How Do I Apply For an Australian Work Visa?

March 11, 2024

visa application

Are you looking for the next big adventure in your life? Working overseas is a great way to experience a new culture and meet new people – and it can also look great on your resume.

There are many reasons why Australia is a desirable place to work and live – the temperate climate, the low density population, and the laid back lifestyle. It’s also a great place for domestic travel. Australia has beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, a vast desert outback, and places to ski. You can experience it all in Australia.

If you’ve decided you’d like to work in Australia, you will need an Australian work visa. Firstly, you need to apply for a visa through the Department of Home Affairs. The type of visa you apply for will depend on your skills, experiences and current circumstances. Each type of working visa has different requirements that must be met, so it can be difficult to know which type of visa you qualify for.

The following will outline the basic requirements and processes involved in applying for the different types of working visas, and help you find out where to get help.

Skilled visas

If you’re a skilled overseas worker without an Australian employer sponsor, the General Skilled Migration Program allows you to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) to apply for an Australian Work Visa. After lodging an EOI, you have to wait to be invited to apply for a visa.

The General Skilled Migration Program includes the Permanent Independent Skilled 189 visa, the Permanent State or Territory Sponsored 190 visa and the Provisional Skilled 489 visa. GSM visa holders are able to include family members as secondary applicants on their visa application.

Skilled independent visa (subclass 189)

This visa is a permanent residency visa available to people with qualifications and skills that are in demand. This visa does not require the applicant to obtain a sponsorship.

  • In order to apply for this visa you must meet the following requirements:
  • be invited to apply
  • be younger than 45 years of age
  • possess a skill or qualification on the relevant Skilled Occupation List
  • have competent English
  • score at least 65 on the Points Test,
  • and meet the health and character requirements

To determine whether you have the skills or qualifications for a visa of this type, you will complete a skills assessment. If you are successful in the skills assessment, you must then submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect. You will then wait to be issued an Invitation to Apply. Once you have received this invitation, you submit your final completed application to be approved by the Department. If all is successful you will be granted your visa.

Permanent State or Territory sponsored visa (subclass 190)

This visa has similar requirements as the 189 visa, along with being nominated by a state or territory government agency. To be able to apply for this visa you need to submit an expression of interest and then be invited through SkillSelect to apply.

Skilled Work regional (provisional) visa (subclass 491)

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) is for skilled workers and their families to live, work and study in a designated regional areas in Australia for five years.

To be invited to apply for this visa you need to be sponsored by family or nominated by an Australian State or Territory.

Visit this page for more information on Skilled Visas.

Employer sponsored visas

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa (subclass 482 visa)

As the name suggests, this type of visa allows you to live and work in Australia temporarily (for either two or four years) through a sponsorship from your employer. So the first step is to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you. This can be a a bit of process as the employer must have approval to sponsor and recruit overseas workers first before they are able to sponsor you.

Once the employer has approval, they will then nominate the positions they wish to fill with an overseas worker and you, as the overseas worker, will need to apply for a TSS visa.

In order to apply for this visa, you must demonstrate you possess the skills to match the position nominated by the employer and meet certain English, health and character requirements.

Permanent employer sponsored visas (subclass 186 visa)

This is another type of permanent residency visa available to skilled workers. To apply for this type of visa you must:

  • have been nominated by an approved Australian employer
  • are under 45 years of age
  • have the required skills and qualifications for the position you have been nominated for (this can be that you either hold any mandatory registration, license or professional membership, or you must already be fully assessed as suitable by the relevant body as discussed above)
  • have appropriate English language skills
  • meet health and character requirements

Head to this page for more information on employer sponsored visas.

Working holiday visas

Working holiday visas provide a great opportunity to travel Australia and experience the local culture while also earning money. 417 and 462 visa holders are entitled to spend 12 months working and travelling in Australia. Visa holders can work for an employer for up to 6 months and can study for up to 4 months.

In order to qualify for one of these visas you must:

  • be between 18 and 31 years old and have a passport from an eligible country
  • meet certain health and character requirements
  • not have a dependent child accompanying you during your stay

The reason the age is restricted on this visa is because it is designed as a “backpacker” visa. This makes it suitable for young people wanting travel and broaden their horizons while they do odd jobs. It’s not meant for those who are seeking long term careers in Australia.

417 and 462 visa holders can complete approved work to apply to extend their visa.

For more information on working holiday visas, visit this page.

Where can I get help?

Each type of visa comes with its own rules an application process. At first glance you might not be sure whether your qualify for a certain type of working visa, but it is important to note that there are also exceptions to these requirements. If you are considering working in Australia on a visa and don’t know if you meet the requirements, your best option is to get some help.

Speak to one of the team at Port Migration for a consultation that will help identify which working visa is the most appropriate for your individual situation, and get the ball rolling on your application so you can get to Australia sooner.

About Port Migration

Port Migration is a full service Australian Migration Agency based in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We help individuals, business owners and HR managers to consistently achieve successful visa outcomes. We are registered with MARA so you know you can rely on our advice (MARN 1575613).

At Port Migration we are here to give you friendly, efficient service. Importantly, we make the complex and constantly changing Australian visa application requirements simple and stress free for clients.

Joanna Hill

Registered Migration Agent

Joanna Hill is a Registered Migration Agent with over 8 years experience assisting individuals, business owners and HR managers to apply for all Australian Visas. Joanna’s areas of expertise include Work Visas, Partner Visas, Visitor Visas and Australian Citizenship. She makes the complex and constantly changing process of applying for Australian visas simple and stress free for client sand achieves a 100% success rate for partner visa applications. Joanna is a Member of the Migration Institute of Australia and is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARN 1575613). In addition to her work in Migration, Joanna has over 15 years experience as a teacher, Leading Teacher and Learning Specialist in Primary and Secondary schools. She has a research Masters in Education and has presented research and workshops at conferences in Australia and internationally

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