Employer sponsored visas are designed to respond to the needs of Australia's employers by enabling them to recruit and nominate skilled people to fill positions that they have not been able to fill from the local labour market or through their own staff training.
We assist corporate clients looking to sponsor and employ skilled workers who have recognised qualifications and skills/or experience in certain occupations required in Australia. We also assist skilled migrants looking to be employed in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis by their employer.
The three main visa types in this category are:
- Subclass 457 - Business (Long Stay) visa – Standard Business Sponsorship
- Employer Nomination (Permanent) (Class EN), subclass 186, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS); and
- Regional Employer Nomination (Permanent) (Class RN), Subclass 187, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa
The subclass 457 visa is a temporary visa for up to four years and requires sponsorship by an employer in Australia. An applicant's occupation must be on the 457 list and they must have the appropriate skills to work in their nominated occupation. In some cases, 457 visa applicants must have a skills assessment and show proof of their English language ability, and in most cases they need to show evidence of health insurance.
For employers to be eligible to sponsor, they must be active, and meet the training benchmarks. The terms of employment offered to an applicant must be no less favourable than those that are provided to an Australian performing equivalent work. The salary must be a 'market salary', and what is offered in the market must not be less than $51,400 per annum (as at 1 July 2012).
Sponsoring employers need to meet a list of obligations under the sponsorship. It's important that you understand how to meet your obligations and avoid any possible pitfalls.
After two years of continuous employment (or earlier in some circumstances) an employer may be able to nominate the applicant for permanent residence under ENS or RSMS, which are permanent employer sponsored pathways.
Permanent Employer Sponsored Visas
The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) category allows Australian employers to fill highly skilled positions in Australia with a non-Australian citizen or permanent resident on a permanent basis.
Similarly, the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme category allows Australian employers to fill skilled positions with non-Australian citizens/permanent residents on a permanent basis where they cannot fill the skilled vacancies from the Australian Labour Market, provided the business is location in regional or low population areas of Australia. In order to make a valid application under this scheme, the business must first obtain certification from a Regional Certifying Body (see below).
Both the ENS and RSMS categories require a business in Australia to lodge an application for approval of a nominated position. This is then followed by a personal visa application made by the nominated individual.
Applications under ENS require a fee for lodgement with DIAC whereas an application under RSMS requires no fee.
Within both classes there are three streams:
- Temporary Residence Transition Stream - for applicants holding subclass 457 visas and who have worked for their employer for two years in the nominated occupation and are now being offered a permanent position in that occupation by the employer.
- Direct Entry Stream - for applicants who have not held a subclass 457 visa for the last two years, or for those applying directly from outside Australia.
- Agreement Stream - for applicants who are applying as part of a Labour Agreement or Regional Migration Agreement.
Under all three streams, the nominating business must be able to demonstrate that they:
- are actively and lawfully operating in Australia;
- have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position;
- are offering a skilled position in the applicant's field that is full-time and ongoing for at least two years;
- are offering employment conditions that are no less favorable than those conditions provided to an Australian citizen or permanent resident working in the same location and occupation, including a market rate salary
- are nominating a skilled position that is:
- on the CSOL (if applying for ENS under the Direct Entry stream)
- classified as a skill level 1-3 in the ANZSCO (if applying for RSMS under the Direct Entry stream)
- the same or similar to the position sponsored under the subclass 457 visa (if under the Temporary Residence Transition stream)
- have no adverse information known to Immigration about them and have a record of compliance with Immigration laws and workplace relations laws.
Under the ENS category, the nominating business must also meet the minimum training standards:
- If applying under the Direct Entry stream, a business that has been in operation in Australia for 12 months or more must meet the prescribed training benchmark that applies to all Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents;
- If a business has been operating for less than 12 months it must be able to provide a valid future training plan;
- If applying under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, the nominating business must demonstrate that it has met and continues to meet the training requirements expected under the approved Standard Business Sponsorship.
Visa applicants must satisfy the specific requirements provided under the relevant stream:
- If applying under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, there is no requirement for the applicant to have their skills assessed as that person would have already been working for the nominating employer for two years in Australia. There is a requirement for the applicant to have at least vocational English.
- If appying for ENS under the Direct Entry stream, applicants must be able to provide a positive skills assessment in their nominated occupation. Applicants must also have at least three years relevant work experience and a competent level of English.
- Those applicants applying for RSMS under the Direct Entry stream, must hold qualifications and skills that are relevant to the nominated occupation. If the applicant is being nominated as a tradesperson and that person's qualifications were obtained outside of Australia, these skills must be assessed by a relevant assessing authority. Applicants must also have a competent level of English.
The employer must be able to demonstrate to a certifying body that:
- there is a genuine need for a paid employee in a business that is actively and lawfully operating in regional Australia;
- the position is a full-time vacancy available in a business operating in regional Australia for at least 2 consecutive years;
- unless exceptional circumstances apply, the position requires qualifications equivalent to at least Australian diploma level (this includes trade certificates);
- there is, or will be, an employment contract or letter of appointment provided for the position before a nominee’s visa can be granted.
If applying for ENS or RSMS Direct Entry stream or Temporary Residence Transition stream, applicants may be eligible for specific exemptions, including age, English language and skill exemptions.
We can assist you in determining your eligibility for an exemption.
Visa cancellation provisions
Since 1 July 2001, visa cancellation provisions can apply where:
- the nominee has not commenced employment with the nominating employer within six months of arriving in Australia (or after visa grant if already in Australia); or
- where a nominee has left the nominating employer before completing their two year period of employment.
If the nominee's visa is cancelled, the visas for people who accompanied the nominee to Australia such as family members will also be cancelled.
For more information about the 457 long stay business visa or sponsoring an applicant for a business, visit our contact page to speak to one of our Registered Migration Agents.