Employers now have more visa options to choose from when considering the sponsorship of an overseas worker and may find they are using more than one visa subclass to achieve recruitment outcomes. Options available include:
- subclass 400 – useful for short term, highly specialised work of no more than six months. This visa is often used by businesses with international offices which require an overseas employee to undertake a short term project in Australia
- subclass 408 (Exchange Arrangement Stream) – useful for businesses with overseas offices wanting to provide reciprocal staff exchange opportunities. This visa can be granted for up to two years
- subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) – the most common employer sponsored visa allowing businesses to sponsor skilled workers for up to four years. A pathway to permanent residence only exists for occupations on the medium term occupation list
- subclass 494 – commenced from 16 November 2019, this visa is specifically for businesses operating in regional Australia, which now includes Perth and the Gold Coast. This visa offers a much larger occupation list, a pathway to permanent residence and a five year visa
- Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) – operate in regions of Australia which have entered into a formal agreement with the Australian government providing flexibility for those regions to respond to economic and labour market conditions. DAMA's use of the subclass 482 visa however can provide concessions to the market salary, English language, skills, and occupations which may not be available under other programs. Each of the six approved DAMA regions have their own specific occupation lists which can include semi-skilled positions
- labour agreements – can be negotiated by an industry or an individual business to provide concessions for occupations, market salary, English language etc. There are already a number of industry templates available to the meat, pork and dairy industry as well as for fishing and fine dining restaurants. These agreements use the subclass 482 and 494 visas
- Global Talent Employer Sponsored – for highly-skilled niche positions that cannot be filled through other standard visa programs. This program is useful for businesses operating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields where they want to employ workers who can help innovate in an established business, or for start-ups in a STEM field.
With so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is right for your business? The reality is, businesses may find themselves using a combination of the above visas. Which option is best will depend on the position, its location, and long term objectives.
It is important to remember that visa conditions will differ from subclass to subclass and so too will sponsorship obligations. Having appropriate policies and procedures in place to manage compliance is now more important than ever.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.