Australia Work Permits and Visas

Australia Work Permits and Visas
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With major cities like Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, Australia is becoming a hub for foreign nationals and digital nomads. With this comes a growing population of remote workers — and potential partners for your company.

In addition, the Australian government is committed to improving the country’s digital landscape. The country’s Digital Economy Strategy is intended to make Australia more competitive through 5G innovation, advancements in online security, and more.

Along with the benefits of remote working come challenges that both employees and employers must consider when working with international partners. One such challenge is obtaining the correct Australian work permits.

This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the Australia immigration system by providing an overview of the work visas and permits needed if you plan to live and work in the country, as well as the Australian visa requirements employees and employers need to meet for their visas and permits to be approved.

Types of Australia Work Visas and Permits

Australia has a wide selection of work visas and permits that employees may be eligible for. However, the number of visas and permits available may also make it difficult for employees to navigate which visa they should obtain.

To avoid extending the visa and permitting process any longer than needed, employees and employers should agree upon which visa makes the most sense given the role the employee will be filling and the length of time they plan to spend in Australia.

Discussing visa and permitting options with a representative at the employee's local Australian Embassy may help avoid unnecessary complications.

Below is a list of the primary work visas employees may be eligible for, which fall into three primary categories: short-term, temporary, and permanent work visas.

Short-Term Work Visas

Temporary Work Visas

  • Temporary Graduate visa: With this visa, recent graduates can stay up to 18 months after graduation to continue studying and working.
  • Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa: This visa offers similar benefits as the previous visa but is specific to engineering graduates.
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa: Individuals with this visa can live and work outside major Australian cities for up to four years.
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa: Skilled employees can fill vacant positions that employers are struggling to fill with Australian candidates. This visa is valid for up to two years.
  • Business Innovation and Investment: This business visa entitles individuals who plan to invest in or operate businesses outside major Australian cities to live and work in the country for up to five years.

Permanent Work Visas

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Australia Work Visa Requirements

Although numerous work visas are available that may grant an employee temporary or permanent residency, each visa has unique eligibility and application requirements. This can make the process of applying for a work visa confusing and leave employees and employers vulnerable to potential complications.

Consider the requirements of some of Australia's most common work visas, outlined below. If you're applying for any visa besides the three listed below, visit the relevant government visa page to determine the eligibility and application requirements specific to that visa.

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa Requirements

The Employer Nomination Scheme Visa allows highly skilled employees to live in Australia permanently. Employees can follow multiple tracks to achieve this work visa, but some of the Australia visa requirements include the following:

  • Working in a position that is designated as relevant according to the skilled occupations list
  • Possessing a minimum of three years' work experience relevant to the position you're working in
  • Having "competent" English-speaking skills
  • Meeting the requirements needed to perform your job duties
  • Having an Australian employer nominate you for the visa
  • Meeting the minimum health requirements established by the Australian government
  • Meeting the minimum character requirements established by the Australian government

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Requirements

This visa category is currently closed to new applicants, but when open, it allows individuals to live and work in rural Australia permanently. Australia visa requirements for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme include the following:

  • Being nominated by an employer they've worked with for a minimum of three years
  • Having "competent" English-speaking skills
  • Being younger than 45

Skilled Independent Visa Requirements

With this visa, individuals invited to work in Australia can move to the country permanently. The eligibility requirements for this visa include the following:

How To Apply for Australia Work Visa and Permit

Although Australia is an excellent country for international talent, thanks to the numerous visa options available across various industries, skill sets, and age groups, obtaining necessary work requirements can be difficult because each work visa has a different set of eligibility and application criteria.

Whether you're a worker planning to move to Australia or an employer looking to hire a candidate or relocate an employee to Australia, you will need to follow the process specified when applying for the visa relevant to your needs.

