How to Sponsor an Employee in Australia


Any legally established and operating business can apply to be a sponsor.

Note that businesses or organisations who are party to (hold) a Labour Agreement can also sponsor overseas workers. A business or organisation can be approved for different types of sponsorships – for example, they may hold both a Standard Business Sponsorship as well as a Labour Agreement at the same time.

The support you must provide the visa holder and your other obligations depend on:

  • your responsibilities as an employer
  • the type of visa you and the worker choose 

Top 4 Australian Sponsored Visa options for Skilled Workers

This table lets you compare sponsored visas for skilled workers. You can sponsor someone to come to Australia permanently or temporarily to fill a nominated skilled role.


Visa Length Unique features Skill or qualification requirements
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482) 1-4 years
  • Workers can only work for you or an associated entity unless exempt from this requirement
  • Workers must work only in nominated occupation
  • You can’t change the occupation without a new nomination
  • Worker must have the skills to perform the nominated occupation
  • Worker must have 2 years work experience in the occupation or a related field
Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Permanent
  • No geographical restrictions
  • The employment will be for at least a period of 2 years after visa grant
  • Direct Entry stream applicants require a skills assessment (unless exempt)
  • Relevant registration or licensing must be held if required
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) Permanent
  • Work must be in a regional area
  • The employment will be for at least a period of 2 years after visa grant
  • Relevant registration or licensing must be held if required
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) 5 years
  • Work must be in a designated regional area
  • The employment will be for at least a period of 5 years after visa grant
  • Employer Sponsored stream applicants require a skills assessment (unless exempt)
  • Relevant registration or licensing must be held if required

Other criteria apply to these visas. Consult the visa specific page for more complete details on the criteria for the grant of each visa type.

If you want sponsor someone to travel to Australia for other short-term work or activities, or for training, learn more about other ways of bringing someone.


Other Work Visa Options

You can sponsor or support a visa applicant so that they can come to Australia for temporary activities like entertaining or playing sport, cultural exchanges, seasonal work or training.  

Some visas will require you to be an approved temporary activities sponsor. 

An approved temporary activities sponsor is someone we have assessed as suitable to:

  • sponsor an applicant for a Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408), or
  • sponsor an applicant for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) Seasonal Worker Program stream or Pacific Labour Scheme stream visa, or
  • nominate and sponsor an applicant for a Training visa (subclass 407)

Depending on which visa or visa stream you want to sponsor an applicant for, you might have to meet other criteria.


Who can Sponsor an Employee for Australian Visas and Getting help with Sponsorship 

Who you can sponsor

You might be able to sponsor a skilled worker to come to Australia if you can’t find an Australian citizen or permanent resident with the skills and experience needed for the job.

You can sponsor workers temporarily or permanently.

You can sponsor someone who is a skilled worker:

  • living overseas who wishes to travel and work in Australia, or
  • already in Australia on another type of visa which does not currently allow them to work, or
  • already living and working on another visa in Australia

You can also take over the sponsorship of people holding a Temporary Work skilled visa (subclass 457) Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482).

With limited exceptions, the job you sponsor the overseas worker to do must be on the Skilled Occupations List. If the job is not on the list, you might be able to negotiate a labour agreement. For high-skill niche roles that can’t be filled through existing visa programs you could access the Global Talent Scheme.

Some visa holders already have work rights or might be able to apply for a visa on their own. In that case you don’t need to sponsor them.

To bring someone to Australia for other temporary activities such as sports training programs, seasonal work or as performers, you can sponsor them for another type of work visa.


How to sponsor

There are different visa options for sponsoring. The steps you need to take might differ between visas.   

As noted above, you can also sponsor workers if approved for a Labour Agreement. Businesses should only seek a labour agreement if standard skilled visa programs/products cannot be utilised to fill skill shortages.

As part of the process you will need to nominate a worker for the occupation you would like to employ them for.


Other Requirements

A variety of safeguards exist within employer sponsored visas that are designed to put job opportunities for Australia workers first. These ensure that overseas workers complement, but do not displace Australian workers. 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. Given the economic impacts of COVID-19, we will be further scrutinising employer sponsored applications to ensure that job opportunities for Australian workers are being prioritised. 

There will be more attention given to employer nominations in relation to Australian workers in similar occupations when considering whether there is a genuine need for an overseas worker, including:

  • retrenchments in the previous 12 months
  • reduction of hours worked during the previous 12 months
  • reduction in pay and conditions within the previous 12 months
  • employment of a temporary visa holder on conditions less favourable than Australians
  • recruitment of temporary visa holders beyond the ordinary scope of the business

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

When you sponsor a worker you have certain obligations to them. Some of these obligations might continue after they cease working for you.


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