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Australia Work Visas – Types of Australian Visas for Foreign Workers

Australia is notoriously strict regarding visas and entering the country, but according to the Parliament of Australia, nearly 200,000 people a year migrate to Australia.

It’s recommended that you apply for your visa at least 4 months before you plan to travel to ensure your visa gets approved and there’s time to sort out any issues if needed.

Types of Australian Work Visa

Anyone can apply for Australian work visas if they are at least 18 years old. The type of visa you get will vary based on the work you intend to do in Australia.

1. Short Stay Work Visas

A short-stay work visa is like a special work permit for anyone seeking short-term employment in Australia.

Short-term refers to a period of three to six months of employment. You can obtain your visa with a petition from a locally registered company. It is also known as the Subclass 400 Visa. It allows skilled employees to enter Australia for highly specialized work. 

Examples of short-stay work visas:

  • Working Holiday Maker Visa – It is available for young adults who want to have a holiday in Australia and work to fund their holiday.

  • Seasonal Work Visa – This visa is awarded to workers hired seasonally to fill employment and workforce gaps.

  • Temporary and Specialist Visa – This visa is for workers hired for highly specialist work on a short-term basis.

Seasonal Work Visa is awarded to workers hired seasonally

2. Temporary Visa

A temporary work visa allows an individual to work in Australia temporarily. Certain conditions apply to this type of visa, such as only being allowed to work for a particular employer or do specific work.

One example of a temporary visa is the provisional visa. This visa enables you to apply for a permanent work visa once you have completed your provisional visa.

Regional visas are also an example of temporary work visas. They are offered to skilled migrants and their dependent family members who are going to work and live in regional Australia. 

Examples of temporary work visas in Australia: 

  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (requires sponsorship)

  • Temporary Graduate Visa 

  • Skilled Regional Visa

  • Business Innovation and Investment Visa

3. Permanent Visa

Anyone with a permanent work visa in Australia is also considered a permanent resident. There are numerous classifications of the permanent work visa, so pick the one that is right for you.

  • Regional Visa – It is available for skilled migrants working and living in regional Australia. An example of this is the Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme.

  • Skilled Migration Visa – it is available for skilled migrants that want to live and work anywhere in Australia.

  • Global Talent Visa – It is available for individuals with an internationally recognized record of outstanding achievement in a particular field, such as Distinguished Talent and Global Talent pathway. 

  • Business Investment Visa – It is available for investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners wanting to pursue a business activity in Australia. It can also be given to someone who wants to work on an existing business activity.

Skilled Work Visa enables US citizens to live and work in Australia

How to Apply for a Working Visa in Australia?

Applying for an Australia work visa is a simple process that can be done online via the website.

It’s recommended that you apply for your visa at least 4 months before you plan to travel to ensure your visa gets approved and there’s time to sort any issues if needed.

The process of Visa Applications:

  1. Create an online account on the website.

  2. After some careful research, select the visa type that you want to apply for. 

  3. Complete the form online making sure to correctly answer everything and do not lie (You will be deported if you’re found out!).

  4. Attach all the necessary documents (this is different for every visa, but usually these things are needed).

  5. Pay the application fee.

  6. Submit the application.

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for a decision from the Australian government. This can take several days, weeks or even months, so be patient. If your application is approved, you’ll be issued a visa and you’ll be able to travel to Australia.

Please note that immigration policies and visa costs may change over time, so it’s essential to check with the official Australian government website for the most up-to-date information. 

Visa Tests & Assessments

Some visas require certain tests or checks before you are eligible to be accepted. 

Skills Assessment

For a skilled visa you may have to complete an IELTS or PTE test as proof of English language proficiency, even if you’re coming from an English speaking country. You will be tested on your written, listening and spoken English capabilities.

You can find out more here and here. I had to do this to gain more points for my visa application.

Health Examination

You may also need to undergo a health examination before you are granted a visa. This will include a medical examination, a blood test, possibly an x-ray and tests for certain diseases such as HIV or TB. You can find out more here.

Criminal Record

You might also have to complete a criminal record check. This will involve a check from every country, including Australia, that you have lived in for longer than 12 months over the last 10 years.

Skilled Workers

Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent visa) and Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated visa): These visas are for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer or family member but have skills that are in demand in the Australian job market.

The State Sponsored Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190): This visa enables skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory to live and work in Australia as permanent residents.

