Work Visas

What visa options do I have?

  • TSS visa. This visa is designed to temporarily bring in skilled workers to Australia, in order to perform needed jobs.
  • Working holiday (subclass 462 and 417). Designed to let younger people work while taking extended vacations in Australia.
  • Employer sponsored work visas (subclass 186 and 187).
  • Skilled independent visas (subclass 189).

To apply for a TSS visa, you will need an approved employer to sponsor you, and you will need to prove that you have the skills needed to do the job. You’ll also need to prove that you can speak, write and understand a certain level of English.

  • Work and holiday, and working holiday visas (subclass 462 and 417)

There are two types visa for working while holidaying in Australia. Both are temporary visas that allow young people to work while taking a holiday in Australia for up to one year. You can apply for a 417 “work and holiday” and 462 “working holiday” visa if you are 18-30 years old, have a passport from an eligible country and will not have a dependent child with you during your stay in Australia. Both visa types let you:

  • Stay in Australia for up to 12 months
  • Work in Australia for up to six months with each employer, or longer with special permission
  • Study in Australia for up to four months.

Both 417 and 462 visa holders can apply for a second visa in order to extend their stay, as long as you:

  • are under the age of 31
  • have only held one previous working holiday visa

462 “work and holiday” visa holders have additional requirements. In order to apply for a second 462 visa they must have done three months of specified work in Australia.

Extending A Working Holiday Visa

You can apply for a second working holiday visa while outside of Australia, or can extend your first by applying for a second before the first expires.

  • Applying for your second 417 visa. This can be done inside or outside of Australia, with similar requirements to the first application.
  • Applying for your second 462 visa. In order to apply for a second 462 visa you must have completed at least three months of specified work in northern Australia during your first 462 visa. “Specified work” includes certain jobs in the plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling, and tourism and hospitality industries.

  • Employer sponsored visas (subclass 186 and 187)

The 187 and 186 visa streams are for applicants who are sponsored by an Australian employer. These are permanent residency visas, and you might apply for them while outside of Australia, or while in Australia on another type of visa. There are strict requirements that businesses need to meet before they can nominate people for these visas.

  • 186 visa stream: For non-regional areas of Australia
  • 187 visa stream: For regional areas of Australia

There are differences in the accepted occupations and skills required depending on whether you’ll be working in metropolitan (186 visa) or country (187 visa) part of Australia.

In both cases, your nominating employer will need to choose one of three streams, which your application needs to match: the temporary residence transition stream, the direct entry stream, and the agreement stream.

Stream Who is eligible?
Temporary residence transition stream

For subclass 457 visa and TSS visa holders.

  • Applicants must under the age of 50.
  • Applicants must have worked for the nominating employer for at least two out of the three previous years, while holding a subclass 457 visa, in the same occupation.
  • Applicants who successfully received their 457 visa after 18 April must have an occupation on the MLTSSL list. They are not eligible if their occupation is on the STSOL list.
Direct entry stream
For people who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia, do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, or have been nominated by their employer for this stream. Nominees need to be under the age of 45.
Agreement stream
A special one-off agreement between nominating employers and the government, to bring in overseas workers through a negotiated formal labour agreement.

As of July 2017, the nominating employer must demonstrate a genuine need for overseas workers, and that they are having difficulties filling the position with Australian workers.

In cases where you don’t already have an employer to nominate you, you can submit an expression of interest through SkillSelect. This makes your details available to employers and state or territory governments, and they might choose to nominate you.

If an employer nominates you, you might be invited to apply for a 186 or 187 Visa.

Even if an employer does not nominate you, you might be invited to apply for a 189 Skilled Independent Visa.

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)

When you send an expression of interest (EOI) through SkillSelect, you’re letting the government know you’re interested in moving to Australia. Even if no business nominates you for a 168 or 187 visa, the government might still invite you to apply for a 189 visa if you are under the age of 45, and have not been sponsored or nominated by an employer, or state or territory government.

In order to send an EOI, your occupation must be on the skilled occupations list. After your EOI is received, you will be ranked against other applicants with a points test. In addition to competing against other applicants, you need to score at least 60 points to receive an invitation.

If you qualify, and there is room for your occupation, you will be invited to apply for a 189 Skilled Independent visa. This Skilled Independent visa, as well as the 186 and 187 visa streams are all permanent residency visas.


Working in Australia: tax and superannuation

Tax and work visas

You will need to pay tax at a rate based on how much you earn while working in Australia. You’ll also need to lodge an Australian tax return.

You should also have a tax file number (TFN), which is your personal reference number in the Australian tax system. Tax file numbers are free, and you can apply for one online as soon as you have arrived in Australia after receiving your work visa. Try to get a tax file number before, or soon after, you start working. While you aren’t legally required to have a tax file number, if you don’t have one, you will pay more tax.


Superannuation and work visas

As you work in Australia, you will also earn superannuation, or “super”, which is the retirement savings system in Australia. Super is a portion of your salary that your employer pays into a superannuation fund for you. Your employer must pay your super contributions even if you aren’t a permanent resident.

As long as you are paid $450 or more in a month, are over 18 years of age or are under 18 and work more than 30 hours a week, then your employer has to pay into your superannuation fund. Your employer will not be required to pay superannuation if your work is private or domestic, such as a nanny, or if you work less than 30 hours a week.

Your superannuation will be paid to you after you have left Australia and your visa has expired or been cancelled.

Can I get permanent residency through a work visa?

Some visas allow you to stay in Australia permanently such as the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186), the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187). Permanent residents have the same rights as citizens, except that they cannot vote and if they want to travel out of Australia, they will need to have a permanent visa with a valid travel authority.

Getting citizenship following permanent residency

Permanent residents can later apply for citizenship if they meet the requirements. To qualify you must:

  • Have been a permanent resident in Australia for at least four years prior to your application.
  • Have competent English language skills.
  • Have integrated into the Australian community.
  • Be aware of Australian values as well as the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship.

Australia allows people to have dual citizenship, so if you become an Australian citizen you will be able to keep your citizenship of your home country as long as that country allows it.

What occupations are eligible for work visas?

Different visa types have different occupation requirements. Please contact us for more information.


How long do work visas take to process?

The time it takes to process your visa application can range from weeks to over a year, and varies depending on the visa type and situation. Processing times can also vary due to factors such as the number of applications, incomplete applications, how long it takes to check the supplied information or receive information from external agencies, the time of the year, and the complexity of the case.