AUSTRALIAN WORK VISAS

Businesses operating in Australia who cannot source locally skilled labour are sometimes forced to sponsor employees from overseas to help them fill work places in their business. These places are represented on a skills occupation list which from April 2018 has been divided into a Short-term skills occupation list (STSOL) and the Medium Long-term occupation list (MLSOL). The former 457 visa was a Temporary Work visa that allowed visa holders a valid visa for a four year period. However due to the changes from the department from April 17 2017, this visa will change to the TSS (Temporary Short-term Skills) visa and have a 2year and 4year period for specific occupations.

Businesses who want to sponsor employees from abroad must be approved by the Department of Immigration & Border Protection. They must also show that they have made an effort to hire local workers before resorting to sponsoring a worker visa.

This employer sponsored business visa can be valid up to four years after it is granted. This visa allows the nominated employee to work in Australia with the approved sponsor for the life of the visa, bring dependent family members to work or study in Australia and travel in and out of Australia without restriction.

186 – EMPLOYER NOMINATION SCHEME (ENS)

Have you found an employer in Australia willing to sponsor you through the Employer Nomination Scheme? Or have you already worked in Australia on a 457 – Temporary Work visa? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be eligible to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa.

 

The Employer Nomination Scheme is a permanent work visa with three available streams:

1. Temporary Residence Transition stream – this stream is for Temporary Work (subclass 457) visa holders who have worked in their nominated occupation for two years for an employer who wants to offer them a permanent role. (3years from March 2018)

2. Direct Entry stream – this stream is for:

  • applicants who have been nominated by the employer
  • applicants who have not worked in Australia, or who have only worked in Australia for a short period of time
  • temporary residents who do not meet the criteria of the Temporary Residence Transition stream

3. Agreement stream – for applicants who are sponsored by an employer under a labour agreement

 

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYER NOMINATION SCHEME (ENS)

 

1. Eligibility

The applicant might be able to get this visa if s/he:

  • has been nominated by an approved Australian employer. If the nomination has been granted, the visa application must be made within the six months from the date of nomination approval.
  • is under the age of 45 at the time of application for Direct Entry stream and 50years for Temporary resident transition stream. (Until March 2018)
  • has the required skills and qualifications for the position
  • has appropriate English language skills at the time of application lodgement, unless exempted
  • meets the health and character requirements
  • meets the requirements of the stream in which the application has been made.

 

This visa has three streams:

  1. Temporary residence transition stream

The employee might be able to get this visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if the employee:

  • holds a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
  • has at least vocational English (unless exempt from this requirement)
  • has worked for two years in the same position with the same employer, while holding subclass 457 visa as the primary visa holder, and the employer has an approved nomination for the employee for a permanent position under this stream.
  • The visa applicant’s skills do not need to be assessed because s/he has already worked for the nominating employer for two years in Australia.

 

  1. Direct entry stream

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa under the Direct Entry stream if one of the following applies:

  • have been nominated for a position under this stream and that nomination has been approved
  • have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
  • hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) but do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • are applying directly from outside Australia.

At time of application lodgement, the applicant must provide evidence of meeting the following requirements:

  • have at least competent English (unless exempted from this requirement)
  • have at least three years of relevant work experience
  • have a positive valid skills assessment in the nominated occupation (the skill assessment must be conducted by the relevant assessing authority listed in the Medium Long-term Occupation Skills list (MLTSOL)

 

  1. Agreement stream

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa under the Agreement stream if sponsored by an employer through a labour agreement which requires an agreement to be in place for the particular industry or occupation.

The visa applicant must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.

 

2. Sponsoring business

Employer can nominate a skilled worker for this visa if:

  • they actively and lawfully operate a business in Australia
  • they have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • they offer a skilled position in the applicant’s field that is full time and ongoing for at least two years
  • they pay a market salary rate
  • they comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
  • there is no adverse information known about the business or any person associated with the business.
  • Employer must nominate the applicant in one of the three streams and meet the requirements of that stream.

