There are different types of visas available for employers who
wish to employ overseas workers. Some are permanent visas, others
are temporary visas. By sponsoring employees for these visas, an
employer can secure the employment of the skilled workers from
This is a summary of the types of employment related visas.
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and Regional Sponsored
Migration Scheme (RSMS)
Where there is a shortage of skilled workers within a business,
employers are able to nominate a position for overseas residents
who meet the requirement for the position under ENS or RSMS. Once a
visa is granted, the holders of ENS visas or RSMS visas are able to
stay and work in Australia permanently.
RSMS visas are available where an employer's business is
established in areas other than Brisbane, the Gold Coast,
Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne or Perth. For details of
eligible post codes, see http://www.immi.gov.au/employers/rsms_postcodes.htm.
The position must be a full-time position and
the nomination of the position must be approved by the
relevant regional certifying body. The occupations
available for RSMS visas are not specified by the Minister of
Immigration and Citizenship (Minister) however,
they must be occupations requiring at least an Australian
qualified trade, a diploma or higher education unless
exceptional circumstances exist.
The employer must be a business lawfully and actively operating
in Australia. Unlike RSMS visas, the employer must nominate a
position that is an occupation listed on the Employer
Nomination Scheme Occupation List (ENSOL) prescribed by the
Minister from time to time. The minimum salary is also
specified for each occupation. For current ENSOL, see http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2010L03158.
To be eligible for this visa, the employee must meet one
of the following requirements:
work experience in Australia for at least two years including
at least 12 months with the nominating employer;
nominated to fill a position with a base salary of more than
$250,000 (subject to change); or
skills assessed as suitable by the relevant skill assessing
authority and have at least three years' work experience in
Processing time for an ENS or RSMS visa varies from time to time
depending on departmental workloads but is normally within four
months of the lodgement of an application.
Business Long Stay visa subclass 457 (457 visa) –
standard business sponsorship
The 457 visa is a temporary visa that allows Australian and
overseas businesses to sponsor overseas workers to work in
Australia. The 457 visa is valid for a period of up to four years
and may be renewed. Many business sponsors also utilise this visa
as an initial step to secure an overseas employee in a hope of
keeping the employee permanently by applying for a permanent visa,
such as an ENS visa, at a later stage.
There are three steps in the application process:
nomination of a position; and
The nominated occupation must be one of the
occupations specified by the Minister from time to
time. For the current occupation list for the 457 visa,
The minimum salary is $47,480 (as of 23 March 2011).
Processing time may vary but is now between two and three months
from lodgement of an application, depending on the
Occupations not listed on the occupation lists for 457 or ENSOL,
and not eligible for RSMS visas may be eligible for a labour
agreement. A labour agreement is an agreement with the Australian
government to recruit a number of overseas workers. Labour
agreements are also available for on-hire businesses. Once in
place, the employer may employ overseas worker in accordance with
the agreement during the specified term.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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