Work Permits in Australia | Expert Guide for Employers

Share this article
Example H2
Example H3
Example H4


A land of opportunity, many talents are attracted to working in Australia. And, for employers, tapping into the international workforce can drive innovation, growth and competitive advantage. However, foreign nationals are not allowed to work in the country unless they have a valid working permit

Whether you are a multinational corporation looking to bring in top-tier executives or a small business seeking specialised skills, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to successfully sponsor and employ overseas workers.


Work Permits and Work Visas in Australia: Is There a Difference?  

A work visa allows non-citizens to live and work in Australia for a specified period, often tied to their employment status and specific job roles. Work visas come in various types, each designed for different purposes and durations. 

In Australia, work permits and work visas are often used interchangeably. A foreign national’s valid work visa also serves as their work permit. However, the Department of Home Affairs, the government body with responsibilities for immigration, citizenship, and border control, officially uses the term work visa. 

The Importance of Ensuring Eligibility For Employers 

As an employer, it’s your legal duty to make sure that your team member is lawfully allowed to work in Australia. 

By law, only Australian citizens, permanent residents, and New Zealand nationals holding Special Category visas have unrestricted right to work in the country. 

If your candidate is not any of the above, then they need a valid work permit in Australia. By valid, it means the visa allows them to carry on the role you hire them for. This is important because some visas have restrictions specifying the employer and even their number of hours. 

If an employer is found to have hired a member illegally, regardless of whether they know about it or not, they may: 

  • Pay huge fines (corporate fine can be as high as $315,000
  • Be imprisoned for  up to 2 years for each offence, may reach 5 years for exploitation of workers 
  • Face reputational damage 

Likewise, note that company directors and officers may also face individual penalties. 

Work Visas in Australia: Types, Eligibility, and Costs

If you’re an employer looking into bringing in talents from other countries, you need to ensure that your team member holds the right type of visa. Under this section, we’ll discuss the types of work permits, who they are eligible for, and their costs. 

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa 

This type of work permit in Australia allows skilled talents who are nominated by their employer to live and work in Australia permanently

It costs AUD4,640.00 and has the following streams:

  • Data Entry: For employees whose occupations are on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.
  • Labour Agreement: When the employer has a labour agreement. 
  • Temporary Residence Transition: For employees who have an eligible temporary visa and have worked for the employer full-time for at least 2 years. 

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa

This work permit in Australia allows talents with an eligible visa in past years and those meeting the income requirements to live and work in the country permanently

There are two streams under this visa, both of which do not need a sponsor or nominator:

  • Regional Provisional: For employees who have lived and worked in designated regional areas in Australia. The candidate must have followed the conditions of their eligible visa and have met the taxable income requirements in the past 3 years. 
  • Hong Kong: This visa allows eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders who have demonstrated commitment to Australia to live and work there permanently. Applicants must meet specific visa and residence requirements.

The cost of a Regional Provisional stream visa is AUD 475.00; the Hong Kong stream costs AUD 4,640.00.


Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa

This work permit in Australia allows regional employers to fill labour shortages by sponsoring skilled workers when they cannot find suitable Australian candidates.

There are three streams under this visa, all allowing the employees to stay in Australia for 5 years and cost AUD 4,640.00.

  • Employer Sponsored: Allows employees to live, work, and study only in designated regional areas of Australia and apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the date the visa is granted.
  • Labour Agreement: The employer must have a labour agreement. 
  • Subsequent Entrant: This visa allows family members of Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) visa holders to apply separately and join the primary visa holder in Australia.

Skilled Independent Visa

This work permit in Australia allows invited workers, eligible New Zealand citizens, and eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders with essential skills to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia.

There 3 streams under this visa, all allowing the talent to stay permanently anywhere in the country: 

  • Points Tested: This is for invited skilled workers under 45 to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia without needing a sponsor or nominator.
  • New Zealand: For eligible New Zealand citizens who have shown commitment and contribution to Australia.
  • Hong Kong: Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders who have demonstrated commitment to Australia, provided they meet specific visa and residence requirements.

Points Tested and Hong Kong visa streams cost AUD 4,640.00.