 

  1. Temporary residence transition stream

This stream is for employers who have already sponsored the applicant for a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457):

  • The employee must have worked in the nominated position in the business, on a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa as a primary visa holder, for at least two years before the nomination is made.(3 years from March 2018)
  • The nomination must identify an occupation (for the position) that is listed on the Medium Long-term skills occupation list (MLTSOL) and has the same four-digit occupation unit group code as the occupation being carried out by the employee.
  • The nominated position must be full time, ongoing and available for at least two years and be consistent with the position in which the applicant has already worked in the business, unless exempted (may be applicable to certain medical occupations).
  • The employer must have met the subclass 457 visa training requirements in each year it has been a standard business sponsor.

 

3. Training requirements

The employer must meet the following training requirements:

  • If the business has been trading in Australia for more than 12 months, the business must show that it has contributed to the training of Australians. It must meet one of two benchmarks:
  • Training Benchmark A: recent expenditure equal to at least 2 per cent of the payroll of the business in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same industry as the business and a commitment to maintain that level of expenditure for the term of approval as a sponsor
  • Training Benchmark B: recent expenditure equal to at least 1 per cent of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to employees of the business. The expenditure must be an expenditure that can count towards the benchmark.
  • If business has been operating for less than 12 months, you must demonstrate that you have an auditable plan to meet this training benchmark.

 

  1. Direct entry stream

This stream is for employers who want to nominate an applicant to fill a position that is:

  • an occupation on the Medium Long-term Occupation Skills list (MLTSOL)
  • full time, ongoing and available for at least two years.

 

  1. Agreement stream

This stream enables an employer to nominate an applicant through a labour agreement that has been negotiated with the government before the lodgement of the nomination.

 

4. Health requirements

  • The visa applicant must meet certain health requirements. The results of health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.
  • The visa applicant must meet certain character requirements and provide a police certificate from each country s/he has lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after s/he turned 16 years of age.
  • Health and character requirements applies to the main applicant and all the dependent family members listed in the application, whether they are migrating or not.

 

5. English requirements

The visa applicant can show that s/he possesses adequate English skills by providing the following evidence at the time of application:

  • achieving the vocational or competent test scores in a specified English language test, for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream respectively, that has been conducted within three years prior to the date of application lodgement
  • holding a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and evidence of citizenship of that country.
  • See below the minimum score for English Language proficiency level across the various type of test.

187 – REGIONAL SPONSORED MIGRATION SCHEME (RSMS)

The RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) will allow an employer who operates a business in regional Australia to sponsor an eligible candidate to fill a nominated position within their organisation.

The employee must be qualified to fill the position and the nominated position must first be approved by the Department of Immigration & Border Protection before the visa can be granted.

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa is aimed at skilled workers who are located outside Australia or skilled temporary residents who currently live and work in Australia.

This visa involves a three-step process, firstly, approval from Regional Certifying Body (RCB), secondly, nomination by an approved Australian employer and then finally visa application under the nominated stream.  If the visa application is lodged after receiving an approved nomination, it should be done within six months of the nomination being approved.

 

1- Temporary Residence Transition stream – this stream is for Temporary Work (subclass 457) visa holders who have worked in their nominated occupation for two years for an employer who wants to offer them a permanent role

2- Direct Entry stream – this stream is for:

  • applicants who have been nominated by the employer
  • applicants who have not worked in Australia, or who have only worked in Australia for a short period of time
  • temporary residents who do not meet the criteria of the Temporary Residence Transition stream

3- Agreement stream – for applicants who are sponsored by an employer under a labour agreement

 

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR REGIONAL SPONSORED MIGRATION SCHEME (RSMS)

 

1. Eligibility

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa if s/he:

  • has been nominated by an approved Australian employer in regional Australia (outside of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne). If the nomination has been approved, the visa application should be lodged within six months for the date of nomination approval.
  • is under the age of 45 at the time of application for Direct Entry stream and 50years for Temporary resident transition stream. (Until March 2018)
  • has the required skills and qualifications for the nominated position at time of application lodgement – the applicant must hold any mandatory registration, license or professional membership, or must already been fully assessed as suitable by the relevant body.
  • has appropriate English language skills at time of application lodgement for Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream or Direct Entry (DE) stream, as applicable, unless exempted
  • meets the health and character requirements
  • meets the requirements of the stream in which the application has been made.

 

  1. Temporary residence transition stream

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if s/he meets the following criteria at the time of visa lodgement and provides documented evidence of the same:

  • at least Competent English (IELTS 6)
  • has worked for two years in the nominated position with the nominating employer, while holding Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) as the primary visa holder
  • has been nominated by the employer for a permanent position under this stream and the nomination has been approved
  • satisfactory health and character requirements
  • Skill assessment is not required as the employee has already worked for the nominating employer for two years in Australia.

