Australia Visas and Work Permits

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Australia Visas and Work Permits 

What types of Work Visas and Permits for Australia are there?

Visiting, working or expanding your business in a foreign country means exploring all the visa options and there are many for Australia. Everyone needs a visa to enter the country, unless Australian. All visas need to be applied for outside the country.

New Zealand citizens can apply for a visa on entry, plus there is a Special Category Visa (SCV) which allows them to visit, study, stay and work, also applied for on arrival.

For visitors or business people, there are online eVisas / Electronic visa services (some nationalities free of charge):

However, these do not cover paid work.

Categories of Visa

• Visitors and Tourists: For holidays (working or for pleasure) and unpaid business activities

• Study: For studying or training

• Work: For short/long term, business, sponsored and also working holidays

• Permanent residence: To live in Australia

• Family Visas: To join visa holders who are partners or family

• Humanitarian: For example, refugees

This government site provides a tool to check on the right category for each individual’s needs.

How to obtain an Australian Work Visa?

There are many different categories of Work Visa. Suitability will depend on the length of stay, the type of occupation and whether it is on the skill shortage list. Check out the links below for details, requirements, cost and how to apply:

• Regional Migration: to attract workers/migrants to improve regional areas -

• Temporary/Provisional Visas: for limited projects or contracts, usually attached to specific employers which can lead to a permanent visa. Some may need sponsorship -

• Short Stay: Young persons on a working holiday, seasonal workers or those on the Pacific Labor Scheme -

• Permanent Work Visas: Regional, skilled, business investment, sponsored, exceptional talented people -

• Skilled Occupation Visas: People to train or work in a skilled eligible occupation -

Australia also operates a point system (Skillselect) for visas, taking into account age, qualifications, skills and experience, family etc.

How to apply for Work Visa/Work Permit in Australia

All information is comprehensive and available online in an easy-to-use website. There are 44 visas to choose from with details of subclass (category), length of stay, processing time and cost.

Some visas require points to qualify for a position. This is called the Skillselect system and 60 points are required for a visa approval.

Most foreign nationals will want to work for an extended period in Australia, according to their employment offer. For instance:

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186): These are skilled employees who have been nominated by their Australian employers who can stay and live in Australia permanently. The way to apply is:

By Direct Entry:

• Employees must have skill set for employment

• Be selected by an Australian company

• Be healthy and of good character

Through a Labor Agreement:

• An agreement from an employer

There is a step by step guide, also available online, from ‘Step 1 – Before applying to Step 5 – Visa Outcome’. It lists the documentation needed and how to apply, also if other family members are to be included.

This is one of the many visas on the website. Just follow the directions on how to apply.

How much is an Australian Work Visa?

The Skilled Regional visa (subclass 489), Regional Sponsored Migration visa (subclass 187), Employer Nomination visa (subclass 186), Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190), Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) are all AU$4,045 (US$3,142)

Business Visa Australia

Applicants must be legitimate visitors going to Australia for business purposes but not for paid work and must apply for the visa from outside Australia. This allows for short stays of up to three months to participate in trade fairs and conferences, make general business and professional employment inquiries and agree contracts.

• Many nationalities can apply for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA – subclass 601) visa online. ETA is free but a charge of AU$20 (US$15) is made for online applications. Also it is possible to have confirmation within 72 hours for a surcharge. The visa is multi-entry, for one year and each stay can be up to three months

• The eVisitor Visa (subclass 651) is for some European countries’ citizens, to make short trips of three months during the 12-month validity of the visa which cannot be extended. Cost is free but a charge is made for online services of AU$20 ($15)

• People can apply for the Visitor Visa (subclass 600) when they are not eligible for the eVisitor or ETA visas. The cost is AU$145 (US$112) for a three, six or 12-month stay

The main difference between the three are cost and speed of service.

To apply, create an ImmiAccount:

Australian Visa for EU citizens

All foreign nationals (except New Zealand citizens) must apply for a visa to enter Australia – whether for business activities or pleasure. However, for EU citizens the process is free when applying through the government website. No paid work should be undertaken. Applications should be made from outside of the country.

For work purposes, there are 44 different visas to choose from. Use the link below to identify the correct visa required.

Some visas will require points to qualify for a position. This is called the Skillselect system and 60 points are required for a visa to be approved.

Australian Visa for USA citizens

As with all countries, United States citizens need a visa to travel for tourism, business or work. These need to be applied for from outside Australia and the applicant requires a valid passport and blank pages for a visa stamp.

For tourism and business activities (but not for paid work) an Electronic Travel Authority can be applied for online. Although the visa is free, a charge of AU$20 ($15) is made on external government sites.

For work, there are a number of visas available (around 44) and the Australian immigration website provides detailed information about eligibility, the process, the cost and how to apply.

Also, Australia does operate a points system for visa acceptance, based on experience, age, qualifications etc. This is called the Skillselect system:

Australian Visa for UK citizens

As all other foreign nationalities, British citizen passport holders require a visa to enter Australia for business or pleasure (not paid employment) and applying online is free through the government website or AU$20 ($15) through a visa service i.e. An Electronic Travel Authority or eVisitor visa.

The UK government site has further information and details of a working holiday visa.

For paid employment, a work visa is required and Australia offers a choice of 44 covering every option and the website is comprehensive regarding the process, the costs, how to apply and eligibility. There is also a tool to find the correct visa for everyone’s needs.

Australia also has a point system called Skillselect, a system operating when awarding a visa taking into account age, qualifications, skills, family etc.

Australian Visa for Canadian citizens

Canadian citizens like all foreign nationals need a visa to enter Australia (except New Zealand citizens) whether for business, tourism or to work.

For short stays e.g. holidays, for business activities or to visit family, visas are available online and for some nationalities free from the government website or AU$20 ($15) from a visa service company.

For those people looking for work, there is a comprehensive website showing all 44 visas available to potential employees. From the link provided check on the process, eligibility and cost. It helps people find the correct visa for their needs.

Australia also operates a point system when it comes to visas and takes into account age, qualifications, experience, skills and family etc.

Australian Visa for Chinese citizens

All foreign nationals require a visa to enter Australia, whether for business activities, for pleasure or as a ‘frequent traveler’. The Visitor Visa (subclass 600) is an alternative option for those not qualifying for an Electronic Travel Authority or eVisa. For Chinese citizens there are two systems for applying for a temporary visa – Tourist Stream (3 years) or Business Visitor Stream

Since 2016, there has been a 10-year trial ‘Frequent Traveler’ visa for Chinese citizens. This allows for stays of up to three months (no more than 12 months in a two-year period). An appointment will be needed to provide biometrics. Details for applying can be accessed at:

For young persons who are interested in a Working Holiday (subclass 462)

To work in Australia, applicants need to check their eligibility. The types of work visa available are:

• Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) subclass 400

• Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403

• Temporary Activity – subclass 408

Information can be found at:

For rules and work rights, restrictions and scams:

Companies targeting Australia for international expansion face unravelling the complexities of work permit, visa and immigration laws if they intend to move existing staff into the country.

Organizing documentation and dealing with high-level bureaucracy, coupled with migrating staff across the world, would require a designated in-house department. Few companies have the time, the resources or want to invest in such an operation.

Bradford Jacobs have the resources … as a global payroll provider through our Employer of Record (EOR) and Professional Employer Organization (PEO) platforms. We can ensure all transferred employees comply with strict work permit and visa regulations.

There is another option … we recruit the staff in country without the need for visas. The result? Your company is up and running within days rather than months.