Last Updated: September 12, 2021

Australian Work Visa

With a diverse culture and innovative technological infrastructure, Australia can be rightfully called a land of opportunities. With one of the largest immigration programs in the world, it welcomes individuals from across the globe to work in Australia and create a better future for themselves as well as for the exotic island nation.

Getting a work visa for Australia would let candidates live and work in the country for a set number of years after which they will be able to renew the visa or get a permanent visa depending on the stream of visa they have taken. The visa will be based on the kind of skilled professional the candidate is and will be dependent on the time they want to stay in the country. It is required that the skill and qualifications they possess be listed on the skills shortage list of the country.

Types of Work Visa and Eligibility

Department of Home Affairs of Australia Government provides Australian Work Visa under a wide array of categories. The work visas have been broadly categorized into Short Stay Work Visas, Temporary Work Visas, and Permanent Work Visas with each of these categories having different visas available under them. The details for the visa and the eligibility for applying for them have been listed below.

Type 1-Short Stay Work Visas

Short Stay work visas have three subcategories called Working Holiday Maker Visa, Pacific and Seasonal Work Visa, and Temporary Activity and Specialist Visa each of which has different subclasses of visas on their own. The eligibility criteria change from visa to visa and have been listed along with the details for their respective visas below.

Working Holiday Maker Visa

This kind of visa is provided for young adults who wish to spend an extended holiday in the country all the while working there to fund the holiday. There are two types of visas available in this category-

Work and Holiday (subclass 462)

With this visa, candidates who wish to have an extended holiday in the country will be able to stay for a duration of 12 months. The cost of the visa is AUD495 with the applications being processed within a time duration of 41 to 90 days. The eligibility criteria include-

Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417)

People who apply for this visa will be able to stay for a duration of 12 months with the cost of the visa being only AUD495. The processing time for the visa takes anywhere between 3 months and 7 months, in general. The eligibility criteria include-

Pacific and Seasonal Work Visa

People who wish to go to Australia to participate in the Pacific Labor Scheme program or the Seasonal Worker program will be able to apply for this visa. It contains two different visas for this purpose each of which can be chosen by the candidate though it should be considered that both visas in this category require an endorsement.

Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa (subclass 403)- Pacific Labor Scheme

This visa allows candidates to work in Australia for a Temporary Activities sponsor to participate in the Pacific Labor Scheme as long as it is endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The duration of stay for this visa will be according to what is mentioned in the visa grant notice. This time limit can often be up to 3 years depending on multiple factors. The cost of application for the visa is AUD315 with the processing time ranging anywhere between 6 to 8 days. The eligibility criteria for the visa is-

Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa (subclass 403)- Seasonal Worker Program

Candidates who have this visa will be able to work as seasonal laborers for Australian employers who can’t source local labor. This is restricted to a few industries only. People who have this visa will be able to stay for a duration of 9 months or as is mentioned in the visa grant notice. The cost for the visa is AUD315 with a visa processing time of 11 to 17 days. The eligibility criteria for the visa include-

Temporary Activity and Specialist Visa

This visa is provided to candidates who have highly specific or specialized skills in a particular field who are invited to the country to work for a short term. It has two types of visas which are-

Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408)

Under this form of temporary Australian Work Visa, one can stay in Australia for a period of up to 4 years. This visa enables one to participate in events organized by the Australian government. To be eligible for this visa one must have specific skills required for participating in the event. The cost for the visa is AUD315 and it has a processing time of 5 months to 7 months. The eligibility criteria include-

Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (subclass 400)

This visa allows candidates to do highly specialized work in the country for a short-term. Candidates who apply for this visa must have stream-specific and specialized skills that can help them in the process. They must be able to help Australian businesses and their talent must be not commonly found in Australia. They will only be permitted to do the task they were assigned to do while applying for the visa. Candidates will be able to stay for a duration of 6 months. The cost of this visa is AUD315 with a processing time of 16 to 34 days. The eligibility criteria include-

Type 2-Temporary Work Visas

Taking any of the visas that come under the title temporary visa will let the candidate travel to Australia and work temporarily. The kind of visa that is chosen will specify the kind of work they will be permitted to do while in the country. The kinds of visas available and their eligibility information has been provided below.

