Working Visa — Australia Employment Visas

What is a Working Visa in Australia?

Work visas are for skilled migrants who are sponsored by an Australian employer. You can be sponsored by an Australian business, government agency or non-government agency for a work visa. Unlike skilled visas, you do not need to have a certain number of points to be eligible for a work visa. 

There are a number of work visas available. However, the most popular work visas are the:

The Three-Step 482 or 494 Visa Application Process

Step One

Your sponsor applies to become a Standard Business Sponsor.

(This step will not apply if your sponsor already holds this form of sponsorship.)

Step Two

Your sponsor nominates you to apply for a subclass 482 or 494 visa.

Step Three

You lodge your subclass 482 or 494 visa application.

The Two-Step 186 and 187 Visa Application Process

Step One

Your sponsor nominates you to apply for a subclass 186 or 187 visa.

Step Two

You lodge your subclass 186 or 187 visa application.

It is possible to lodge your visa application whilst your sponsor’s nomination application is still being processed. It is also technically possible to lodge a nomination and visa application whilst a Standard Business Sponsorship application is pending. However, we would recommend against doing this.

Subclass 482 Visa Criteria

This is a temporary work visa that can last for up to two (Short-term Stream) or four (Medium-term Stream) years depending on what occupation you would be employed under. If you have obtained a subclass 482 visa which expires in 2 years, it is possible in some instances to apply for another subclass 482 visa which will last an additional 2 years. 

To find out whether your occupation would allow for a 2 or 4 year visa period you can check here.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to transition from a subclass 482 visa to a permanent work visa (more information below).

Visa Requirements

To be eligible for a subclass 482 visa you must meet the requirements below:

  1. You have been nominated by your sponsor for an occupation which is on the subclass 482 Skilled Occupation List
  2. You have obtained a positive skills assessment for your nominated occupation; 

*Please note that this only applies for certain occupations. To find out whether this requirement applies for your occupation you can check here.

  1. You have not given, or offered, your sponsor a benefit in return for them agreeing to sponsor you; 
  2. You have adequate private health insurance; 
  3. There is no adverse information that applies to your sponsor;
  4. You have at least 2 years of relevant work experience; 
  5. You are a genuine temporary entrant;
  6. You have competent English language abilities;
  7. You meet the public interest and special return criteria.

Subclass 494 Visa Criteria

The subclass 494 is a regional work visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must live and work outside of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth. The subclass 494 visa is a temporary visa that lasts for up to 5 years. It is possible to transition to a permanent regional work visa after holding a subclass 494 visa for 3 years.

Visa Requirements

The eligibility criteria for a subclass 494 visa are:

  1. You have nominated an occupation on the subclass 494 visa Skilled Occupation List;
  2. You have a positive skills assessment for your nominated occupation;
  3. You have a genuine intention to perform your nominated occupation;
  4. The occupation you have been nominated for is genuine; 
  5. There is no adverse information about your sponsor; 
  6. You have not offered, or provided, your sponsor with a benefit in return for them sponsoring you; 
  7. You are under the age of 45; 
  8. You have at least 3 years of work experience related to your nominated occupation; 
  9. You have competent English and
  10. You meet the relevant public interest and special return criteria. 

Subclass 186 Visa Criteria

This is a permanent work visa that allows you to be sponsored by an employer located anywhere in Australia. There are three different streams available for subclass 186 visa applicants. The direct entry stream, the temporary resident transition stream, and the labour agreement stream.

Common Requirements

There are visa requirements that apply to all of the subclass 186 streams. These requirements are: 

  1. If required, you hold, or are capable of holding a professional license, registration, certificate or membership of a particular body;
  2. The occupation you have nominated matches the occupation stated in your employment agreement; 
  3. You have not provided, or offered, a benefit to your sponsor in return for them sponsoring you; and
  4. You meet the relevant public interest and special return criteria.

Direct Entry Stream Requirements

To be eligible for a subclass 186 visa in this stream, you must:

  1. Be under the age of 45 (some exceptions apply);
  2. You have Competent English;
  3. There is no adverse information about your sponsor; and
  4. You have a positive skills assessment.

Temporary Resident Transition Stream

The requirements for a subclass 186 visa in the temporary resident transition stream are: 

  1. You are under the age of 45 (some exceptions apply);
  2. You previously held a subclass 457 or 482 visa; 
  3. You have Competent English;
  4. There is no adverse information about your sponsor; and
  5. You have the appropriate skills to perform your nominated occupation.

Labour Agreement Stream

This stream is only for subclass 186 applicants who are sponsored by an employer who has entered into a valid labour agreement with the Australian government. The other relevant requirements for the subclass 186 labour agreement stream are: 

  1. You are under the age of 45, unless the applicable labour agreement excludes this requirement; 
  2. There is no adverse information about your sponsor; 
  3. You will be employed under terms and conditions that are not less favourable than those that would ordinarily apply to a domestic worker; 
  4. You have appropriate skills (including English language abilities) and experience to perform the occupation you are being sponsored for; and 
  5. You have at least 3 years full-time experience working in the occupation you are being sponsored for (some exceptions apply).

Subclass 187 Visa Criteria

The subclass 187 visa is a permanent regional work visa that provides a pathway for migrants to transition from a temporary to a permanent work visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must live in work in a regional area of Australia (i.e anywhere outside of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth). 

Unlike the subclass 186 visa, the subclass 187 visa only has two streams. The temporary resident transition stream and the Direct Entry stream. However, the Direct Entry stream is now closed for any new applicants. This means that unless you have already applied for a subclass 187 visa in the direct entry stream, you will not be able to apply for this visa.

Common Requirements

The subclass 187 visa also has common requirements that apply to both streams. These requirements include: 

  1. If required, you hold, or are capable of holding a professional license, registration, certificate or membership of a particular body;
  2. The occupation you have nominated matches the occupation stated in your employment agreement;
  3. You have not provided, or offered, a benefit to your sponsor in return for them sponsoring you; and
  4. You meet the relevant public interest and special return criteria.

Temporary Resident Transition Stream Requirements

The requirements for the subclass 187 temporary resident transition stream are: 

You are under the age of 45 (some exceptions apply);
You previously held a subclass 457 or 482 visa;
You have Competent English;
There is no adverse information about your sponsor; and
You have the appropriate skills to perform your nominated occupation.

*Please note that the information and visa requirements stated on this page is not an exhaustive list, and there are other requirements that will need to be met to be eligible for the visas listed above. Furthermore, migration laws and policies can be changed at any time without prior notice, and therefore, the contents of this page cannot be relied upon as being completely accurate after the date of publication.