 

  1. Direct entry stream

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa under the Direct Entry stream if one of the following applies to the applicant:

  • has never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
  • holds a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) but does not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • is applying directly from outside Australia.

At time of application lodgement, the applicant must provide evidence that s/he satisfies the following requirements:

  • has at least competent English (unless exempted)
  • meets the skills requirements, unless exempted. The skills requirements are:
  • if the applicant has not obtained a necessary Australian qualification suitable to the occupation, then s/he must obtain a valid skills assessment prior to the application. A skills assessment is only valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, or for a period of three years from the assessment’s date of issue, whichever occurs first.
  • if the applicant has obtained the necessary Australian qualification relevant to the occupation as listed in ANZSCO, then s/he must provide this as evidence towards meeting the skills requirement.

 

  1. Agreement stream
  • The applicant might be able to get this visa under the Agreement stream if s/he is being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement. The employer can advise if such an agreement is in place for the industry or occupation.
  • The applicant must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.

 

2. Sponsoring Business

Employer can nominate a skilled worker for this visa if:

  • they actively and lawfully operate a business in regional Australia (regional Australia does not include the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong or Melbourne)
  • they have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • they offer a skilled position in the applicant’s field that is full time and ongoing for at least two years
  • they pay a market salary rate
  • they comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
  • there is no adverse information known about your business or any person associated with your business.
  • Employer must nominate the applicant in one of the three streams and meet the requirements of that stream.

 

  1. Temporary residence transition stream

The employer can use this stream if they have already sponsored the applicant for a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and meet the following requirements:

  • The employee must have worked in the same nominated position in the business, as the primary visa holder of a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, for at least two years before the nomination is lodged.
  • The nomination must identify an occupation (for the position) that is listed in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List and has the same four-digit occupation unit group code as the occupation being carried out by the employee
  • The nominated position must be full time, ongoing and available for at least two years and be consistent with the position in which the applicant has already worked in the business
  • The employer must have met the subclass 457 training requirements in each year you have been a standard business sponsor. 

 

  1. Direct entry stream

The employer can use this stream if they want to nominate an applicant to fill a position that is:

  • an occupation as specified by DIBP under lists of certain occupations at ANZSCO skill level one, two, or three
  • full-time, ongoing and available for at least two years.

 

  1. Agreement stream
  • The employer can use this stream to nominate an applicant through a labour agreement that has been negotiated with the government before you lodge the nomination.
  • A labour agreement is a formal arrangement negotiated between an Australian employer and the Australian government. The employer might consider entering into a labour agreement if there is a genuine and systemic shortage of suitably skilled Australian workers in the industry and/or geographic location, and standard immigration options are not suitable.
  • A labour agreement comes into effect when it has been signed by all parties involved in the negotiations and is typically valid for three years.

 

3. Regional Certifying Body (RCB)

A nomination made under the RSMS Direct Entry stream cannot be approved by the department unless a regional certifying body has provided their advice in regard to the application.

The prospective sponsor, an eligible Australian business in the regional area, must obtain advice from the relevant regional certifying body about the position they want to fill prior to approval of the nomination and the advice can be sent to DIBP before or after the lodgement an employer nomination application.

Regional certifying bodies are a diverse network of state and territory government agencies, local chambers of commerce, local government councils and regional development bodies. The advice provided by a regional certifying body is intended to ensure all RSMS Direct Entry stream nominations have been scrutinised by a third party who is familiar with local labour market conditions and who may be able to provide information on regional matters which the department may not be aware of. The regional certifying body assesses the nomination against the following criteria:

  • there is a genuine need for a paid employee in a business operated by the employer that is actively and lawfully operating in a regional area of Australia
  • the terms and conditions of employment are the same as those that would apply to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident performing the same work in the same location
  • the nominated position cannot be reasonably filled from the local labour market.

 

4. Health requirements

  • The visa applicant must meet certain health requirements. The results of health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.
  • The visa applicant must meet certain character requirements and provide a police certificate from each country s/he has lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after s/he turned 16 years of age.
  • Health and character requirements applies to the main applicant and all the dependent family members listed in the application, whether they are migrating or not.

