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Employer sponsored visas are a great way to attract skilled workers to fill positions in your workforce that you are unable to fill locally. 

Depending on your requirements, you may be able to sponsor workers on either a temporary visa or permanent visa. Below is a brief outline of the current visa options, so if you think any of them might suit your business needs check the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website to find out:

  • the most up to date information;
  • how each visa works;
  • eligibility requirements;
  • your obligations;
  • the workers obligations; and
  • how to apply. 

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements and criteria differ widely from visa to visa but generally speaking the applicant worker must have the following:

  • a proficiency in the English language;

  • be in good health;

  • be of good character;

  • in many cases, have their skills assessed or possess relevant;

  • qualifications to the position; and

  • meet any age restrictions.

Temporary visas

Business (long stay) visa (subclass 457)

This visa allows employees to work in Australia for up to four years. They may also be able to bring in eligible family members. A business can sponsor a skilled worker if they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill a skilled position listed in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).

Labour Agreements

Labour Agreements are formal arrangements between an employer and the Commonwealth which allows for the recruitment of an agreed number of overseas skilled workers.

This program allows you to employ overseas workers on temporary or permanent visas. 

This program may be suitable for employers where occupations are not the CSOL yet a genuine skills shortage exists. This program is also suitable for those circumstances where occupations are not covered under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). It may also be suitable where a business recruits or hires labour to supply to another organisation.  

Summary table

 Visa name  Suitable for  Period visa is valid   Main features   Occupation must be on this list
 
 Business (long stay) subclass 457  Employers who need to fill temporary skilled positions in Australia for Australian and overseas businesses. 
From one day up to four years. 

Must be an eligible sponsor.

Have an eligible nominated occupation.

Have an eligible nominated employee. 

Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).
 Labour Agreements  Employers where the occupation is not on an approved list, or covered by ANZSCO or where a business recruits or hires labour to supply to another organisation. 

Up to four years for a 457 visa.

Permanent visas can also be granted.

Employer must request access to a labour agreement and then negotiate and sign the agreement with the Australian Government. 

No list. 

Occupations must be negotiated with DIBP on a case by case basis.

 

Permanent visas

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – subclass 186

If you are looking for highly skilled workers this program may meet your requirements. You must be able to offer a position that is full time and ongoing for at least two years. Workers that you sponsor may be granted permanent residence in Australia along with their dependent family members. 

This visa has three streams: Temporary Residence Transition; Direct Entry; and Agreement. More information about these streams can be found on DIBP's website.

The occupation/position you are trying to fill must be listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). 

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – subclass 187

If you are an employer in Western Australia and find it difficult to recruit highly skilled workers then this scheme may be suitable for you. You must be able to offer a position that is full time and ongoing for at least two years. Workers that you sponsor will be granted permanent residence in Australia along with their dependent family members. 

You will need to seek advice from the relevant Regional Certifying Body (RCB) for the position you are looking to fill. A list of RCBs can be found on the DIBP website

Once the RCB has provided advice on the position, the nomination of the position must then be approved by DIBP.

This visa has three streams: Temporary Residence Transition; Direct Entry; and Agreement. More information about these streams can be found on DIBP's website.

For the Direct Entry stream, the position you are trying to fill must be an occupation that is classified at skill level 1 to 3 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations.

Summary table

 Visa   Suitable for   Main features  Occupation list
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – subclass 186 Employers looking to recruit full time employees for at least two years.  The nomination of a position must be approved before the visa can be granted.  Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).
Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (subclass 187) Employers in regional areas (including Perth) looking to recruit full time employees for at least two years.  For the direct entry stream, the employer must seek advice from a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) in relation to the position to be filled. 

Occupation must be classified at skill level 1 to 3 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations for the direct entry stream.

Other visa options

The DIBP website has a visa eligibility wizard that shows a range of visas that may be available to your potential worker. Talking to a migration agent could be helpful.

A list of registered migration agents is available from the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). 

News

New process for State nomination.  Find out more.

Fun Fact
The Argyle Diamond Mine in the far north of West Australia, is the world's largest diamond mine.