Can my Business Sponsor a Foreign Worker from non-English speaking country?

What is Sponsoring Skilled Staff from Overseas?

The Australian Government carefully calibrates skilled migration to fill critical skills needs that support Australia’s economy.

If your business is having difficulty recruiting skilled staff from within the Australian labour market, you may wish to consider sponsoring suitably qualified and experienced staff from overseas.

There are 3 Subclasses of visas that allow employers to sponsor overseas workers in Australia:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (TSS) – Subclass 482
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (ENS) – Subclass 186
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – Subclass 187
  • Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa – Subclass 494


Sponsored Visa Requirements Australia – Employers

A variety of safeguards exist within employer sponsored visas.

These safeguards include:

  • requiring market salary rates to be paid to sponsored workers
  • mandating a minimum salary of $53,900
  • limiting the occupations that are eligible for employer sponsorship to only those determined to be in demand in the Australian labour market by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • requiring employers to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund
  • requiring overseas workers to hold relevant Australian registration, licences and certificates
  • skills, English language, age, and work experience requirements for overseas workers

For some visa types, you must show us you can’t find a suitable Australian worker.

For these visas, if you nominate an overseas worker, you will need to test the local labour market.   

Being a sponsor means the skilled worker can work only for you while you sponsor their visa


Australia Sponsored Visa Application costs

Becoming an approved sponsor under the TSS 482 visa program: AUD420

Nominating a visa applicant for the TSS 482 visa: AUD330

Nominating a visa applicant for the ENS 186 visa: AUD540 (subject to stream and location)

There is no application fee to nominate an applicant for the RSMS 187 visa. However, the Skilling Australians Fund levy is payable.

Paying the Skilling Australians Fund levy: the amount depends on the size of the business and the proposed period stay of the employee.

The levy payments are tax deductible.

You must pay for all costs associated with becoming a sponsor and nominating and sponsoring an applicant.

You can’t transfer these costs to the visa holder or their family members.


TSS Sponsored Visa Requirements Australia

Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS)(subclass 482) visa

The TSS visa allows highly skilled personnel to come to Australia to work for an approved employer for up to either two or four years. The length of the visa will depend on the nominated occupation.

The nominated occupation must be on one of two lists issued by the DHA –

  • the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) or
  • the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

TSS Short term stream visa English requirements-Employees

  • IELTS overall average score of 5, with a minimum score of at least 4.5 in each band; or
  • OET  Score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components; or
  • TOEFL iBT: total band score of 35, with at least 3 in Listening and Reading and at least 12 in Speaking and Writing; or
  • PTE (Academic): Average band score of 36, with minimum of 30 in each band; or
  • CAE Advanced: Average band score of 154, with minimum of 147 in each band.


TSS Medium term stream visa English requirements

The required test scores have been increased for each English language test to:

  • IELTS at least 5.0 in each test component
  • OET Score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
  • TOEFL iBT at least 35 overall and at least 4 for each of the test components of listening and reading, and a score of at least 14 for each of the test components of speaking and writing
  • PTE at least 36 in each test component
  • CAE at least 154 in each test component


TSS Labour agreement stream English requirements

You must have English language skills suitable to perform your nominated occupation. English requirements may be specified in the Labour agreement between your employer and the Commonwealth

This visa is for skilled workers nominated by employers who have a Labour Agreement. It lets you live and work in Australia temporarily. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers.


ENS Visa Requirements Australia

This visa lets skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, live and work in Australia permanently.

Basic Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • have the necessary skills for the job
  • be nominated by an Australian employer
  • must meet our health and character requirements


ENS Direct Entry stream visa English requirements – Employees

The required test scores have been increased for each English language test to:

  • IELTS at least 6.0 in each test component
  • OET Score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
  • TOEFL iBT at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
  • PTE at least 50 in each test component
  • CAE at least 169 in each test component


ENS Labour Agreement stream visa English requirements

You must currently work, or will work, for your employer under a labour agreement.

You must have suitable English language skills, experience, skills and other attributes for the position. The labour agreement will provide guidance on these.


Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa Requirements Australia

This visa enables regional employers to address identified labour shortages within their region by sponsoring skilled workers where employers can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker


Basic Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • be nominated by an approved work sponsor
  • have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • be under 45 years of age
  • meet minimum standards of English language proficiency


Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa Employer Sponsored stream visa English requirements – Employees 

The required test scores have been increased for each English language test to:

  • IELTS at least 6.0 in each test component
  • OET Score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
  • TOEFL iBT at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
  • PTE at least 50 in each test component
  • CAE at least 169 in each test component



Is there a special “Labour Agreement” visa?

No, there is no “labour agreement” visa. The Labour Agreement simply refers to the agreement that is negotiated between the company and the Department.

Once a company has obtained a labour agreement, they will still sponsor foreign nationals for either a TSS Subclass 482 visa, a SERS Subclass 494 visa, or an ENS 186 visa.

Typically each of these visas have a “labour agreement stream” where instead of satisfying all the “standard” criteria of the respective visas, they need to fulfill some of the standard criteria as well as the additional criteria negotiated in the Labour Agreement (for example, the agreed English, qualification, employment criteria).


What are the criterion for a Labour Agreement?

The criterion differs slightly depending on the type of labour agreement you’re applying for, and what specifically you’re looking for. But as a general rule you would need to:

  1. be an Australian registered business with good standing (no adverse information – have not contravened a law, or become insolvent, or been subject of administrative action);
  2. demonstrate that you will meet appropriate salary and employment conditions;
  3. be seeking to fill skilled occupations that are not readily available in the local job market (i.e. demonstrate that there are genuine skill or labour shortages);
  4. make a compelling business case for employment of an overseas worker based on the exceptional or niche skills;
  5. demonstrate that the recruitment of overseas workers is to supplement your Australian workforce, and the approval of the labour agreement would not impact training opportunities for Australians;
  6. demonstrate a commitment to training Australians (and have a plan in place to train Australians to avoid the need for a further labour agreement).

In certain instances, you would need to consult with relevant industry stakeholders (such as unions or industry groups). You would need to provide each of them with an opportunity to respond to your labour agreement proposal.


Exemptions from English language proficiency

You do not need to demonstrate your English language proficiency if you fall into one of the following categories of exempted persons:

  • you are a passport holder from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America
  • you have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where instruction was conducted in English*. Note: a higher education institution includes Vocational Education and Training (VET)courses for the purposes of this visa subclass
  • you are nominated for an occupation which will be performed at a diplomatic or consular mission of another country or an Office of the Authorities of Taiwan located in Australia
  • the person is an employee of an overseas business who is coming to Australia to work for that company, or their associated entity, and the position has guaranteed annual earnings of at least AUD96,400
  • your occupation requires you to hold a licence, registration or membership and:
    • to be granted the licence, registration or membership you must demonstrate a level of English language proficiency that is equivalent to or better than the level described on the previous page (test/scores), and
    • you have been granted the licence, registration or membership.


Are you looking for Sponsoring your Employees from oveseas?

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