 

5. English requirements

The visa applicant can show that s/he possesses adequate English skills by providing the following evidence at the time of application:

  • achieving the vocational or competent test scores in a specified English language test, for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream respectively, that has been conducted within three years prior to the date of application lodgement
  • holding a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and evidence of citizenship of that country.

417 – WORKING HOLIDAY

An Australia Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) will allow the visa holder to travel through Australia for up to twelve months. As work is permitted, it’s ideal for tourists who would like to earn some extra spending money whilst travelling.

People aged 18 to 30 years (i.e. you must have turned 18, but not turned 31, at the time of your visa application) who are interested in a working holiday in Australia of up to 12 months may apply for a working holiday visa.

If you would like to return on a second working holiday visa, you must have worked in a regional area of Australia for at least three months.

Note:Some reports and media releases have suggested these changes will include an extension of the eligibility age from 30 to 35, commencing on 1 January 2017. The DIBP has not approved any changes, however Gogozing Migration will update if the eligibility age changes to 35 years.

 

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR WORKING HOLIDAY VISA

 

1. Eligibility – first Working Holiday visa

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for your first working holiday visa. The applicant must:

  • be outside Australia at the time of application and when the visa is granted
  • be between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) of age at the time of application
  • apply within 12 months of intended travel to Australia
  • not have previously entered Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) or a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462)
  • not have dependent children accompany them at any time during their stay in Australia

Important: Your age will be determined according to your age in Australia (Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)). It is not advised to delay your application until you are nearly 31 years of age.

Should you wish to have a dependent child accompany you during your stay in Australia, you should apply for a Tourist visa.

If you have dependent children who will not accompany you during your stay in Australia, you must apply using the paper application form. This application cannot be processed online.

To be eligible to apply for a Working Holiday visa you must hold a passport from one of the following countries:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

 

2. Financial requirements

  • For the initial stage of your holiday, you will be required to have access to sufficient funds to support yourself. The amount may vary depending on the duration of your stay, however, generally $5000 will be deemed to be enough.
  • In addition, you will also be required to have a return ticket or an onward ticket to another destination.
  • You may be asked to demonstrate any required evidence of an onward ticket.

 

3. Health requirements and insurance

  • Here are certain health criteria that must be met by all applicants. In some circumstances you may need to undergo a medical examination. Tests include chest x-ray, Hepatitis B and/or Hepatitis C and HIV.
  • Some countries have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia. If your country does not have this reciprocal agreement, you are not covered by the Australian national health scheme. In this case medical treatment is likely to be extremely expensive, we therefore recommend that you seek either health insurance to cover your stay or to take out travel insurance which covers medical costs in the case an emergency.

 

4. Eligibility – second Working Holiday visa

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for your second Working Holiday visa. You can apply for this visa if you hold a valid Working Holiday visa, or you can apply at a later date.

The following list includes general requirements. The applicant must:

  • have completed 3 months of designated work in regional Australia (there is no requirement to carry out further specified work on the second visa)
  • be between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) of age at the time of application
  • apply within 12 months of intended travel to Australia if applying from abroad
  • not have previously entered Australia on a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462)
  • not have dependent children accompany them at any time during their stay in Australia
  • Should you wish to have a dependent child accompany you during your stay in Australia, you should apply for a tourist visa. If you have dependent children who will not accompany you during your stay in Australia, you must apply using the paper application form. This application cannot be processed online.

 

5. Specific Work for Second Working Holiday Visa

To apply for a second Working Holiday visa, you must have already completed three months of specified work in regional Australia. This specified work must have been completed while on your first Working Holiday visa.

Specified work is work that is undertaken in a ‘specified’ field or industry in a designated regional area. See the section on Regional Areas below to check the postcode list of designated regional areas.

All specified work performed on or after 1 December 2015 must be remunerated in accordance with the relevant Australian legislation and awards. Voluntary work performed after 1 December 2015 will not be accepted for the purpose of applying for a second Working Holiday visa. See Second Working Holiday visa applications – evidence of payment for specified work for more information.

Approved industries for specified work include:

  • plant and animal cultivation
  • fishing and pearling
  • tree farming and felling
  • mining
  • construction.

