Australia is a dynamic country with a strong economy. It provides many opportunities for skilled talent. Australia work permit visa is in demand for several reasons, including:
- awesome social benefits (like free healthcare),
- excellent career opportunities in different sectors,
- high wages and high quality of life,
- modern multicultural cities, and
- a stable economy with a 2.5% growth rate per annum on average.
All employees in Australia (including foreign nationals) enjoy the same workplace protections and rights.
What are the different types of Working Visa Australia one may apply for?
A person interested in working in Australia may apply for:
- Short stay work visas
- Temporary work visas
- Permanent work visas
- Visas for Innovation or Global Talent Program
- Regional migration visas
- General Skilled Migration Program or SkillSelect
Short stay work visas
Working Holiday Maker visas: These visas are meant for young adults from specific countries who want to have an extended holiday in Australia and find some work to fund it. These include:
- Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462): It is meant for people who are 18 to 30 years old, are not accompanied by dependent children, and are from an eligible country. It costs $485 and allows you to stay and work in Australia for 12 months. You can study in Australia on this visa for four months and travel to and from Australia as many times as you want. If you work for three months while holding your first 462 visa, you are eligible to apply for the second visa in this category. If you work for six months in Australia while holding your second Work and Holiday visa, you can apply for this visa for the third time.
Consult Visa2Immigration Australian visa experts to know if you are eligible for this visa.
- Working holiday visa (subclass 417): 18 to 30-year-olds with no dependent children having a passport from an eligible country may also apply for visa 417. Canadian, French, and Irish people are allowed in Australia on Working Holiday visa for up to 35 years. Like visa 462, it also allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months, study for four months, and travel to and from Australia as many times as you want. First-timers can work in Australia on this visa for three months. Second Working Holiday visa allows you to work for six months. If you have already held first and second visas, you may apply for third Working Holiday Visa too. 417 visa also costs $485.
Visa2Immigration experts point out that unlike subclass 462 visa applicants; subclass 417 visa applicants do not need a letter of support from their home country or to fulfil educational requirements, language requirements.
Citizens of Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA, and Uruguay can apply for visa 462. Citizens of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Cyprus, Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UK are eligible to apply for visa 417.
Pacific and Seasonal Work visas: People endorsed to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Program have to opt for the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) under the relevant stream.
The validity of the Pacific Labour scheme stream can be up to 3 years during which you can work in rural and regional areas of Australia. People from Pacific Island countries (such as Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) invited by an eligible Australian employer and endorsed by DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) can apply for this visa. It costs AUD 310.
The validity of the Skilled Worker Program stream may be up to 9 months. It also costs AUD 310. Citizens of specific countries in the Pacific Island region can sign up as a seasonal labourer in selected industries in Australia where local labour is not easily available. Low and unskilled vacancies in Agriculture, Aquaculture, Accommodation (in certain locations), Cane, Cotton, and Horticulture sectors are covered under this visa stream.
Temporary Activity and Specialist visas: If you are going to Australia for a highly specialized work for the short term, you need to apply for:
Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408): You might need sponsorship for some programs under this visa subclass. If you are sponsored or supported by the Australian Government to participate in certain events it endorses, you can apply for this visa. It is valid for up to 4 years and costs AUD 310. You can stay and work in Australia during the duration of the event. Skilled workers from the critical industry sector can apply for the visa now for free under the COVID-9 Pandemic event and get a visa valid up to 12 months. Medical professionals and skilled workers in agriculture, food processing, health care, child care, aged care, and disability sectors can look into this visa now.
Visa2Immigration Australia visa specialists say that with this visa, you may stay in Australia if you are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions later and continue to work in your chosen sector until the pandemic continues.
Temporary Activity visas are also available for:
Domestic Work for Executives. Maids and servants of senior foreign executives are granted this Australian work permit visa which can be valid for up to 2 years. They may be allowed to bring in their families and can only engage in full-time domestic work in the household of executives who bring them in.
Entertainment Activities. This temporary working visa Australia allows you to work in the entertainment industry (as performers or production or support staff in live productions, television shows, and films) for up to 2 years. You can bring along your family too.
Exchange Arrangements: In case of a staff exchange with an Australian organisation, you and your family may be granted visa subclass 408 under this stream which will remain valid for up to 2 years.
Invited Participant (for other social and cultural activities such as community-based events or sports events). The visa under this stream is valid for up to 3 months and family members can live with you during this period.
Religious Work (if you are doing full-time religious work for a religious institution in Australia). Visa subclass 408 under this stream can be valid for up to 2 years. You and your family members can stay in Australia together on this visa.
