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Skilled & work visas Australia

There are a number of different visas available to foreign skilled workers who would like to work and live in Australia. Some require sponsorship by a nominating Australian business, however some can be applied for independently subject to meeting the requirements and receiving an invitation to apply. Many skilled worker visas provide a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship, and have a wide range of benefits for both foreign workers and Australian employers that are struggling to fill worker shortages.

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Types of work and skilled visas in Australia

There are a number of skilled visas available for foreign workers in Australia, which are designed to suit different occupations or circumstances. Choosing the right visa depends on many factors, including your long term goals, so it's important to seek professional advice to determine which option and pathway is best for you. The first factor to consider is which occupation best matches your skills and experience, which will in turn determine which pathways you may be eligible for.

This is generally the second stage of the 482 visa, however, it is possible to apply for a 186 directly without having held a 482.

The 187 employer-sponsored visa is for 482 visa holders in a regional area.

The 494 is an employer-sponsored visa that requires a sponsoring Australian business to nominate you.

The 482 temporary visa allows skilled workers to work for an approved sponsor for up to four years.

The 191 visa provides permanent residence for applicants who have held a 491 or 494 visa for a period of three years.

The 189 visa is a permanent visa that can be applied for without requiring a sponsoring Australian employer.

Similar to the 189, the 190 visa requires an EOI, invitation and skills assessment to apply.

The 491 visa allows skilled foreign workers to live and work in a regional area for five years.

The 476 visa allows individuals who have completed an engineering course at bachelor degree level or higher to live and work in Australia for a maximum of 18 months.

The subclass 482 graduate visa allows students that have recently completed a course of study in Australia to live and work in Australia on completion of their studies.

This is a temporary visa designed to allow for the short term employment of professionals in highly specialised work streams.

Explore the Skilled Occupations List for Australian visas, detailing essential qualifications and professions eligible for migration to Australia.

This is generally the second stage of the 482 visa, however, it is possible to apply for a 186 directly without having held a 482.

The 191 visa provides permanent residence for applicants who have held a 491 or 494 visa for a period of three years.

The 187 employer-sponsored visa is for 482 visa holders in a regional area.

The 494 is an employer-sponsored visa that requires a sponsoring Australian business to nominate you.

The 189 visa is a permanent visa that can be applied for without requiring a sponsoring Australian employer.

Similar to the 189, the 190 visa requires an EOI, invitation and skills assessment to apply.

The 491 visa allows skilled foreign workers to live and work in a regional area for five years.

Explore the Skilled Occupations List for Australian visas, detailing essential qualifications and professions eligible for migration to Australia.

The 476 visa allows individuals who have completed an engineering course at bachelor degree level or higher to live and work in Australia for a maximum of 18 months.

The subclass 482 graduate visa allows students that have recently completed a course of study in Australia to live and work in Australia on completion of their studies.

The 482 temporary visa allows skilled workers to work for an approved sponsor for up to four years.

This is a temporary visa designed to allow for the short term employment of professionals in highly specialised work streams.

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Benefits of using an Australian Migration Lawyer for your Work or Skilled Visa

The Australian Migration Lawyers team is composed of experienced lawyers well-versed in migration legislation and policies which are subject to constant changes. We maintain a high rate of success in handling skilled visas and other primary applications, even those considered challenging. One of our central goals is to improve accessibility to justice, a commitment we uphold by representing every individual who seeks our guidance for their visa application.

Our certified Australian lawyers are knowledgeable in Australian laws and legal precedents, allowing us to provide valuable support for your visa application. We also offer guidance on alternative migration pathways and strategies when relevant. We ensure that all eligibility requirements are met and all relevant documentation is provided to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. 

We're prepared to assist with any additional requests issued by the Department of Home Affairs, offering guidance from the initiation of the preparation process all the way through to its conclusion.

Work visa requirements

The requirements for work and skilled visas in Australia will depend on the type of visa that you are applying for. Common criteria for these visa types include:

  • Demonstrating between two to three years of relevant work experience
  • Meeting all health and character requirements
  • Having a suitable level of English
  • Holding all necessary qualifications or registration for the occupation
  • Selecting an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • Be under the relevant age limit

Depending on the visa that you are applying for, other requirements may include:

  • Being sponsored by a relative or nominating employer
  • Meeting the points test requirements and receiving an invitation to apply
  • Having a suitable skill assessment
  • Having suitable work experience on a specified visa

Work visa costs involved

There are generally two main costs associated with work and skilled visa applications.

Professional fees payable to Australian Migration Lawyers to prepare the application

Our fees will vary depending on the circumstances of your application. We work on a fixed-fee basis rather than billing hourly to provide our clients with certainty about what the total costs associated with their visa application will be. We strive to be flexible, so we offer payment plans based on financial need. 

Department fees

The relevant Department fees vary between different subclasses. Generally speaking, regional visas may be cheaper, and most employer sponsored visas will include additional costs for the nomination, sponsorship, and relevant Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levies.

There may also be costs associated with getting Regional Certifying Body approval and assessments, which will vary depending on the relevant bodies. 

Work visa processing times

The processing times for work and skilled visas differ depending on the subclass you are applying for. Processing times are also subject to the complexity of your case, the completeness of your application and the caseload being processed by the Department. At Australian Migration Lawyers, our goal is to submit high-standard, comprehensive applications that help reduce delays. 

We discuss the most recent information about processing times during our consultation. We will  draw on our experience to provide you with our professional estimate based on your circumstances.

Frequently asked questions

Read our most frequently asked questions.

What are the types of skilled worker visas in Australia?

There are a number of skilled worker visas in Australia which are suited to different circumstances. The different visas are explained in further detail above and in our related visa pages, however they broadly consist of a number of employer sponsored visas, graduate visas, points tested independent visas and investor visas.

What qualifies for a skilled visa in Australia?

The requirements for all skilled visas vary, however some of the most important and common criteria include:

  • Demonstrating between two to three years of relevant work experience
  • Meeting all health and character requirements
  • Having a suitable level of English
  • Holding all necessary qualifications or registration for the occupation
  • Selecting an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • Being sponsored by a relative or nominating employer
  • Having a suitable skills assessment

What is a skilled visa in Australia?

A skilled visa generally relates to visas with certain work and skills requirements. Generally, applicants must meet the skills and experience requirements for an occupation contained in a skilled occupation list. The lists are made in line with Australia’s worker demands, and are targeted to occupations and industries that are critical to the economy and have been experiencing ongoing shortages. Higher skilled occupations are also generally favored in these applications. 

How do I get a work visa in Australia?

You will need to first find an occupation that aligns with your skills and experience in order to determine which pathways will be available to you. Depending on the outcome, you may need to find a suitable Australian sponsor to nominate you for a role in their business, and demonstrate your skills with a range of evidence including reference letters and a skills assessment. Applications can be made online, and will be processed in line with the Department’s current processing timeframes.

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