Specified work is any type of work described in the list below:

plant and animal cultivation

  • the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
  • pruning and trimming vines and trees
  • Note: This must be the applicants primary employment task and directly associated with the cultivation and commercial sale of plant produce, such as fruit and nut crops (commercial horticultural activities). General garden maintenance is not eligible.
  • general maintenance crop work
  • cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
  • immediate processing of plant products
  • maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, including natural increase
  • Note: Maintaining animals for tourism or recreational purposes is not eligible.
  • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning
  • Note: Secondary processing of animal products, such as small goods processing and retail butchery is not eligible.
  • manufacturing dairy produce from raw material.

fishing and pearling

  • conducting operations relating directly to taking or catching fish and other aquatic species
  • conducting operations relating directly to taking or culturing pearls or pearl shell.

tree farming and felling

  • planting or tending trees in a plantation or forest that are intended to be felled
  • felling trees in a plantation or forest
  • transporting trees or parts of trees that were felled in a plantation or forest to the place where they are first to be milled or processed or from which they are to be transported to the place where they are to be milled or processed.

mining

  • coal mining
  • oil and gas extraction
  • metal ore mining
  • construction material mining
  • non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying exploration
  • mining support services.

construction

  • residential building construction
  • non-residential building construction
  • heavy and civil engineering construction
  • land development and site preparation services
  • building structure services
  • building installation services
  • building completion services
  • other construction services.

Work undertaken in the areas of plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, and tree farming and felling must be described in the list above to meet the specified work requirement.

The Australian New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) provides further detail about eligible work in mining and construction . Work undertaken in the mining and construction sectors must appear in the ANZSIC division for these sectors to meet the specified work requirement

Supporting work, such as book-keeping, in any industry described in the list above does not meet the definition of specified work.

Specified work:

  • must be an activity listed above
  • must be the primary role, function or activity performed during the applicants employment.
  • Examples of eligible specified work:
  • picking fruits on an orchard
  • feeding and herding cattle on a farm
  • horse breeding and stud farming
  • landscaping the grounds of a construction/house site
  • painting the interior/exterior of new buildings
  • conservation and environmental reforestation work
  • zoo work involving plant or animal cultivation
  • erecting fences on a construction site
  • scaffolding.

Examples of ineligible specified work:

  • ship/boat building
  • performing specialised social science services (such as anthropological and archaeological assessments) for mining companies
  • town planning or architecture
  • working as a nanny on a farm
  • working at a cellar door providing wine tastings
  • manufacturing materials used on a construction site (such as concrete or steel)
  • cooking/catering on a mine site
  • cleaning the interior of mine complexes or buildings.

Specified work in disaster affected areas

Construction work can be vital in helping regional disaster zones, such as those affected by flood or bushfire, to rebuild and recover from disaster.

Working Holiday visa holders who conduct construction work in eligible regional areas of Australia following disasters can count the work as specified work.

Examples of construction work that qualify as specified work include:

  • demolition of buildings, trench digging, land clearing and earth moving
  • residential and non-residential construction or renovation/repair, including of roads, footpaths, bridges, parking lots, fencing, railways, dams, irrigation systems, sewage and storm water drainage systems.

A full list of eligible construction activities is available from the Australia Bureau of Statistics website.

How to calculate specified work

‘Three months’ means three ‘calendar’ months or 88 days. Work can be either:

  • in one block with one business
  • in separate blocks with one business or a number of businesses. Blocks of work may be in different kinds of specified work.

One full day of work is defined as having worked the minimum number of hours considered to be a standard day by the particular industry in which the applicant is employed.  Generally, the Australian working week is 35 to 40 hours, consisting of seven to eight hours of work each day.  Individual employers can not set a smaller period of time than the industry standard to satisfy the specified work requirement.

In calculating the period of time for which the applicant has undertaken specified work, the type of employment relationship the applicant may have with their employer, including full/part time employment or casual employment, is not as important as whether the relevant industry considers the period of work completed to be equivalent to full time work for that industry. For example, if the applicant’s paid employment involved two weeks on and then two weeks off, and this is standard practice in the industry, the applicant would be considered to have worked for four weeks (28 days). If the employer is satisfied that the applicant has undertaken the equivalent of full time work for that industry for the specified period, the visa decision maker may be satisfied that the applicant has undertaken full time work for the specified period.

Applicants whose work is equivalent to full time employment may count weekends in the 88 day period. However, if the applicant’s work is not equivalent to full time employment, for example, part time or casual, they may only count the full days actually worked.