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482)

In the short-term stream, the goal of this visa is to provide a work visa for up to two years or up to four years (depending on requirement) and will require sponsoring business/company to prove the genuineness of skill shortage in Australia. It will require sponsoring institutions to pay market salaries to the candidate. This visa also has a medium-term stream, labor agreement stream, subsequent entrant, etc. as its categories. The cost of the short-term stream and subsequent entrant visa is AUD1,290 with a visa processing time of 49 to 150 days. The cost of the medium-term stream and labor agreement stream is AUD2,690. The eligibility criteria for this visa include-

Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485)

This section contains visas for the Graduate Work stream, Post-Study Workstream, and Second Post-study Workstream. The cost for the Graduate and Post-Study Workstreams are AUD1,680 and the candidate will be able to stay for a duration of 18 months for the former whereas they will be able to stay for 2-4 years in the latter. The Second Post-Study stream costs only AUD660 and will let the visa-holder stay for 1-2 years. The eligibility criteria for the visa include-

Skilled-Recognized Graduate Visa (subclass 476)

Having this visa will allow recent engineering graduates to stay in Australia and work and study for a duration of 18 months. The cost of the visa is AUD410 and the processing time for the visa is between 14 to 17 months. The eligibility criteria for this visa include-

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489)

This visa is provided to skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. They will be able to bring their families and will also be allowed to apply for the Skilled Regional (Permanent) Visa. The pathways available under this visa include the Invited pathway, Subsequent Entry pathway, and Extended stay pathway where the first two cost AUD4,115 and the last one costs only AUD365. This visa does not have a standard processing time. The eligibility criteria changes from pathway to pathway.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (subclass 188)

This visa lets candidates own and manage their own business in the country. They will also be permitted to undertake entrepreneurial activity in Australia. It has different streams like Investor stream, Business Innovation stream, Significant Investor stream, etc. all of which have different costs starting from AUD4,115. The eligibility criteria include-

Type 3-Permanent Work Visa

As the name suggests, having a permanent visa in the country implies that the candidate is an Australian permanent resident. There are categories like regional visas, skilled migration visas, business investment visas, and global talent visas under the permanent work visa section. The details and eligibility criteria for these visas have been mentioned in detail below.

Regional Visas

This visa is for skilled migrants who wish to live and work in regional Australia. The visas for Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme and Permanent Residence are provided under this section. The details for these have been provided below.

Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme (subclass 187)

Having this visa lets skilled workers live and work in Australia as long as they are nominated by their employer in regional Australia. The streams available under this category include the Direct Entry stream which costs AUD4,045 and the Temporary Residence Transition stream which costs AUD4,115. The processing time for the former is between 35 months to 41 months whereas for the latter is 9 months to 14 months. The eligibility criteria for this category are-

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa (subclass 191)

Skilled Migration Visas

This visa allows skilled workers to live and work anywhere in Australia. There are four categories of visas under this section where some require sponsorship and others don’t. These categories are-

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186)

This is a permanent work visa that is issued to overseas workers who are sponsored by their employers. This type of visas is issued to increase Australia's competitiveness globally as well as filling up the skills shortages in the market. The 3 streams under this category include the Direct Entry stream which costs AUD4,115, the Labor Agreement stream which costs AUD4,115, and the Temporary Residence Transition stream which also costs AUD4,115. The basic eligibility requirements for these visas include-

Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189)

This is a permanent type of work visa and is issued to those individuals who are qualified to work for the improvement of the Australian economy (like State authority or Business). The only criterion to be eligible for this particular visa is that it must be sponsored by the employer. The two streams involved are the Points Tested stream and the New Zealand stream both of which costs AUD4,115.

The eligibility criteria for both these streams differ from each other and are very specific to the visa.

Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190)

Having this visa will allow nominated skilled workers to live and work in the country as permanent residents. They will also be able to sponsor their relatives for permanent residence given that they are eligible for the same. The cost for the visa is AUD4,115 and the processing time for the application is between 4 months to 15 months. The eligibility criteria include-

Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887)

This is a permanent form of Australian Work Visa applicable for those who have already lived and worked in specified regions of Australia on a previous work visa. With this visa, one can study or work anywhere in Australia and if eligible they can apply for Australian citizenship. Under this visa, one can sponsor eligible family members too for permanent residence in Australia. The cost to apply for this visa is AUD425 and the processing time for the visa is between 14 months and 17 months. The eligibility criteria for the visa are as follows-

Business Investment Visas

Permanent Business Visas are provided to entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners who wish to continue their activities in the country. They will also be allowed to establish a new business or develop their existing business with this visa. There are two categories under this visa which have been listed below along with their eligibility criteria.

Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (subclass 888)

This visa is provided to business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs and has different streams that people can apply for. The streams that are provided are the Business Innovation stream, Investor stream, Significant Investor stream, Premium Investor stream, and Entrepreneur stream. The visa costs AUD2,935 irrespective of the stream the candidate chooses. The basic eligibility criteria include-

Business Talent (Permanent) Visa (subclass 132)

This is a permanent Australia Work Visa for experienced business owners who are willing to establish or operate a new or existing business venture in Australia. The streams included in this visa are that of Significant Business History stream, and Venture Capitalist Entrepreneur stream. The cost of the visa is AUD7,855. The basic eligibility for the visa is-

Global Talent Visas

This visa is provided to people who are internationally recognized with exceptional achievements in their field of study. This field should also be considered eligible by the Australian government. It is also provided to Global Talent pathway applicants and Distinguished Talent pathway applicants.

Global Talent Visa (subclass 858)

This visa is issued to people who are internationally recognized in a field considered eligible by the Australian government. Visa-holders will be able to work and study in the country and also sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency. They can also apply for Australian citizenship if eligible. The cost for the visa starts from AUD4,180. The eligibility criteria for the visa are-

Who Needs to Apply for the Work Visa?

To apply for an Australian work visa, candidates should have the necessary skills and qualifications that are required for the job they apply to. This skill/qualification must be in a form that is recognized by the Australian government. The candidate must be invited to apply by the Australian government or should be nominated by a state or territory government. They can also be nominated as a skilled worker by an employer. The invitations will be placed through SkillSelect. Work visas are generally provided for people who are skilled workers, people participating in specific activities, highly specialized workers, trainees, experienced business people, and even investors.

Steps to Apply for Australian Work Visa

Obtain the job offer

People who wish to apply for a work visa must initially be offered a job within the government or private sector within the country. They should identify the work visa they are eligible for based on the skills and qualifications required for the job. They should also check whether the stream of visa they are applying for requires an invitation to apply for the visa.

Submit an 'Expression of Interest'

Once the visa has been decided upon, if they are to be invited for the job, they must submit an EOI/Expression of Interest which will state that they are interested in working in the country.

Obtain the Nomination approval

After successful submission of the EOI, they will have to wait for their nominee/sponsor/employer to complete the nomination/sponsorship form and get it approved before the candidate can apply for the visa.

Pass the 'Points Test'

Candidates who are invited to apply for the visa will have to pass the points test which is calculated based on age, English language skills, Australian skilled employment, educational qualifications, specialist education qualification, etc.

Apply for the visa

Now, candidates will be able to fill out the online application for their particular visa category. All necessary documents and relevant information must be provided at this stage. They can apply along with the application fee and then wait for the approval of the visa after this point.

Documents Required While Applying for Work Visa

The documents required while applying for a visa can vary from visa to visa and stream to stream but there are basic documents that have to be submitted along with most visa applications. These are-

Renewing the Work Visa

People who wish to stay longer in the country after their current visa expires will be able to apply for a longer stay before the expiration date of the visa. They will have to check the expiry date of the visa and the conditions that will either let them stay on not stay before deciding on the same. Candidates who have come to Australia on an ETA/ Electronic Travel Authority will have to check the ETA expiry and conditions. If there are conditions that prevent them from extending their stay, the only option for them is to leave the country before the visa expires and apply for a new one.

Some Things to Remember




Study in Australia

Courses and Admissions

Life/Living, Visa

Study in New-Zealand