Expat FAQ

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Australia: How do I apply for a work visa?

Skilled Workers

Most temporary visa holders are allowed to work legally while they are in Australia. However, a work visa is required to obtain the permanent right to work. To qualify for a provisional skilled worker visa, you must be under age 50 at the time of your visa application unless you are sponsored by a specific employer within Australia or otherwise qualify under a specialized work visa category.

The Skill Select program allows skilled workers to register an Expression of Interest (EOI) as part of an online database. Workers may submit an EOI before entering Australia or while legally present in Australia, which will remain on file for two years. Many Professionals and Other Skilled Migrants are evaluated under a points system; applicants for provisional worker visa status must receive a minimum score to qualify. Skilled workers who hold provisional visa status may apply for their spouses or partners and dependent children or other dependent relatives to accompany them to Australia.

Workers who have held qualified provisional worker visa status for two years, and have worked full-time for at least 12 consecutive months may be eligible to apply for a Skilled Regional (Residence) visa (subclass 887) visa. The Skilled Regional Visa allows workers to collect social security, received subsidized healthcare, sponsor other applicants for permanent resident status and be eligible for eventual Australian citizenship.

Categories Eligible to apply for Skilled - Regional (Residence) Visas (subclass 887)

  • Skilled - Independent Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 495)
  • Skilled - Designated Area - Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 496)
  • Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 475)
  • Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional) visa (subclass 487)

Specialist Entry Worker Visas

Specialist entry worker visa applicants are not subject to evaluation by the points system, although in many cases applicants must be sponsored by an eligible Australian or New Zealand citizen, Australian permanent resident or Australian organization. Applicants under specialist entry worker visa categories may also be required to undergo a health examination, be required to demonstrate proof of adequate financial means of support while in Australia, or both.

Specialist Entry Worker Visa Categories

  • Distinguished Talent visa (Offshore) (subclass 124)
  • Distinguished Talent visa (Onshore) (subclass 858)
  • Domestic Worker (Executive) Visa (Subclass 427)
  • Exchange Visa (Subclass 411)Entertainment Visa (Subclass 420)
  • Foreign Government Agency Visa (Subclass 415)
  • Government Agreement Visa (Subclass 406)
  • Media and Film Staff Visa (Subclass 423)
  • Religious Worker Visa (Subclass 428)
  • Special Program Visa (Subclass 416)
  • Sport Visa (Subclass 421)
  • Visiting Academic Visa (Subclass 419)

Working Holiday Visas

Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 may apply either for a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) or a Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462), depending on their country of residence. Each working holiday visa allows the holder to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months. Holders of holiday visas may enter and leave Australia multiple times during the validity period for the visa. Working holiday visas cannot be used to migrate to Australia permanently.

New Zealand Citizens Work Visas

New Zealand citizens who wish to work in Australia should apply for an offshore General Skilled Migration visa either before entering Australia or once they are in the country. New Zealand citizens who hold a Special Category Visa (subclass 444) automatically qualify for an offshore General Skilled Migration visa while they are in Australia. New Zealand citizens may qualify for one of the following four categories:

Working Holiday Visa Categories

  • Skilled - Independent (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 175)
  • Skilled - Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 176)
  • Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 475)
  • Skilled - Recognized Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 476)


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