Work Permits for Australia
Australia’s economy is robust and predicted to continue growing well into 2016; thus, it comes as no surprise that more and more citizens of the world will look to relocate to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide in the coming years to find lucrative employment.
However, with the exception of those moving to Australia from New Zealand, expats will need to have a work permit / work visa to legally work in this mammoth Pacific nation.
The application process may initially seem intimidating. There’s an incredible assortment of working visa categories and sub-classes, and each category seems to have its own complex requirements and strange loopholes.
On the positive side, the Australian government’s online portal, Visa Wizard, is a useful and up-to-date tool that future expats can use to find the visa that suits their industry-field, their skill set and their intentions.
Ultimately, whether one is an employer-sponsored, skilled worker, a doctor or nurse looking to practice in Oz, or a labourer looking to fill a skill shortage in the country, it’s vital that expats research the work permit process as comprehensively as possible prior to application.
Employer-Sponsored Working Visas (Permits) for Australia
Arguably the most common working visas issued in Australia, these permits are for those who have recognised skills, education and experience and who have secured a job prior to their arrival.
Applicants for this visa category must also prove that the skills and experience they bring to their company and to the country could not be found in the local citizen pool.
Employer sponsors can either be official Australian businesses or overseas businesses.
Temporary business – Long-stay working visa (Subclass 457)
This visa is the most popular among expats, and allows foreigners to work in Australia for up to four years. It is a multiple-entry visa, and expats who are successfully granted the visa can also legally bring secondary applicants, like their family, with them.
Furthermore, if expats want to change employers once legally working in Australia under this visa, there’s no need to file a new application.
According to law, expats on 457 working visas must be paid a salary that is in line with market rates; so prior to signing on the dotted line, do some research to make sure that the package offered is indeed fair.
Steps to getting a 457-Working Visa
►Employer nomination: The (future) employer sponsor must prove to the Australian government that they will meet certain responsibilities, that there is a position that exists that needs to be filled, that they can afford to pay an overseas employee a market salary rate, and that no other Australian citizen can effectively do the job.
►Secure a job and sign a contract: This step may in fact come before the previous step, but do note that unless the employer has filed a nomination and had it approved, the work permit process cannot move forward. It is more common for nominations to be approved outside of big cities in Australia.
►File a visa application: The visa application process can be done online, by post or in person; online applications are given priority. The process requires that applicants submit a number of documents that attest to their health, skills, character and level of English proficiency. Do not submit original documents, but rather submit certified copies of original documents. All documents must be submitted in English. The application can be made from abroad or within Australia.
Expats should note that the process can take a long time, in some cases several months. Thus it’s best to anticipate a long waiting period rather than a short one.
Business visas for Australia
For foreigners wishing to relocate to Australia to start a business, invest in a business or who anticipate playing a primary role in operating a new business, it’s necessary to first obtain a business working visa. As is the case with most visa categories in Australia, there are a number of visa sub-classes, and the sub-class one applies for depends upon their intention and their role in the business.
For the most part though, nearly all sub-classes in this category ultimately provide a pathway for visa holders to get a permanent, not just a temporary, visa.
Specialist working visas for Australia
As in life, there are always exceptions to the rules, and Australia’s specialist visas seem to assume this role. These visas are granted to exceptional sportspeople, artists, entertainers, academics, and any other talented individuals who want to come to the nation to engage in relevant activities. It is also the category that overseas journalists, domestic workers and religious workers should apply under.
Keep in mind that, for the most part, it is necessary to be sponsored by an eligible individual or organisation.