How many kinds of employment visas are there?
There are many types, addressing many circumstances. The most common are 457 temporary work visas, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) permanent visas, and its regional version the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).
How do I apply for an employment visa?
Employer sponsored visas normally involve a three stage process, with the sponsor being approved to sponsor, nominating a skilled position, and finally the applicant lodges their application. A registered migration agent should be able to advise you and your employer on the process, advise if you are eligible, and set out the documents required.
Can I hire someone to assist me in processing my papers?
Yes, a Registered Migration Agent can assist you with the process.
What documents do I need to submit?
The documents depend on what visa you apply for, where you apply, and what your circumstances are. Generally you will need documentary evidence of who you are (eg. Passport), what your skills are (eg. Diplomas), show your relationship to any dependents included in the application (eg. Marriage certificate), and show you are healthy and of good character (eg. health checks and police clearances).
How long do I wait for my papers to be processed?
Visa processing depends on the type of application. Some temporary visas are processed in 4 to 6 weeks at the moment, and some permanent applications take 3 years or longer. Processing times also vary over time.
Where can I check on the status of my application?
Immigration has a portal to allow you to track the progress of some visas which have been electronically lodged. As the status of applications is rarely updated, they are generally of very limited value.
What will my proof of visa be?
Most visas are electronically recorded now, and no label is required in your passport. Airlines and employers (amongst others) can access your visa details online.
Can I come to Australia on a tourist visa to find work?
Yes, you can look for work on a tourist visa but you cannot do any work, paid or unpaid, including work trials.
If I chose to work without a valid employment visa, what are the risks?
The risk is that you will be detained, your visa cancelled, and you will be removed from Australia, and may be subject to re-entry bans. You may also affect your chances of ever migrating to Australia.
Aside from being sponsored by my employer, what are my other options in order for me to reside in Australia?
There are skilled visas which are independent of any sponsor, state sponsored visas, family visas and many others. A registered migration agent should be able to advise you on the best option. Generally, a sponsor will be a resident of Australia. Australian residents can generally sponsor their partners, and in some circumstances they can sponsor their parents.
Upon getting my employment visa, when can I get permanent residency and acquire citizenship?
Some employment visas are permanent residency straight away – others are temporary visas. There is a very common pathway from a 457 temporary work permit to a permanent employer sponsored visa after 2 years on the 457, if your employer will sponsor you again, but it is not the only option. Generally you can apply for citizenship after 4 years residence in Australia, with the last 12 months as a permanent resident.
Where can I get information on residency and citizenship?
A registered Migration Agent can assist. For those looking for self help, the Immigration website www.immi.gov.au is quite helpful, and well organized. There are a number of ‘self assessment’ tools on agent websites and also the Immigration website, but they are rarely reliable in my experience.
Can I get a job if my residency is sponsored?
You can seek a job in Australia any time. Residency visas generally allow work. Make sure you familiarize yourself with any work restrictions on your visa. The visa grant information accompanying your visa should set out any work restrictions.
How long is the validity of a work visa?
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the visa expiry date. The visa grant information accompanying your visa should set out the visa validity dates. If you do have a label in your passport, the visa validity dates will be printed on it. It is your responsibility to monitor your expiry date. Immigration will not remind you!
How long can I stay outside Australia before my visa expires?
It depends on all the circumstances. Most visas expire on a certain date, regardless of whether you are in or out of Australia. If your visa is subject to conditions that require you to be in Australia (employment or study for example) and you are out of Australia for a period that is inconsistent with that, it is possible that your visa may be cancelled.
Does Australia have single and multiple entry visas? If so, what should I do to get a multiple entry?
Yes, visas can be single or multiple entry. If you want a multiple entry tourist visa, you should make sure you request it. Work visas are generally multiple entry, however the visa grant information accompanying your visa should set out this information. Make sure you read it carefully.
How can I transfer my sponsorship from one employer to the next?
A 457 temporary work visa can be transferred from one employer to another approved sponsor by lodging a new nomination with Immigration.
Is there a grace period to renew employment visas?
No. If your visa expires you become unlawful and subject to detention. Make sure you monitor your visa validity dates. If you lose your job while you are on a 457 temporary work visa, Immigration policy is that you have 28 days to find a new sponsor (or apply for another visa or leave the country). It’s important that you have a valid visa at all times.
If my work visa expires, how can I re-enter Australia and accept a new job?
If your visa expires in Australia you will become unlawful. To enter Australia you will need to apply for, and be granted an appropriate visa.
How do I make sure I don’t get banned from re-entry?
It’s important to read and understand the conditions on your visa, and adhere to them. If you breach a condition of your visa, it may be cancelled, you may be subject to re-entry bans or you may affect your chances of being granted another visa. Immigration are well aware of the common frauds on the system, including dual nationals who carry two passports in slightly different names, people who misrepresent their work history, and people who abuse their work conditions. Almost every week I accompany these people to Immigration to try to get them out of the hole they have got themselves into. It’s much easier (and cheaper for you) not to dig the hole in the first place.
What are the government fees I have to pay for while I’m on my work visa?
Some visas require that you maintain health insurance while you are in Australia. You are expected to pay tax, like any other resident. Tax rates can be found at www.ato.gov.au. Visa processing fees vary according to the visa you are applying for – the Immigration website is helpful, see www.immi.gov.au.
If my passport expires before my visa expires, what should I do?
It’s wise to keep your passport current while you are overseas, in case you need to travel urgently. If you get a new passport, make sure you inform Immigration who will link it to your electronic visa record. This will avoid any delays at airports etc. Generally your visa will remain valid to its expiry date even if your passport expires sooner.
Will an expat’s child born in Australia acquire Australian Nationality?
If you are a permanent resident of Australia, children born in Australia are eligible for Australian citizenship. Otherwise they are generally eligible for the same visa you hold. They may also be eligible for citizenship(s) you hold, depending on the rules of that country.
I am Australian currently living overseas with a foreign nationality. What are the requirements for my partner to be able to reside with me in Australia?
You need to apply for a partner visa, and prove the relationship to Immigration. Your partner will need to intend to live in Australia, and must meet health and character requirements. As their sponsor, you need to be able to meet your sponsorship obligations to support your partner.
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ExpatCareers.com nor the author guarantee the accuracy of the information on this page. It is recommend that particularly prior to your travels you check with the relevant government authority. Please contact us with any updates you may have. Last updated 8 September 2011.