Hiring from Abroad? Here’s The 101 On Employer Sponsored Visas In Australia

If the success of your business is important to you, you’ll stop at nothing to find the right person for the job. Sometimes the right person is interstate or even overseas. If you’re looking to hire someone from abroad, you have to ensure that they secure the right visa to make it possible.

The Department of Immigration and Border Control (DIBC) oversees the issuing of work and other visas in Australia. Negotiating the tricky process of dealing with the DIBC to secure the right visa isn’t for the faint-hearted. Here’s our lowdown on employer sponsored visas in Australia.

Employer sponsored visas

Employer sponsored visas differ from many other types of Australian visa, such as a tourist visas. Employer sponsored visas allow you, as an employer, to recruit skilled workers from overseas to fill job vacancies you wouldn’t otherwise be able to fill.

Employer sponsored visas in Australia fall into two categories: Temporary visas and permanent visas. Some of the employer sponsored visas allow you to recruit a worker from overseas to fill a vacancy, but only for a finite period of time. Other types of employer sponsored visas in Australia can actually lead to your skilled worker gaining permanent residency. For this reason they can be an enticing option for a skilled worker already thinking of coming to Australia.

Generally, the framework applicable to employer sponsored visas is geared towards ensuring that these visas are only used to recruit workers to fill vacancies that can’t be filled by existing Australian workers. That way, it’s hoped that Australian workers are protected from an influx of cheaper overseas labour…and that overseas workers are protected from exploitation once they arrive here.

Becoming a sponsor for the purposes of employer sponsored work visas in Australia

In order to recruit skilled workers from abroad, you’ll have to become a sponsor. Becoming a sponsor doesn’t just rely on you meeting ongoing obligations once a visa is granted to your skilled worker. There’s a preliminary stage: You’ll have to apply for, and be granted, approval to be a sponsor. These requirements aim to ensure that dodgy businesses that are just a cover for immigration scams are detected and cannot use employer sponsored visas as a ruse for bypassing immigration laws.

Your ongoing obligations as an employer under employer sponsored visas in Australia

Once you gain approval to be a sponsor, that isn’t the end of the process. As an employer, if you want to sponsor workers to come to Australia, you’ll have a number of ongoing obligations. For example, you’ll have to:

• Ensure your worker has a current, valid visa that permits them to do the job you’ve employed them to do.

• Pay them at least the minimum wage.

• Ensure that they have certain basic workplace rights and that their working conditions comply with Australian workplace laws.

• Keep adequate records.

Believe it or not, these ongoing obligations and monitoring continue for some time after you cease to be a sponsor.

Features common to most employer sponsored visas in Australia

Most employer sponsored visas in Australia share some or all of the following requirements:


Generally speaking, your prospective employee will find it impossible to get an employer sponsored visa unless their occupation is listed in either the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL).

Qualifications, skill and experience levels

It isn’t enough for your worker to be employed in a particular occupation. For most employer sponsored visas, they’ll also have to satisfy minimum levels of skills, qualifications and experience. Depending on their job, they may have to pass a skills assessment. The skills assessment is conducted by an assessing authority. For example, if they’re a doctor, the assessing authority is the Medical Board of Australia.

English language proficiency

In most cases, the skilled worker you want to hire will also have to pass an English language test. Accepted tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), as well as a number of other tests.

Your worker’s level of English language proficiency based on the outcome of the testing is important. It also has an impact on the employer sponsored visa options open to them.


Though there are some important exceptions, your prospective employee will also have to be under a certain age. For example, applicants for many of the employer sponsored visas must be under the age of 50.

Health, good character and insurance

In many cases, they’ll also have meet certain health requirements by passing a medical examination. They’ll have to be deemed a person of good character and they will have to make arrangements for their own health insurance policy whilst in Australia. In most cases they won’t be covered by Medicare.


In some cases, your worker will have to live and work in a particular area, such as regional Australia. Again, the focus here is on addressing shortages of skilled labour.

Different types of employer sponsored visas in Australia

There are a number of employer sponsored visas in Australia. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list but here are some of the most common employer sponsored visas that may assist you to recruit skilled workers from abroad:

Temporary work (skilled) visa (subclass 457)

One of the most common visas is the temporary work (skilled) visa. As the name suggests, this visa only allows the worker you’ve recruited from abroad to come to Australia for a period up to 4 years.

Employer nomination scheme visas (subclass 186)

The employer nomination scheme visa will give a skilled worker permanent residency. There are two main streams:

1. Direct Entry: This is open to a worker who hasn’t held a temporary work (skilled) visa before but can pass the applicable skills assessment and has sufficient work experience.

2. Temporary resident transition: This is where your worker has already held a temporary work (skilled) visa (subclass 457) for at least 2 years. You can nominate them for a permanent visa under this scheme

The Agreement Scheme

If you’re an employer, in some cases, you can negotiate a labour agreement with the Australian Government. It will permit you to recruit a set number of workers from abroad where there’s a skill shortage in a particular area.

Regional sponsored migration scheme visas (subclass 187)

This type of employer sponsored visa is a pathway to Australian permanent residency in Australia. It might be open to you if you’re an employer in regional Australia and you’re struggling to fill job vacancies. Whether you’re in ‘regional Australia’ depends on your postcode applicable to your location. There is a list of designated postcodes that you can search. These visas are designed to help employers fill vacancies in rural and regional areas of Australia.

The occupational trainee stream of the training and research visa (subclass 402)

A training and research visa is another category of employer sponsored visa in Australia. In the context of running your business, this might be open to you if you’re looking to employ an occupational trainee.

Employers who are in the public sector

There are also other types of visa that are open to skilled workers who are sponsored by a state or territory government, as opposed to sponsorship by a private sector employer. For example, the Australian skilled regional sponsored visa (subclass 489) is one such option.

Taking the headache out of employer sponsored visas in Australia

As an employer, you’ve got enough on your plate without having to navigating your way through the confusing array of employer sponsored visas in Australia. At Results Migration, we can assist you to meet the requirements of becoming a sponsor. We’ll ensure that you tick all of the boxes along the way so that you can focus on what’s truly important: growing your business and finding the right people for the job.

Click here to discover other ways in which Results Migration can help to solve your Australian visa problems, or call us today on 1800 808 717.

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