Research Activities (if you are participating in a research project in research or tertiary institution in Australia). Under this stream, a visa can be valid up to 2 years and researchers or participants can bring along their family members on this visa.
Special Program (such as youth exchange, cultural enrichment or community programs, gap year school volunteering or school language assistant programs that are approved). Visa 408 under this stream may be valid for up to 12 months. You can bring in your family on this visa.
Sporting Activities (for trainees of a sporting organisation, players, coaches, instructors and adjudicates for an Australian team). Visa 408 for sporting activities may be valid for up to 2 years and you can bring in your family unit with you.
Superyacht Crew. Crew members of superyachts in Australia need to apply for this visa which allows them to stay and work in Australia for up to 12 months.
Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400): This visa is valid for up 3 months. You may be granted visa valid up to 6 months if you have a strong case. You are granted this visa for doing highly specialized jobs in Australia where skills are not available in the Australian labour market and the work is likely to be completed in 6 months or less. One can only work in the designated job on this visa.
Temporary work visas
A temporary work visa may allow you to work with a certain employer or do a specific type of work and has a designated expiry date. A provisional visa is also a temporary visa but it allows you to apply for the permanent visa related to it later. Some of the most popular temporary visas are:
Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482): Skilled workers who have the right skills for the job, meet the English language requirements, and are sponsored by an approved employer can apply for visa 482. It has four streams:
Short-Term Stream is usually valid for up to 2 years. If the ITO (International Trade Obligation) applies, visa subclass 482 can be valid up to 4 years. People from Hong Kong can stay in Australia on this visa for up to 5 years. The TSS stream visa costs AUD 1,265. Your occupation must be on one of the Short-Term Skilled Occupations Lists (STSOL) to be eligible for this visa.
- Medium-Term Stream is valid up to 4 years though Hong Kongers can stay up to 5 years on this visa. This working visa Australia costs AUD 2,645 and your occupation must be on the Regional Occupation List (ROL) or the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) to apply for it.
- Labour Agreement stream is valid for a maximum of 4 years (5 years for Hong Kongers). It also costs AUD 2,645. Employers must have a Labour Agreement with the Australian government to source skilled workers under this stream.
- Subsequent Entrant stream is meant for family members of the TSS visa (subclass 482) or visa subclass 457 holders. They can stay in Australia as long as the visa of the primary visa holder is valid.
Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485): This visa is meant for international students in Australia who want to work in Australia after they have finished their studies. They must be under 50 years of age, hold an eligible visa, and have recently graduated from a course registered with CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students). It costs AUD 1,650. Hong Kongers can stay and work in Australia for 5 years on this visa but for other nationalities, the validity period of visa 485 is much lower. There are two streams under this visa:
- Graduate Work stream: International students who have recently graduated and have skills relevant to any of the occupations listed on the skilled occupation list can apply under this stream. It allows you to bring your family with you. It is valid for up to 18 months.
- Post-Study Work stream: it allows International students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution to stay and work in Australia for 2 to 4 years (depending on their qualification). You can bring your family to the country on this visa.
- Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa (subclass 476): Recent engineering graduates (who have graduated with an engineering degree from a specified institution within the past 2 years) who wish to live, work or study in Australia for up to 18 months should apply for this visa. They must be under 31 years of age though. This visa costs AUD 405. Visa subclass 476 or 485 holders cannot apply for this visa.
- Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489): This visa is the right option for skilled workers interested in working in regional Australia. With this visa, you also have an option to apply for the Skilled Regional (Permanent) visa (subclass 887) later. It has three pathways:
- Invited pathway: This temporary visa is closed for new applications since Skilled Work Regional Permanent visa (subclass 491) was introduced in November 2019. It is valid for 4 years and allowed one to live, work and study in a specified region of Australia. One had to be nominated by the state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible relative, pass the skills assessment test and the points test, and have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list to be invited to apply for the visa.
- Extended Stay pathway: People already holding a visa subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 can apply for an extended stay pathway 489 visa. It allows you to stay and work in Australia for four years from the date their current visa was granted. Its costs AUD 360.
- Subsequent Entry pathway: This visa is meant for family members of someone who is holding visa 475, 487, 489, 495 or 496. Family members can stay, study, and work in regional Australia until the visa of primary visa holder is valid. It costs AUD 4,045.
This provisional business visa is valid for 4 years and 3 months. Visa2Immigration Australian visa consultants say that it is crucial to pick up the correct stream when you choose this visa. Various streams covered under this visa are:
- Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188): An applicant has to be nominated by a state or territory government agency in Australia or Austrade and be invited to apply for visa 188. On this visa, one can own and manage a business in the country and do an entrepreneurial or investment activity on Australia. You have to submit Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect to apply for the visa.