In circumstances where the applicant is employed by more than one employer at the same time, they may only count each calendar day of work completed once towards their 88 day specified work requirement.

The shortest period that may be counted towards the specified work requirement is one day of full time work (for that industry). Applicants cannot count a long day of work as more than one day of specified work. For example, if the industry’s standard day is six hours long, working a 12 hour day does not count as two days of specified work.

Full time workers can count sick days only during periods where they were in paid employment and entitled to sick leave or covered by a workers compensation scheme. In these situations, supporting evidence must be provided by the employer.

Applicants who were prevented from obtaining employment because of injury or seasonal circumstances cannot count any time they were unable to work towards the three month period. For example, cyclones interrupting harvest activities.

Some possible examples to help clarify the definition of three months of specified work are outlined below.

Examples that meet the three month requirement

Working week

  • Working on a farm for three months for five days each week, where the industry standard is five days a week of full time work.

Shift work

  • Employed as a miner for three months and under the employment contract are only required to work every second week, which is the standard full time contract for the industry.

Blocks of work

  • Completing 60 days of harvest work, followed by a period of travel for two months. Then completing another 28 days in construction, bringing the total days worked to 88 days.

Sick days

  • Employed for a three month period but take several days of sick leave during the period.
  • Examples that do not meet the three month requirement

Working week

  • When five days of work a week is the industry standard on a farm, but the applicant only works four days a week for three months.

Work done on another visa type

Completing three months of specified work during the summer break while on a Student visa.

  • Seasonal circumstances
  • Picking bananas for 80 days on a casual basis, but the applicant cannot find more work as there is a cyclone and their first Working Holiday visa ceases.

Evidence of specified work

If the Working Holiday visa holder applies for a second Working Holiday visa, they will need to provide evidence that they have satisfied the specified work eligibility requirement. Acceptable evidence of specified work (completed while on their first Working Holiday visa) includes original or certified copies of the following:

  • pay slips (must be supplied for all specified work performed from 31 August 2015)
  • group certificates
  • payment summaries
  • tax returns
  • employer references
  • a completed employment verification form signed by the applicants employer
  • original Australian bank statement covering the period of declared specified work, undefined document entitled

TEMPORARY SKILLS SHORTAGE VISA (FORMER 457 VISA)

Businesses operating in Australia who cannot source skilled labour locally are sometimes forced to sponsor employees from overseas to help them fill work places in their business.

From March 2018 the Australian Government will introduce a new work visa – the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa which replaces the previous the 457 visa Temporary Work visa.

The major difference between the previous 457 and the new TSS visa is that the new visa is split into 2 streams that allow applicants to stay up to 2 years or up to 4 years depending on the occupation of work and will need sponsorship by a business or organisation accredited by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

Businesses who want to sponsor employees from abroad must be approved by the Department of Immigration & Border Protection must show that they have made an effort to hire local workers before resorting to sponsoring a worker on a TSS visa.

This visa allows the nominated employee to work in Australia with the approved sponsor for the life of the visa, bring dependent family members to work or study in Australia and travel in and out of Australia without restriction.

 

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SKILLS SHORTAGE VISA

 

1. Eligibility

The main visa applicant must:

  • be nominated to work in an approved occupation on the Short-term skilled occupation list (STSOL) for 2 years and the Medium-Term skilled occupation list (MTSOL) for 4years.
  • meet the skill requirements for the nominated occupation
  • be required to do a skill assessment depending on the occupation and/or country of passport
  • meet registration and licensing obligations (if applicable)
  • meet the English language requirement
  • have been nominated by an approved business

 

2. English requirement

It is important that the main applicant can speak, write and understand a sufficient level of English while working in Australia. The following tests are used to determine the level of English language proficiency:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – overall test score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the four test components
  • Occupational English Test (OET) – Score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based test (TOEFL iBT) – total score of at least 36 with a score of at least 3 for each of the test components of listening and reading, and a score of at least 12 for each of the test components of writing and speaking.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic Test – overall PTE Academic test score of at least 36 with a score of at least 30 in each of the four test components
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Test (which was conducted on or after 1 January 2015) – overall test score of at least 154 with a score of at least 147 in each of the four test components.

