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Depending on your skills, qualifications, experience and/or whether you have an employer sponsor or have completed study in Australia, you may be eligible to obtain a visa to work in Australia. This article is for prospective skilled migrants looking to obtain an Australian work visa, and explores some of the subclasses of work visa that might provide you with eligibility to work and holiday.

How do you become eligible to work in Australia?

Generally, the Australian Government (Department of Home Affairs) offers the following work visa subclasses:

  • Skilled independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Temporary work visa (subclass 400)
  • Working holiday visa (subclass 417)
  • Temporary skill shortage visa (subclass 482)
  • Work and holiday visa (subclass 462)
  • Provisional – skilled work regional visa (subclass 491)

What kinds of working visa can I get in Australia?

The kinds of working visas available in Australia are determined by the Department of Home Affairs, who offer a number of visa programs to offer skilled migrants looking to work and/or holiday in Australia. These include:

Skilled independent visa (subclass 189)

For skilled migrants who do not have an Australian employer sponsoring them and wish to obtain a permanent visa. Skilled independent visas require applicants to complete a skills assessment and pass a points-based assessment which considers factors relevant to your eligibility (such as whether your occupation falls within an occupation list).

Nominated visa (subclass 190)

A nominated visa also requires a skills assessment, and also requires sponsorship from an Australian State or Territory Government. A 190 visa also allows a successful applicant to work permanently in Australia.

Temporary work visa (subclass 400)

If you are a more specialised professional looking for a more temporary visa (up to a period of 3 months), then a temporary work visa may be for you. A 400 visa does allow for longer periods (6 months or 12 months), however this will only be in exceptional circumstances.

Working holiday visa (subclass 417)

Working holiday visas are designed to allow young people (generally, 18-30 years of age or up to 35 for Canadian, Irish and French citizens) to enjoy an extended holiday and gain employment in Australia in order to fund their trip. In certain circumstances, these can be extended.

Temporary skill shortage visa (subclass 482)

In circumstances where there is a shortage of particular skills in Australia, the Australian government allows Australian employers and business owners to fill labour shortages by offering TSS visas under an employer nomination scheme, if they are able to find suitable skilled migrants abroad where the equivalent experience is not locally available.

Work and holiday visa (subclass 462)

Work and holiday visas (like working holiday visas) allow young people to travel to Australia and gain employment in order to fund their stay in Australia. Work and Holiday visa holders are able to stay for a period of up to 12 months, with certain options to extend.

Provisional – skilled work regional visa (subclass 491)

If you are a skilled migrant and are looking to live and work in a regional Australia, you may be able to obtain a skilled regional visa for a period of up to 5 years, where you have been nominated by an Australian State or Territory government.

Which working visa is right for me?

The Australian government offers these working visa categories in order to attract a variety of skilled workers, international students and talented young people. It is important to know which work visa is right for you, considering whether you are looking for a temporary or permanent visa and whether you are looking for permanent residency or citizenship.

Note that different work visas also have different processing times, depending on the requirements of the particular visa.

How long does it take to get a working holiday visa in Australia?

Processing times for visa applications differ depending on your circumstances, and the subclass of visa which you are applying for. Certain categories can have visa conditions applied to the granting of a visa, and it is important to understand the visa application process relevant to the subclass of visa for which you are applying. The Department of Home Affairs has a comprehensive list of working and holiday visa types, which includes indicative costs (in AUD), as well as processing times.



The above is general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. You should speak with one of our migration lawyers for legal advice tailored to your specific legal matter. The courts and tribunals deal with matters on a case by case basis. It should also be noted that there may be delays due to COVID-19.

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Frequently Asked Questions.

Visa applications are handled by the Department of Home Affairs. The Department of Home Affairs website contains details on the different visa types, the visa application process, as well as the cost and processing times attached to work visas.

Different work visa types have different periods. It is important to obtain advice about which visa subclass is right for you, and covers the period which you wish to stay in Australia for.

Generally, visa applicants will contact a migration agent in Australia, who is able to advise you on the application process for the visa you wish to obtain. A migration agent can also handle the application process for you.

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Whether you can work in Australia will depend on your skills, experience, occupation, and whether you have an employer sponsor or Australian State or Territory Government nomination. For more information about your eligibility for working visas in Australia, contact our migration agents for a free consultation today.