- Business Innovation stream: This provisional visa is meant for someone who wants to operate a new or existing business in Australia. It costs AUD 5,375. You need to score at least 65 on the points test, present proof of your business success and have total net personal and business assets of at least AUD 800,000. You may include your partner's assets to match this number.
- Business Innovation Extension stream: Those who hold the Business Innovation stream 188 visa can apply for this visa to stay in Australia for two more years (or 4 more years if COVID-19 concessions continue). It means that you can stay in Australia for six years to manage a business overall. The BI extension visa costs AUD 645. You can apply for the extension after 3 years of holding the visa subclass 188 under the Business Innovation stream. It opens up an opportunity to apply for the permanent business visa (subclass 888) under the same stream.
- Investor stream: People interested in investing AUD 1.5 million in Australian state or territory can apply for this visa if they get nominated by a government agency. It costs AUD 5,375. One has to score at least 65 points in the points test and has a net personal, business and investment assets worth 2.5 million. It opens a pathway to apply for the permanent visa (subclass 888) later.
- Significant Investor stream: Those who want to invest 5 million or more in Australia should apply under this stream. You do not need to meet the points test requirement to be a significant investor but you must have a genuine interest in living in the state or territory that nominates you. You may apply for the permanent business visa (subclass 888) as a significant investor later.
- Significant Investor Extension stream: This provisional business visa allows you an extension of 4 more years and costs AUD 645. It means that a significant investor can stay in Australia for eight years after the grant of their first SI visa. You can apply for an extension after holding the 188 visa as a significant investor for at least three years. You can apply for the permanent visa 888 later if you fulfil all the other eligibility requirements.
- Premium Investor stream: It is meant for those who are nominated by Austrade and intend to invest at least AUD 15 million in Australia or make philanthropic contributions to the country. It costs AUD 9,455 and makes one eligible to apply for the permanent visa 888 under the Premium Investor stream.
Skilled immigrants and their dependent family members may also apply for:
- Entrepreneur stream: If you have a successful business record and a funding agreement of AUD 200,000 or more with a third party to carry out entrepreneurial activities in Australia, you can apply for the 188 visa under this stream. You must have at least competent English level and a good business plan to win the nomination. It costs AUD 4,045 and opens up a path to apply for a permanent business visa under the same stream later.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491): People nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member may apply for visa 491 to live and work in regional Australia.
- Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494): Employers in regional Australia may sponsor people to work with them. These employees need to apply for visa 494.
Permanent work visas
You need a permanent working visa Australia to become a PR (permanent resident) there. The types of permanent Australian work permits you can apply for are:
- Regional Visas for Skilled Migrants: It is meant for skilled migrants interested in living and working in regional Australia. These include:
Those who already hold visa 457 or visa 482 (the TSS visa) and have worked full-time for three years as a skilled worker for your employer in regional Australia can apply for the TF transition stream. It costs AUD 4,045. This visa allows you to apply for Australian citizenship later if you are eligible.
- Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme (subclass 187): A skilled worker nominated by an approved Australian employer in regional Australia can apply for this permanent Australia work permit if he or she is under 45 years of age and meets all other requirements (such as English language competency, qualifications and skills). It had two streams - Direct Entry (DE) stream, and Temporary Residence (TR) Transition stream. But the DE stream is not accepting new applications since November 16, 2019.
To qualify for visa subclass 191, one must have lived in Australia for at least three years with a taxable income. All the primary and secondary applicants for this visa must have complied with the visa rules and regulations they have held earlier.
- Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa (subclass 191): This is a new visa program which will commence from November 16, 2022. It is meant for people who have already lived, worked and studied in regional Australia earlier. It allows one to stay, study and work anywhere in Australia, sponsor eligible relatives for PR, and apply for Australian citizenship later.
- Skilled Migration Visas: On these visas, skilled migrants can live and work anywhere in Australia.
- Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186): Skilled workers nominated by eligible Australian employers and meet health and character requirements can apply for this visa to become permanent residents of Australia. It costs AUD 4,045. Visa subclass 186 has three streams:
- Direct Entry stream: If you have at least Competent English level, your occupation is on the relevant skilled occupations list and is nominated by an employer in Australia, you can apply for the direct entry to the country. In most cases, you need at least 3 years of relevant work experience. You will also need a positive skills assessment when you apply for this visa. It opens your gateway for Australian citizenship.
- Labour Agreement stream: If your employer has a labour agreement with the Australian government, you can apply for the PR work visa under this stream.
