The Australian Government has strict rules about non-Australians working in Australia.
Employers must only employ legal workers, or face fines and in some cases criminal charges.
Job seekers need work rights to start a job in Australia, or face visa cancellation and removal from Australia.
Major changes to the work visa system were announced on 18 April 2017. Click Here for details
Temporary options include
- Sponsored work visa (subclass 457)
- There are also options for religious workers, graduates in Australia, entertainers, seasonal workers and many others.
Permanent options include
- Employer Nomination Scheme
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
- Skilled Migration (under the points test)
- There are also options for business people, investors, distinguished talents and many others.
All Australian employers have a legal obligation to check people they employ have appropriate work rights. There are stiff penalties for employing a worker without work rights, or allowing work in breach of a visa conditions. There is an online system so employers can check the status of prospective employees before employing them. You can also check current employees, to make sure they are legitimate. We strongly recommend you use it. It only takes a few minutes and gives you confidence that you are complying with the law. You can access it here.
For both employers and workers, deciding what is your best work visa option is a complex question. Here are some key considerations:
- How long will it take to get the visa? When is the worker required? What are the short term solutions to bridge the gap? Good advance planning can often avoid periods of uncertainty.
- What will it cost? There is a huge difference between the cheapest and most costly options.
- Can the application be made in Australia? Will the worker be eligible for that? Can a worker stay while their application is under consideration? What are their work rights? Do they have access to health care services? If a visa is refused, is there a backup option? What should be done now to ensure that a backup option is not undermined by the application?
- Will the worker meet the Australian Government’s skill benchmarks? Will a formal skill assessment be required? How can a worker who is excellent but has poor paperwork qualify? Will an English language test be required?
- Which visas require the employer to bear sponsorship obligations? What are the obligations? How onerous are they? Does the Australian Government check on compliance? How and when would it do that? What can be done to avoid problems with the Australian Government? What kinds of events or incidents can draw the attention of the Australian Government?
- Is a medical examination or police clearances required? What are the requirements? What is the process?
- Are there alternatives? A good plan considers all possibilities and alternatives. Employers and workers may have other options (for both permanent and temporary visas) that can add convenience and safety to a visa plan.
There are many options within the work visas system, and some flexibility within these options.
A tailored solution can often be found to suit business needs.
- Staff on temporary work visas can be upgraded to permanent residence.
- Staff can be sourced urgently for special short-term projects, then upgraded to a more substantial visa