- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Australia Guide (PDF)
Australia’s economy is robust and predicted to continue growing, so it comes as no surprise that more and more expats are looking to relocate Down Under to find lucrative employment. That said, expats will need to have a work visa to legally work in the country.
The application process may initially seem intimidating. There’s an incredible assortment of working visa categories and subclasses, each with its own complex requirements.
Luckily, the Australian government’s online portal is a useful and up-to-date tool that prospective expats can use to find the visa that suits their field of expertise.
Employer-sponsored visas for Australia
Employer Nomination Scheme
If an expat is hoping to work in Australia and they can find an employer to sponsor their visa, they could apply for a professional visa to live and work in the country. There are many visas available across a wide spectrum of professions and occupations. The employer must first submit their nomination and sponsorship forms before the visa can be applied for.
Permanent residence is obtainable through employer-sponsored visas. The three main classes include Direct Entry stream, Labour Agreement stream and Temporary Residence Transition stream. While these visas may seem similar, each has certain unique requirements. The Australian Home Affairs website can elaborate on each visa type.
Expats should note that the process to get a visa can take a long time, in some cases more than a year.
Business visas for Australia
For foreigners wishing to relocate and start a business in Australia, invest in a business or who anticipate playing a primary role in operating a new business, it’s necessary to first obtain a business visa.
Business Innovation and Investment visa
A permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa is necessary for any non-resident with an eye on business investment in Australia. The visa allows for permanent residence in Australia and can take anywhere between 19 to 26 months to process. To qualify for this visa, applicants must have a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa. As with most visa categories in Australia, there are a number of subclasses and we recommend researching each visa type thoroughly before applying.
Business Owner visa
Any expat hoping to own a business in Australia requires a Business Owner visa. A provisional Business Owner visa is needed to apply for the permanent version. Expats need also to have lived in Australia for at least 12 months on the provisional visa in the two years immediately before the application for the permanent one, and expats must have owned a business for two years on the same provisional license. The permanent Business Owner visa allows expats to continue owning their business, sponsor relatives for permanent residence and apply for Australian citizenship.
Temporary Activity visa
The temporary Activity visa allows foreigners to stay in Australia on a short-term basis while participating in a temporary job or business venture. The maximum amount of time visitors are allowed to stay is up to four years. To qualify for this visa, expats must have the relevant skills required to do the job, be sponsored by someone eligible already in Australia and meet the requirements of the specific subtype of Temporary Activity visa they are applying for.
Each subtype qualifies for different types of work, so expats should ensure they have applied for an appropriate class of visa.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►Visas for Australia provides more detail on migration options
Are you an expat living in Australia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Australia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.