Understanding the Basics of Visa Sponsorship for Employers and Employees

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January 11, 2024

Australia is an attractive destination for skilled workers seeking new opportunities and a better quality of life. For employers, tapping into this global talent pool often involves navigating the complex world of visa sponsorship. In this blog, we delve into the basics of Australian visa sponsorship for both employees and employers, shedding light on the crucial aspects that govern this process.

What is a Sponsorship Visa?

A Sponsorship Visa is a pathway that allows Australian employers to sponsor skilled workers from overseas to fill specific roles that cannot be easily filled by the local workforce. This arrangement benefits both parties, contributing to the growth and diversification of the Australian economy while offering skilled professionals a chance to contribute to and thrive in a new environment.

Sponsorship Visa Subclasses

Australian visa sponsorship falls under various subclasses, each designed to cater to specific needs and circumstances. The most common categories include Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage), Subclass 186 (Employer Nominated Scheme), and Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional). These subclasses further branch into streams based on factors such as the duration of stay, occupation, and regional requirements.

  • Temporary Skill Shortage — Subclass 482: This visa allows employers to address labour shortages by sponsoring overseas workers for a specified period. It consists of short-term and medium-term streams, each with its own eligibility criteria and conditions. Depending on the stream, a visa of up to 4 years can be granted.
  • Employer Nominated Scheme — Subclass 186: Geared towards permanent residency, this visa requires employers to nominate a skilled worker for a position that is on the relevant occupation list. It comprises the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream and the Direct Entry (DE) stream.
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Scheme — Subclass 494: This visa encourages skilled workers to settle in regional areas, addressing the concentration of migration in major cities. Employers must be located in a designated regional area and nominate workers for positions in their businesses.

Eligibility Criteria 

General Eligibility Criteria

Regardless of the subclass, certain general eligibility criteria apply to both employers and employees. Employers must be lawfully operating a business in Australia, have a demonstrated need for the nominated position, and meet specific training benchmarks. On the employee’s side, eligibility involves having the required skills and qualifications for the nominated occupation and meeting the health and character requirements.

Specific Eligibility Criteria

Each subclass and stream comes with its own set of specific eligibility criteria which is required to be met for a visa approval.

  • Temporary Skill Shortage — Subclass 482 Requirements
      • Employers must be able to demonstrate genuine need for the occupation in their business and they must advertise the position to the Australian workforce. They must be able to meet Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) requirements for the employee’s salary and contribute specific amounts to the Skilling Australians Fund at the time a worker is nominated for the position.
  • Visa Applicants must have a minimum of two years of full-time post-qualification work experience in their nominated occupation, demonstrate they have sufficient skills, and meet the English language requirements.
    • Employer Nominated Scheme — Subclass 186
  • Employers must be able to demonstrate that their business is operating and they will be able to continue to afford the applicant’s salary. They must have advertised the position locally prior to offering it to visa applicants. The position must continue to be available to the employee for at least two years after the visa is granted. They must be able to meet TSMIT requirements for the employee’s salary and contribute specific amounts to the Skilling Australians Fund at the time a worker is nominated for the position.
  • TRT Visa Applicants must hold a 457, 482, or related bridging visa. Their nominated position must be consistent with the position held whilst on their previous visa. They must be under the age of 45 and meet English proficiency requirements.
  • DE Visa Applicants must nominate an occupation from the Medium-Long Term Strategic Skills List. They must be under the age of 45 at the time of application, pass English proficiency requirements, provide a skills assessment from the assessing authority of their occupation, and have at least 3 years of full-time post-qualification work experience from anywhere in the world.
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional — Subclass 494
  • Employers must be located in a designated regional area with the nominated occupation on the relevant regional occupation list.
  • Visa Applicants must be nominated to work in an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list, have at least 3 years of relevant work experience in this occupation, have a skills assessment, meet language proficiency requirements, and be under 45 years of age at the time of application.


What Employers Need to Know

Understanding the intricacies of Australian visa sponsorship is crucial for employers looking to navigate the process successfully. It’s not just about finding the right candidate; it involves complying with regulations, demonstrating genuine need, and fulfilling ongoing obligations.

  • Genuine Need: Employers must establish a genuine need for the nominated position, proving that the role is integral to the operations of the business and cannot be easily filled by the local workforce.
  • Labour Market Testing: Before sponsoring an overseas worker, employers are often required to conduct labour market testing to demonstrate that they have made genuine efforts to fill the position locally. This involves advertising the job in Australia and giving Australian workers the opportunity to apply.
  • Ongoing Obligations: Once sponsorship is granted, employers are obligated to meet certain criteria throughout the visa holder’s employment. This includes providing terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those of Australian workers, notifying the Department of Home Affairs of any changes to employment conditions, and cooperating with monitoring and compliance activities.

How The Process Works

Embarking on the journey of Australian visa sponsorship requires a systematic approach. 

  • Identify the Right Visa: Understand the specific needs of your business and the qualifications of the prospective employee. Choose the appropriate subclass and stream based on your long-term goals and the nature of the position.
  • Check Eligibility: Review the eligibility criteria for both employers and employees to ensure that you meet the fundamental requirements. Seek professional advice from AustraliaMigrate to clarify any doubts.
  • Prepare Documentation: Gather all necessary documentation, including evidence of genuine need, labour market testing results, and relevant qualifications. Ensure that all paperwork is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Submit Nomination Application: Lodge a nomination application with the Department of Home Affairs. This involves providing detailed information about the nominated position, the employer’s business, and the employee’s qualifications.
  • Lodge Visa Application: Once the nomination is approved, the employee can lodge their visa application. Work with AustraliaMigrate to ensure you have the best possible chance of success.
  • Comply with Ongoing Obligations: After the visa is granted, employers must adhere to ongoing obligations, including maintaining accurate records, notifying the Department of Home Affairs of any changes, and ensuring compliance with employment conditions.


Entering the world of visa sponsorship can be challenging for both visa applicants and employers. With assistance from AustraliaMigrate, who ensure careful preparation, employers can harness the benefits of a global workforce and employees can experience the excitement of starting a new life in Australia. Contact us today and enjoy the impressive benefits of visa sponsorship tomorrow.

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