 

3. Other requirements

Health Requirements – all applicants must meet certain health requirement. The health examinations will depend on various personal factors such as country of citizenship, period of stay, time spent in another country during the last five years and the intended activities in Australia.

Health Insurance – all applicants must have adequate health insurance which should provide at least the level of coverage required for the purpose of the stay.

Character requirements – all applicants must meet certain character requirements and may be requested to provide police certificate, if applicable.

 

4. Processing stages

The steps involved in applying for TSS visa can be categorized into three stages.

1 – Sponsorship – The sponsor, a lawfully operating business with no relevant adverse information against it, must take approval for sponsoring and appointing overseas employees to be posted in Australia. The validity of a sponsorship approval can be up to 6 years and an approved sponsor might appoint overseas employee as per requirement for up to four years. If the sponsor is an Australian business, it must also demonstrate its commitment to employing local labour as well as non-discriminatory recruitment practices.

There are two ways to become an approved sponsor:

  • Apply to be a standard business sponsor
  • Negotiate a labour arrangement

2 – Nomination – the sponsor, an approved business or a business with a sponsorship application in process, must identify a position to be filled by an overseas skilled worker and nominate the overseas skilled worker for the identified position. In general, a successful nomination is valid for 12 months since the day it is approved.

The nomination must meet and justify various factors such as:

  • Relevancy of the nominated occupation to the position to be filled
  • Relevancy of the skills and experience of the nominated overseas worker to the position to be filled
  • The salary rate to be paid to the prospective overseas employee

3 – Visa Application – the visa applicant/s, the nominated prospective overseas skilled employee and eligible dependent family members include in the visa application, must submit relevant documents to prove that they meet the criteria for the grant of the visa. Seeking the help of professional TSS visa agents would be beneficial as they provide guidance and assistance in visa application.

 

TSS VISA STREAMS

SHORT-TERM VISA STREAM (2YEARS)

The Short-Term stream will include the following criteria:

Renewal: Capacity for visa renewal onshore once only.

Occupations:

  • For non-regional Australia, the STSOL will apply.
  • For regional Australia, the STSOL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.

English language requirements: A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 5, with a minimum of 4.5 in each test component.

Genuine entry: A genuine temporary entrant requirement.

 

MEDIUM-TERM STREAM (4YEARS)

The Medium-Term stream will include the following criteria:

Renewal: Capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years.

Occupation lists:

  • For non-regional Australia – the MLTSSL will apply.
  • For regional Australia – the MLTSSL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.

English language requirements: a requirement of a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each

test component.

 

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR BOTH STREAMS WILL INCLUDE:

Work experience: at least two years’ work experience relevant to the particular occupation.

Labour market testing (LMT): LMT will be mandatory, unless an international obligation applies.

Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements.

Character: Mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.

Workforce: A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating

against Australian workers.

Training requirement: Employers nominating a worker for a TSS visa will be required to pay a

contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund. The contribution will be:

payable in full at the time the worker is nominated;

  • $1200 per year or part year for small businesses (those with annual turnover of less than $10 million)
  • $1800 per year or part year for other businesses.

 

LONGER-TERM OPTIONS

  • holders of 2 year visas – may have the option to apply for a second visa subject to a continuing offer of employment. 
  • holders of 4 year visas – may have the option to apply for permanent residency after three years employment subject to support from their visa sponsor. 

Minimum score for English Language proficiency level

across the various type of test
English Language Proficiency Level Test Component IELTS TOEFL
iBT
PTE Academic Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)* OET
Vocational All Modules 5.0 each 4 each in Listening and Reading; 14 each in Writing and Speaking 36 each 154 each B each
Competent All Modules 6.0 each Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening-12, Reading – 13, Writing – 21 and Speaking -18 50 each 169 each B each

Minimum score for English Language proficiency level

across the various type of test

English Language Proficiency Level: Vocational

Test Component: All Modules

IELTS: 5.0 each

TOEFL iBT: 4 each in Listening and Reading; 14 each in Writing and Speaking

PTE Academic: 36 each

Cambridge English – Advanced (CAE)* : 154 each

OET: B each

English Language Proficiency Level: Competent

Test Component: All Modules

IELTS: 6.0 each

TOEFL iBT: Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening-12, Reading – 13, Writing – 21 and Speaking -18

PTE Academic: 50 each

Cambridge English – Advanced (CAE)* : 169 each

OET: B each

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