- Temporary Residence Transition stream: Skilled workers who have worked with the employers nominating them for at least three years and hold a 457 visa or the TSS visa or related bridging visa can apply for this visa.
- Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189): You need to be invited to apply for this visa. New Zealand citizens may apply for it directly. Skilled Independent visa allows you to live and work anywhere in Australia. It costs AUD 4,045 and has two streams:
- Points Tested stream: Skilled workers under 45 years of age can apply for this if they do have a sponsor and are not nominated by anyone. Your occupation must be present on the relevant skilled occupation list (SOL), satisfy the points test, and have a positive skills assessment done for their occupation. This stream allows you to become an Australian citizen later.
- New Zealand stream: This one is meant for New Zealanders (hold visa subclass 444) who have worked in Australia for at least 5 years and settled there on or before February 19, 2016.
- Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190): Nominated skilled workers with a suitable skills assessment for their occupation (which must be present on the relevant SOL). It allows visa holders to work and study anywhere in Australia, sponsor eligible relatives for Australian permanent residence, and become an Australian citizen later.
- Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887): If you have lived in regional Australia for at least two years and worked there for at least a year in their field, you can apply for this visa. It costs AUD 415 and allows you to apply for Australian citizenship later.
- Business Investment Visas: Entrepreneurs, investors and business owners can opt for these Australian PR visas:
- Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888): Visa subclass 188, 444, and 457 holders can apply for this visa in the relevant stream to continue their business and investment activities in Australia. It costs AUD 2,590.
- Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132): If you have the required funding or assets and are nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency, you can apply for this visa under one of the two following streams:
- Significant Business History stream: Experienced business owners with a net value of at least AUD 1.5 million, have an annual business turnover of at least AUD 3 million for two of the recent four years, and have total net assets of AUD 400,000 or more in two of the recent four years are eligible to apply for this visa.
This visa costs AUD 7,855.
- Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream: People who have got venture capital funding from the Australian Investment Council (AIC) of at least AUD 1 million can apply for visa subclass 132 stream.
- Distinguished Talent Visas: People with internationally-recognised and outstanding achievements in their fields can apply for these visas:
- Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 124): Professionals, sportspersons, artists, and academicians and researchers from overseas who have exceptional achievements in their fields can apply for this visa if they are nominated by an Australian citizen or PR or eligible Australian organizations or New Zealand citizens.
These visas cost AUD 4,110.
- Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 858): People with outstanding achievements already living in Australia can apply for this PR working visa Australia. They need to be sponsored or nominated to be eligible for visa subclass 858.
Visas for Innovation or Global Talent Program
Like all other countries, Australia is also trying to attract the brightest and best global talent. It offers three dedicated visa programs for people with exceptional achievements in their fields. These include:
In 2019-2020, 5,000 places were available under this program. Professionals in future-focused sectors who can drive innovation and the tech economy have higher chances of getting accepted for this program. You can consult Visa2Immigration Global Talent specialists to see if you are eligible for the Global Talent Independent (GTI) visa program.
- Global Talent Visa Program: Also known as the Global Talent Independent Program, this streamlined pathway is designed to attract highly talented individuals with cutting-edge skills in the targeted industry or sector. People with bright entrepreneurial ideas or who can drive innovation in Australia, create new jobs, and contribute to Australia's economy can apply for this program.
Employers sponsoring a talented worker under this program have to prove that they have not been able to fulfil their vacancies through local job markets or existing skilled visa programs. The individuals sponsored under the GTES program need to act as ‘job multipliers’ which means:
- Global Talent Employer Sponsored (GTES) Program: Highly-skilled migrants in niche occupations are invited to apply under the GTES program to promote innovation in Australian businesses and strengthen its start-up ecosystem.
Since the employers are highly-skilled, they are not restricted by the Australian skilled occupation lists. It has two streams:
- they will create new jobs, or
- transfer related knowledge and skills to Australian workers.
In case a position ceases to exist, the visa holder has 60 days to find a new sponsor or depart Australia.
- Established Business stream: This stream allows eligible employers to sponsor up to 20 highly-skilled workers per year. The visa criteria are more flexible than the TSS visa and offer age cap concessions. It has a simpler application process and the processing time is faster for the GTI or the GTES programs. One can apply for permanent residence after three years.
Business Innovation and Investment Program (visa subclass 188): You can read the details of this visa in detail above.
- Startup stream: It allows eligible startups in tech-based or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields to source talent from across the world. A startup can invite as many as 5 highly-skilled workers per year under this program. It offers all facilities like the EB stream.