Workers

At the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce meeting on 25 January 2017, the Department and Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) agreed that if you hold a temporary visa with work rights and have not complied with your visa conditions due to workplace exploitation, we will generally not cancel your visa, detain or remove you from Australia if you have:

  • sought advice or assistance from the FWO and you are assisting them with their inquiries
  • not complied with the work-related conditions only and there is no other basis for visa cancellation
  • committed to abiding by visa conditions in the future.

For more information see: Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia.

Comparing your visa options

Intending migrants can use the visa chart to view their visa options for skilled migration to Australia.

See: Visa Options Comparison Chart

General Skilled Migration

Applying for a Skilled Migration Visa

SkillSelect is the Department's online system for assisting with the skilled migration process. The first mandatory step in the process of Points Tested Skilled Migration or General Skilled Migration (GSM) is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in Skill Select. Before doing so, however, make sure you will be able to meet the requirements of the visa subclass that you are interested in. After your EOI has been submitted, you might be invited to apply for a skilled migration visa. Visas that require you to submit an EOI include:

If you are invited to apply for a skilled migration visa you will have 60 days to lodge a visa application which will be assessed by a processing team against the visa subclass requirements. Each visa has different eligibility requirements that you must also meet. We recommend you check the eligibility requirements of each visa prior to submitting your EOI. At time of submitting an EOI, you must nominate an occupation that is on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.

Skills Assessments and Assessing Authorities

A requirement of points tested skilled migration visas is a positive and valid skills assessment for skilled migration purposes, issued prior to the date of being issued an invitation to apply for a visa. You must provide a valid skills assessment issued by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation. To learn more about skills assessments and find the relevant assessing authority.  See Skills assessment and assessing authorities.

English Language Requirement

To be eligible to submit an EOI for points tested skilled migration visas, you must meet the English language requirement. You will need to have undertaken a suitable English language test no more than 36 months prior to being issued an invitation to apply for a visa. See the relevant visa pages for more information.

General Skilled Migration (GSM) applications

GSM processing centres allocate applications to processing teams in accordance with priority processing arrangements. Applicants can check allocation dates. See: Allocation dates for GSM applications.

After you have lodged your application, it will be allocated to a visa processing officer. Your visa processing officer will contact you in writing to either request further information or to advise of an outcome. If you have provided documentation to support your visa application, you do not need to contact us. We will contact you in due course. If your enquiry relates to the status of your application, you can refer to Skilled migration visa processing times.

Visa applications are usually processed more quickly when documents are provided through Immiaccount. You can also use ImmiAccount to update your details and check the progress of your application.

Withdrawing a General Skilled Migration visa application

You can withdraw your visa application at any stage during processing. See: Withdrawing General Skilled Migration Visa Applications.

Cap and Cease of some GSM visa subclasses

The then Assistant Minister set a cap for offshore GSM visas which took effect on 22 September 2015. The following offshore GSM visas are affected:

  • Skilled Independent (subclass 175)
  • Skilled Sponsored (subclass 176)
  • Skilled Regional Sponsored (subclass 475).

As such unfinalised applications for these subclasses are taken not to have been made and the relevant visa application charge will be refunded to affected applicants. More information is available about Cap and Cease.

Nominated or sponsored workers

Employers can sponsor or nominate workers to remain in Australia for both a temporary and permanent basis.

Temporary Work

If you would like to be sponsored to work in Australia for a period of between one and four years (depending on your occupation and any international trade obligations), you might be eligible for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482). Your employer must be approved as a sponsor and nominate your position before you can be granted your TSS visa.

Sponsorship obligations

Approved sponsors must meet certain sponsorship obligations. The sponsorship obligations will depend on the type of sponsor. See: Temporary residence sponsor obligations.

Permanent Employer Sponsored Entry program

Employers in Australia can sponsor skilled workers to remain in Australia on a permanent basis through the Employer Nomination Scheme. See: Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186).

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa will allow a skilled worker to remain in Australia on a permanent basis and work in a regional area. See: Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187).

Working in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry

All overseas workers must hold an appropriate visa to work in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry sites. For more information on visa options, travelling to and from an offshore site - see: Working in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry.

Investment visas

If you want to invest in Australia, there are a number of streams of the provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) which might suit. After satisfactory evidence of a specified level of investment activity in Australia, you might want to apply for permanent residence under the permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888).

Please note that SkillSelect is mandatory for Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188).

If you currently hold a provisional Business Skills Investor visa (no longer open to new applications), you might want to consider applying for the following permanent visas:

Business owner visas

If you want to establish a new or develop an existing business in Australia, there are two visa options you might want to consider. The provisional Business Innovation stream of the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) might be a visa option for you. After satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business activity in Australia, you might then be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888).

Business migrants can also apply for a Business Talent visa (subclass 132) to access permanent residence if they can evidence high level business skills.

Please note that SkillSelect is mandatory for Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) and Business Talent visa (subclass 132).

If you currently hold a provisional Business Skills visa (no longer open to new applications), you might consider applying for the following permanent visas:

Entrepreneurs

If you have an innovative idea for a new product, service or business and have third party funding from a specified source to undertake entrepreneurial activity in Australia, the Entrepreneur stream of the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) might be a visa option for you. After satisfactory evidence of a successful record of entrepreneurial activity in Australia, you might want to apply for the permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888).

Entrepreneurs can also consider the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream of the Business Talent visa (subclass 132) to access permanent residency if they have obtained high level funding from an Australian venture capital firm.

Please note that SkillSelect is mandatory for Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) and Business Talent visa (subclass 132).

Other temporary work/activity visas

If you want to travel to Australia for short-term work, you might be eligible for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa (subclass 400). This visa will allow you do to short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work in Australia.

If you plan to come to Australia on a temporary basis to undertake one or more of the following activities, then you might be eligible for the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408):

  • work in the entertainment industry
  • participate in activities at the invitation of an Australian organisation
  • participate or observe in an Australian research project
  • work in a skilled position under a staff exchange arrangement
  • participate in high-level sports competitions or sports training programs
  • participate in approved special program
  • do full-time religious work
  • be employed as a superyacht crew member
  • do full-time domestic work in the household of certain senior foreign executives
  • participate in a government endorsed event.

Superannuation for workers

Information for former temporary residents on the Departing Australia Superannuation Payments scheme. See: Accessing Superannuation Benefits – Former Temporary Residents.

Your rights as a worker

People working in Australia, including both sponsored and non-sponsored visa holders, have rights and protections at work. These cannot be taken away by contracts or agreements. Pay rates and workplace conditions are set by Australian law. See: Workplace rights - for all visa holders working in Australia.