Type of Visa What it Permits Who it is For Cost (AUD) Duration
Employer Nomination Scheme Visa Live and work in Australia permanently Skilled workers nominated by an employer 4,640.00 Permanent
Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa Live and work in Australia permanently Talents with an eligible visa and meeting income requirements 475.00 (Regional), 4,640.00 (Hong Kong) Permanent
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa Live, work, and study in designated regional areas of Australia; pathway to permanent residence Skilled workers sponsored by regional employers 4,640.00 5 years
Skilled Independent Visa Live and work anywhere in Australia permanently Invited skilled workers, eligible New Zealand and Hong Kong/BNO passport holders 4,640.00 Permanent
Skilled Nominated Visa Live, work, and study anywhere in Australia permanently; sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence; pathway to Australian citizenship Invited skilled workers on the relevant skilled list 4,640.00 Permanent
Skilled-Recognised Graduate Visa Live, work, or study in Australia Recent engineering graduates under 31 465 Up to 18 months
Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa Live and work in regional Australia; pathway to permanent residence Skilled workers in regional Australia 4,640.00 (Invited), 415.00 (Extended Stay) Temporary, pathway to permanent residence
Skilled Regional Visa Live and work in regional Australia permanently Skilled workers who lived and worked in regional Australia 475 Permanent
Temporary Graduate Visa Live, study, and work in Australia Graduates Varies Varies
Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa Do short-term, highly specialised work in Australia Individuals with unique skills, knowledge, or experience 405 Up to 6 months
Temporary Skills Shortage Visa Live and work in Australia; employer-sponsored Skilled workers sponsored by employers Varies 2 to 4 years

Skilled Nominated Visa

This work visa in Australia allows your employee to live, work and study anywhere in the country permanently, sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence, and even become an Australian citizen if they are eligible. 

Note that for this work permit, your team member must:

  • Satisfy the points test
  • Be invited
  • Have a role on the relevant skilled list and a suitable skills assessment

The cost for this work visa is  AUD 4,640.00.

Skilled-Recognised Graduate Visa

This work permit in Australia allows recent engineering graduates under 31 to live, work, or study in the country for up to 18 months, provided they have completed a degree (or higher qualification) from a specified institution within the past two years.

The cost is AUD 465.00.


Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa

Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa allows skilled workers to work in regional Australia, allowing them to bring their family as well. When granted, it’s possible for visa holders to apply for a Skilled Regional (Permanent) visa. 

There are 3 pathways under this visa, invited, extended stay (for those who already have an existing, eligible visa), and subsequent entry pathway (for a family member of someone who holds a Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa. 

Invited and extended stay pathways cost AUD 4,640.00. Extended stay pathway costs AUD 415.00. 

Skilled Regional Visa

This work permit in Australia is similar to Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa, however, your employee must hold or have held an eligible visa that expired outside Australia during the concession period, have lived in a specified regional area for at least 2 years and worked full time for at least 1 year (unless COVID-19 concessions apply), and have complied with the conditions of that visa.

Skilled Regional visa costs AUD 475.00


Temporary Work Visas

There are also temporary work permits in Australia, including:

Temporary Graduate Visa that allows foreign nationals to live, study, and work after they have finished their studies. There are several types of Temporary Graduate Visas, depending on what you want to further pursue. Length of stay and cost likewise vary depending on the type of visa. 

Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa. The temporary visa allows individuals to do short-term, highly specialised work in Australia, suitable for those with unique skills, knowledge, or experience not typically available in the country. They can stay for up to 6 months; the cost is AUD 405.00. 

Temporary Skills Shortage Visa. This temporary visa allows an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled worker for a position they cannot fill with an appropriately skilled Australian. With this work permit, your employee can stay 2 to 4 years. 

Australian Work Visa Requirements

Australian work visa requirements vary depending on the type of visa needed. In general, there are requirements for their:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Character
  • English proficiency
  • Skills and work experience 

Documentary requirements also vary, but foreign nationals applying for a visa are required to show or submit their:

  • Valid passport
  • Photo
  • Education and work credentials 
  • Visa application form
  • Documents relating to employment, such as appointment letter, employer letter, invitation letter, etc. 
  • Evidence of financial statements 


Work Visas in Australia: Your Role as an Employer

As an employer, one of your key roles - and legal responsibilities - is to ensure that the foreign national you are hiring has a valid work permit. Don’t neglect checking if their documents are complete and authentic, particularly their work visa and relevant credentials. 

If you are nominating or sponsoring a foreign employee, please remember that there are several steps to take, including:

  • Conducting labour market testing to make sure that no suitably qualified Australian employees can carry out the role. 
  • Ensuring that the foreign candidate meets the skills assessment criteria through an assessment. 
  • Aligning with the criteria specified for the visa, its stream or pathway. This is particularly important because only those included in the Skills Occupation List can be sponsored. 
  • Paying the necessary fee to become a sponsor 
  • Making sure that the salary meets the requirements 
  • Submission of the nomination to the Department of Home Affairs 
  • Providing the candidate with the documents they need for their visa application.  

Learn more about Nomination here. Here’s more information on Sponsorship

Finally, as an employer, you must do your due diligence through background checks to ensure that you hire trustworthy and qualified candidates, thereby safeguarding their company's reputation and security.

