You may be eligible to live and work in Australia temporarily or permanently under the general skilled migration program if: 

  • you are a highly qualified and experienced professional;
  • your occupation is in high demand in Australia; and
  • you fulfil certain criteria to be eligible for the general skilled migration visa. 

You will also be able to bring your immediate family to work and live in Australia with you. To apply, you will need to:

  • submit an expression of interest; 
  • meet a minimum points threshold at the time of the invitation;
  • obtain a positive skills assessment;
  • have a competent level of English;
  • be less than 45 years old;
  • receive an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs to apply; and
  • meet certain health and character requirements.

The three types of general skilled visas are set out below.

Skilled Independent (Subclass 189): 

The subclass 189 visa is a permanent visa and does not require:

  • sponsorship by an Australian employer; or 
  • nomination by a State or Territory government. 

However, this is a competitive category. Accordingly, the majority of applicants receive an invitation if they have a minimum of 70-90 points.

It is important to check the outcome of each month’s skillselect round to get a better indication of your chances for an invitation. 

Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) 

The subclass 190 visa is a permanent visa. It requires nomination by a State or Territory government. The applicant will need a minimum of 65 points (potentially more, depending on the relevant State or Territory nomination requirements) to receive an invitation to apply. 

Skilled Work Regional Visa (Subclass 491)

The subclass 491 visa is a temporary visa. It allows the applicant to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia. To be eligible:

  • the applicant must be nominated to apply by a State or Territory government agency; or 
  • an eligible relative must sponsor the applicant. 

The applicant must also have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list. Permanent residency is available via the subclass 191 visa.

Employer Sponsored Visas

Every business knows that its success lies in the quality of its team. Sometimes a business can source excellent talent through foreign workers on temporary or permanent visas when it is unable to find talent domestically. Businesses can look at sponsoring foreign workers through three main types of employer sponsored visas. These are the: 

  1. Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (subclass 482); 
  2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 494); and
  3. Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186).

Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) Visa

Under this visa, employers need to demonstrate that they have made the effort to recruit from the Australian labour market before they lodge a nomination application. The labour market testing (LMT) must be for a period of four weeks. Employers must provide evidence and documentation of their LMT efforts when they lodge the application. In addition, they must pay a fee called the Skilling Australians Fund Charge (SAF Charge) if they choose to nominate workers for temporary and permanent work visas. 

This visa involves three stages:

  1. Business sponsorship: Australian businesses who wish to sponsor employees can sponsor under the Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS). If a business is successful in becoming a business sponsor, they may also want to consider becoming an accredited business sponsor, as this attracts certain benefits (such as faster processing times). Alternatively, foreign registered companies can sponsor employees if they satisfy certain conditions.
  2. Nomination: next, the business must nominate a position for the worker to fill. The business must select a recognised occupation from the list of occupations and it must pay an income that meets the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. For certain occupations, the employer may need to demonstrate evidence of Labour Market Testing (LMT).
  3. Visa Application: after the business has sponsored the worker and nominated an occupation and position, the worker can apply for a visa to fill the position. However, the worker will not automatically receive a visa. The worker must meet certain eligibility criteria including work experience, skills assessment, English competency assessment and health and character criteria.

If the visa is granted, it may be valid for up to four years.

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186)

This permanent visa allows sponsored employees to work in metropolitan and regional areas if they are nominated by their Australian employer. The Australian employer does not need to be an SBS or accredited sponsor (although, in most cases they are). The SAF Charge also applies to this visa. There are three pathways to this visa:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition: The employee must have been on a 457 or 482 visa for at least three years in the same occupation and with the same employer. This pathway is also available to grandfathered and transitional applicants.
  2. Direct Entry Stream: The employee will need to satisfy skills competencies and demonstrate they have been in the relevant occupation for at least three years.
  3. Labour Agreement Stream: This pathway is through a labour agreement. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department of Home Affairs) and employers.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 494)

This visa enables employers in regional areas to address labour shortages within their area by sponsoring skilled workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian worker. The applicant must be:

  • under 45 years of age; and
  • nominated by an approved work sponsor. 

They must also have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupations list

Whether you require assistance with general skilled migration visas or employer sponsored visas, our immigration team has the experience and expertise to help you navigate your way through the Australian visa application process quickly and cost-effectively.

Key Takeaways 

If you have certain skills and work experience that is in high demand in Australia, you may be eligible for a general skilled visa. Businesses can look at sponsoring foreign workers through three main types of employee-sponsored visas, namely the:

  • Temporary Skills Shortage visa;
  • Employer Nomination Scheme; and 
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa.

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