Although the application process changes based on the work visa in question, employers and employees can typically take the following steps to apply for an Australian work visa successfully:

  1. Collect all relevant documentation: One of the biggest reasons a visa application may be denied or need further attention is that the applicant hasn't compiled all necessary employer and employee documentation. To avoid complications, know which documents you'll need to include with your visa application, and gather them ahead of time.
  2. Create an ImmiAccount: ImmiAccount is the online Australia immigration portal. Applicants can apply for visas and check their application status using this online tool. You can also upload relevant documents to your application with ImmiAccount.
  3. Submit your application: Whether you use an ImmiAccount to apply online or go through an Australian Embassy, you should submit your visa application to the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
  4. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) if relevant: Although not all work visas require sponsorships or nominations to be considered, several do (e.g., the Skilled Independent Visa and the Employer Nomination Scheme Visa). When an employer is required to vouch for an employee's visa standing, the employer will need to submit an EOI using the Australian government's online tool, SkillSelect.
  5. Wait to hear from an Australia immigration representative: Although navigating which visa you should apply for requires some understanding, the visa application process itself is relatively straightforward in Australia. Once you've completed your application, wait for an Australia immigration representative to reach out and request further information or update you on the status of your visa application.

Application Processing Time

The time it takes to process visa and work permit applications in Australia varies along with several factors, including the type of visa you're applying for and when and where you submit your applications.

Although application processing times are never guaranteed, the Australian government has an online tool that lets applicants estimate how long it will take for their visa application to be processed.

Planning To Hire or Work in Australia? Here's How Skuad Can Help

Australia is an island nation with a skilled workforce and a growing population of digital nomads and foreign workers.

Whether you're an individual planning to move to Australia or a company considering hiring one or more candidates in the country, Skuad can help make working together across continents seamless and beneficial to all parties.

With Skuad's global employment solutions, the decision to work with candidates and companies in foreign countries is affordable and accessible. So reach out to see how we can help you start hiring in Australia today.

Australia work visa and permit FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions regarding Australia work visas.

How can I get a work permit for Australia?

The exact process of applying for a work permit in Australia depends on which permit you’re applying for, as the Australia visa requirements vary.

However, the process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Create an ImmiAccount. With an account on the Australia immigration portal ImmiAccount, you can submit everything digitally and monitor the application process.
  2. Gather the necessary documents and complete the application. You must ensure you meet the minimum Australia visa requirements for the visa you need.
  3. Apply for your work visa. You will need to submit your work visa application to the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

Note: Some Australia work permits require the employer to submit an EOI on behalf of the employee.

How much is a work permit in Australia?

The cost of applying for a work permit in Australia varies by the type of permit. The typical cost of an Australia work permit is 4,045 AUD ($2,732).

Some visas carry different costs:

  • A temporary work visa costs 310 AUD ($209).
  • A Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa costs 360 AUD ($243).
  • A Temporary Skill Shortage visa costs 1,265 AUD ($854).

Can Americans get a work permit in Australia?

If you’re an American, you can live and work in Australia. However, whether you can obtain a work visa for the country will depend on meeting the Australia work visa requirements, and the duration of your stay will depend on the type of visa you receive.

How long can you stay in Australia with a work permit?

How long you can live and work in Australia will depend on the work visa you obtain. Factors that can affect the types of visa you’re eligible for include your age, job title, and employer.

Typically, an Australia work visa falls into one of three categories:

  • Short-term visa: This type of Australia work visa is somewhat of a misnomer, as some short-term visas are valid for up to four years. However, the amount of time you can stay in Australia with a short-term visa will depend on the visa.
  • Temporary visa: With this type of Australia work visa, you can live and work in Australia for a duration specific to the type of visa you receive. Temporary visas last longer than short-term ones and are typically valid for a period between 18 months and five years.
  • Permanent visa: With this type of Australia work visa, you can live and work in Australia indefinitely. These work visas are typically reserved for highly skilled workers.  

Is it hard to get an Australian work permit?

Getting an Australian work permit is easier for some than others. In Australia, your ability to obtain a work permit depends on how you score on the country’s points-based visa eligibility system.

For your visa application to be considered, you will need to score at least 65 points. Factors that can affect the number of points you receive include:

  • Education level
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • English fluency

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