Don’t Skip Background Checks When Hiring International Talents

Securing work visas for employees in Australia involves a comprehensive background screening to meet various regulatory requirements. For employers sponsoring candidates, the following checks are crucial:

  • Criminal Background Checks: These are essential for meeting the character requirements set by Australian immigration authorities. If the candidate has a substantial criminal record, they might not meet the character requirement. Learn more about Criminal Records Check here
  • Education and Employment Verification: Ensuring the accuracy of a candidate's educational background and employment history is vital for a smoother skills assessment. It also helps ensure you’re bringing in someone who’s best suited for the role.
  • Health Screening: A health assessment is a mandatory requirement for many Australian visas, conducting a health screening helps for a smoother application process. 
  • Credit History: Financial stability is often reviewed during visa applications. Credit history checks provide insights into a candidate’s financial behaviour, ensuring their financial statements reflect a reliable and responsible individual.

For employees not under sponsorship, Right to Work Checks are indispensable. ​​

Here’s more information on Employee Background Checks in Australia

How Veremark Helps Facilitate a Smooth Visa Application Process

As a background screening platform trusted by the world’s best workplaces, Veremark can conduct the necessary background checks for a more seamless visa application. By choosing Veremark, you benefit from:

  • Easy, Automated Screening: Our user-friendly, automated background screening process reduces the administrative burden and simplifies compliance​​.
  • Reliable and Comprehensive Verification: Tailored to various industries and roles, our compliant services help mitigate hiring risks and build a trustworthy workforce​​.
  • Global Checks and 24/7 Support: With a wide selection of online background checks and round-the-clock customer care, Veremark ensures a faster and more informed hiring process, regardless of your location​​.

Leverage Veremark’s expertise for a smoother and more efficient visa application process, ensuring you bring the best talent onboard with confidence.

Share this article

Popular Packages



Is a work permit the same as a work visa in Australia?

Essentially, a work permit is a term used interchangeably with a work visa: if a foreign national has a valid work visa, it also serves as their work permit. However, the Department of Home Affairs officially uses the term work visa.

Why is it important to ensure that a foreign worker has a valid work visa?

Ensuring a foreign worker has a valid work visa is crucial to comply with immigration laws and avoid legal penalties, while also guaranteeing the worker’s rights and protections are upheld.

What may happen if an employer is found to have illegally employed a foreign worker?

Employers found to have illegally employed foreign workers can face substantial fines, legal sanctions, and damage to their reputation.

How can background checks help in a more seamless visa application process?

Background checks can verify an applicant's credentials, criminal history, and employment records, streamlining the visa application process by ensuring all information provided is accurate and trustworthy.


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

10 Biggest Problems Recruiters Face and How to Overcome Them

What are the ten biggest problems recruiters face?

Recruitment is one of the most challenging processes a company faces, but if done well, it can pay off well in the long run. As the resignation wave rises, the competition for top talent will only intensify in the future.

In such a competitive recruitment landscape, the talent acquisition teams face many challenges in their hiring processes.

A recruiter plays a vital role in the entire recruitment process and is key to ensuring a good candidate experience. Moreover, he deals with each phase of the recruitment process, from attracting the most suitable candidates to screening, interview scheduling, final selection, and onboarding. Even though the most critical success criteria for a recruiter is to fill the open position within a minimum time, they also must ensure cordial relationships with candidates who have not been successful in enhancing the employer brand value of the company. A good recruiter can handle rejection gracefully and convert the denial into a fruitful relationship.

The recruiter has to give equal focus and effort to each stage of the recruitment process and move along with successful candidates until the onboarding stage. Moreover, they must confront challenges along the recruitment process, and the ten most significant problems they face are covered in this paper.

In this report, we discuss:

- Attracting the right talent

- Hiring efficiently

- Engaging quickly and warmly with qualified candidates

- Getting selected candidates on-boarding on time

- Recruiting accurately and fairly

- Ensuring diversity in hiring

- Meeting client briefs

- Value creation for the client

- Data-driven recruitment

- Create an efficient recruiting process

- Methods to overcome problems

- Creating a talent pipeline

- Upskilling and Reskilling Internal candidates

- Ensuring a good candidate experience for enhanced employer brand value

- Multiple tests to improve hiring accuracy

- Leverage multiple sourcing channels to diversify your candidate base

- Human Resource (HR) Technology Implementation

- Application Tracking System (ATS)

- Artificial Intelligence and Automation in Hiring

- Conversational AI for improved candidate experience

- Digital reference check and background verification

- Video Interviews

- Blockchain in hiring

The future of work is still in progress and it will continue to evolve as organisations adopt newer workplace models to meet emoloyee expectations. The remote work model, along with the great resignation wave, has made recruiter tasks challenging, as they have a limited talent pool from which to fill open positions.

The challenges will continue to persist as organisations must reimagine the future of work to overcome the challenge of this great resignation wave, and other changes in demand for improved candidate and employee experiences.

Get your own copy!