, 186 187, with regards to the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR). This is necessary so as not to undermine the Australian labor market. For instance, the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) at the end of 2020 was AU$53,900 (€34,620, US$38,780). Also, employers may need to advertise the position in order to test the labor market by offering the position to an Australian citizen.

How to obtain an Australian Work Visa?

There are many different categories of Work Visa. Suitability and eligibility depends on a number of factors, including length of stay, occupation and whether it is on the skill shortage list, age, experience, skill set, qualifications and command of English. Some visas may limit the type of work allowed or the hours permitted. Those of interest to companies to obtain the main work and employment visa for employees:

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Visa (subclass 186)

  • Will require a skills assessment although there are exceptions
  • Job on the list for eligible skilled occupations
  • Except in certain circumstances, be under 45 years old
  • Read and understand the ‘Life in Australia’ booklet, then sign the ‘Australian Values Statement’
  • Need to be proposed by employer
  • Meet requisite character and health requirements
  • Be competent in the English language

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visa (Subclass 187

  • An approved employer nomination regarding employment in regional Australia
  • For this visa, the employer is based in a selected region
  • Will require a skills assessment although there are exceptions
  • Job on the list for Regional occupations list (ROL)
  • Except in certain circumstances, be under 45 years old
  • Meet requisite character and health requirements
  • Be competent in the English language
  • Read and understand the ‘Life in Australia’ booklet, then sign the ‘Australian Values Statement’
  • Relevant work history of at least three years
  • Commitment of 2 years employment with nominating employer

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482)

  • To provide skilled workers not found in the Australian population.
  • Applicant requires a job that is listed on the Consolidated Skilled Occupations list
  • Nominated by an Australian employer who has made a job offer
  • Possess relevant qualifications and skill set for the job offered
  • Two years of relevant work experience
  • Be competent in English
  • Provide proof of good character and good health

General Skilled Migration (GSM) program through SkillSelect

This is a points-based route for skilled foreign workers to obtain a Work Visa to live and work in Australia. It can use SkillSelect as a tool which facilitates matching employers to potential employees. Requirements:

  • Minimum 60 points
  • Under 45 years old
  • Proficient in English
  • Job on Occupation Skills List
  • A positive Skills Assessment
  • Proof of health and good character
  • Not previously refused a visa or had one cancelled
  • Have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) – not required if the applicant has a job offer from an Australian company

All of the above need to be met, otherwise the application will be refused.

NOTE: Employers will need to understand the minimum salary that is required to be paid to foreign workers in particular subclasses e.g., 482, 186 187, regarding the annual market salary rate (AMSR). This is necessary so as not to undermine the Australian labor market. For instance, the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) end of 2020 was AU$53,900 (€34,620, US$38,780). A labor market test may be required for some visas.