Cost: The application fee for Subclass 189 and Subclass 190 starts at around AUD 4640.

Processing time: The average processing time can vary significantly, but it may take several months to over a year due to high demand but 90% of applications are processed within 8 months.

Subclass 491 Skilled Regional visa:The 491 visa allows skilled workers to live in a regional area of Australia for up to five years.

Cost: The application fee for Subclass 491 starts at around approx AUD 4640.
See the other skilled visa here.

Skilled Occupation List

The skilled occupation list for Australia is a list of occupations that are considered to be in demand in Australia. The list is updated every 6 months to reflect changes in the Australian economy and labour market.

The in demand jobs are divided into two categories: Medium and Long Term Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short Term Skills List (STSOL). Occupations on the MLTSSL are considered to be in high demand in Australia, and occupations on the STSOL are considered to be in demand in specific regions of Australia.

You can find the full list of skilled occupations on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.

Employer Sponsorship

Employer sponsorship is a way for an approved australian employer to bring workers with relevant skills from overseas to work in Australia.

The employer must first prove to the Australian government that there are no appropriate workers available in Australia currently before being able to sponsor a worker from overseas. In most cases, if you get approved for an employer sponsored visa, you don’t need to pay for it yourself!

There are a number of different visa options available for employer-sponsored workers, depending on the type of work they will be doing in Australia.

The most common visa is the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, which is available for workers in occupations that are on the Medium and Long Term Skills List (MLTSSL). Other options include the Skilled Independent visa and the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS visa). 

Requirements For Sponsored Work Visa

To obtain sponsorship from an employer, the worker must meet a number of requirements, including:

  • Having the skills and qualifications required for the position

  • Being offered a full-time job with an Australian employer

  • Having a salary that meets the relevant Australian salary level

  • Being able to speak and understand English

  • Not having any criminal convictions

The employer must also meet a number of requirements, including:

  • Being a registered business in Australia

  • Having the financial capacity to pay the worker’s salary and other costs

  • Being able to provide the worker with suitable accommodation

If you are already working in Australia and are interested in applying for an employer-sponsored visa to extend your stay in Oz, you should contact your HR and ask them for more information or an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent for advice.

Tips for a Successful Visa Application

If you want your visa application for Australia approved, you need to consider these tips upon application:

  • Pick the correct visa type for your trip to Australia. Various visa types are available to US citizens, and each type has different requirements. 

  • Be honest, especially if you are applying for a work visa. Be truthful when answering the questions on your application form. Any false information or misrepresentation could result in your visa application being rejected.

  • Give yourself time. Ensure you provide sufficient time to process your visa application. 

  • Follow up with authorities if you have yet to hear an update within a reasonable time frame. 

  • Be prepared for a visa interview. Applicants who do not qualify for the ETA might be required to show up at the nearest Australian embassy for an interview. Take all the essential documents with you for the scheduled interview. You will be asked questions to verify the information in your application, to assess your visa qualification. 

There are plenty of resources online to learn how to apply for a working visa in Australia as a US citizen. If you are unsure about visa application requirements, contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs under the Immigration and Citizenship department for clarification.

Permanent Residency

If you decide that you would like to stay in Australia on a permanent visa you may wish to apply for permanent residency.

To become a permanent resident of Australia, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.

  • You must have a valid passport.

  • You must be able to support yourself financially.

  • You must meet the health and character requirements.

Once you have met the requirements, you can apply for a permanent visa. There are many different types of permanent visas available, so you will need to choose the one that is right for you.

Application Process

The application process can be complex, so it is important that if you are not sure that you get help from a qualified agent or immigration lawyer. The agent or lawyer can help you understand the requirements, fill out the application form, and gather the necessary documents.

The cost of applying for a permanent visa varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for. You will also need to pay a visa application charge.

The processing time for a permanent visa can vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. It can take several months or even years to get a decision depending on if you apply offshore or onshore in Australia.

If your application is successful, you will be granted a permanent visa and be allowed to stay in the country indefinitely.

The Australia Work Visa

Trying to get a visa, even one on a temporary basis, may seem overwhelming at the start. However, there are many options meaning there should always be something suitable for you and your skills.

As long as you have completed the necessary research and are able to demonstrate to the relevant Australian Department of Home Affairs that you being there is in Australia’s interests, you should be able to qualify for an Australia work visa.

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