Australia is without a doubt one of the most coveted countries for working professionals and for good reason. The country presents a mountain of opportunities in almost every sector, opening many doors for those who want to have a lucrative career.
Those already in Australia on Student Visas and Working Holiday Visas can apply for a sponsorship visa to extend their stay, however, there is a specific process and a lot of regulations. Unfortunately, many people end up believing that sponsorship is too hard or that no jobs exist…yet thousands get sponsored every year. So, how do you do it you ask?
For many already in Australia sponsorship is the best way to stay. There is a clear, well structured path to getting your Temporary Skill Shortage Sponsorship Visa which can potentially lead to Permanent Residency down the line. There are a few different options for sponsored work visas that suit different situations, the best option will be determined by your own personal circumstances. A common pathway is to hold a 482 visa.
Visa types and key requirements:
The 482 visa is the most common temporary work visa applied for in Australia.
There are 3 streams available under the Temporary Skill Shortage 482 visa:
1. Short term stream – for occupations on the skilled shortage list. This visa can be granted for up to 2 years.
2. Medium term stream -this visa can be granted for up to 4 years (with the option to apply for PR after 3 years).
3. Labour agreement stream – this is a negotiation on the labour agreement with Commonwealth that can be made on the basis of a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and where standard visa programmes are not available (this visa can be up to 4 years with the option of PR).
With a 482 sponsorship visa, eligible dependents, spouse or de facto partners are able to work and study in Australia without worrying about their visa status. For example, my partner was a secondary on my visa. As a secondary he had full working rights. The visa status was (dependent) meaning he would not have been able to stay in Australia without me.
The Visa Application:
The first step is up to the employer getting approval to sponsor an overseas worker. The second is the nomination of the position the company needs to fill and the last stage is the employee (you) applying for your visa. Most companies will be familiar with the process and walk you through it. Even so, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
- Your nominated position should be in an approved occupation as per the skilled occupation list.
- You should hold the requisite skills for the nominated occupation.
- You should satisfy registration and license obligations.
- You must be able to speak vocational English.
- You must pass a medical.
- An approved business entity should nominate you.
In order to be granted any Australian Work Visa you need to be deemed of ‘good character’. Not a criminal, but they won’t just take your word for it! To prove you are of said good character you need to provide police certificates for each country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more since the age of 16 (or within the last 10 years).
Health Assessment Requirements:
Applying for a visa requires you to meet certain health requirements which will change on a case by case basis. Your occupation, country of citizenship, intended occupation and time spent in other countries will all be taken into account. A medical examination and chest x-ray are a non negotiable requirement in order to rule out contagious diseases such as Tuberculosis. You will need to book an appointment with one of the immigration specific visa panel doctors. Having private health care insurance while you are living in Australia is a requirement, however, we got away with having travel insurance.
Spouse/De facto Partner Requirements:
In order to prove a spouse of the primary applicant is an extremely simple process, all it takes is a marriage certificate. However, to prove a de facto relationship is a little more tricky.
There is quite a substantial list of acceptable evidence:
- Evidence of co habilitation for 12 months/lease agreement. We did not have more than 3 months proof as we were in a long distance relationship travelling between Melbourne and Sydney, so instead we provided evidence of flights, dinner dates, texts (I kid you not).
- Joint bank account statements.
- Billing accounts in joint names.
- Proof of shared holidays – flights, pictures, activities.
- Character statements from friends and family.
- You can register your relationship, however, it is not necessary.
Helpful steps to obtain your sponsorship visa.
Step 1 – Do your research.
Step 2- Gather your documentation. Provide accurate information. You should provide all adequate information with your application including health exams and police checks in order for your visa to be processed more quickly. If more than 18 months has passed since your health exam or more than 15 months since your police certs were issued new checks will be required. Be sure to provide all translations for documents in another language, for example, your degree and be sure to get all documentation certified by a justice of the peace.
Step 3 – Apply for your visa. You must apply online.
Step 4 – After you apply your case worker will contact you for any additional information needed. Be sure to contact immigration if your situation changes.
Step 5 – Visa outcome, you must be in the country you were when you applied when they decide your visa outcome. You will be notified of the decision via email. it will tell you your visa grant number, the date your visa starts and your visa conditions, if any.
Note: You will not be refunded if your visa application is refused.
Think long and hard before going onto a sponsorship visa.
Finding a likeable job that offers sponsorship is not as easy as it sounds and takes time which I did not have when I was searching a few years ago. I jumped in head first with a company I’d never worked for before (rookie mistake). Absolutely everything went wrong, looking back it was probably a sign that I most definitely chose to ignore! The company didn’t advertise the role appropriately which meant my visa was substantially delayed. I had to leave the country and return to Ireland for 12 weeks while this problem was rectified. My partner, however, was allowed to stay in Australia and work as normal.
Being sponsored comes with its own pros and cons but the truth be told, they own your ass if you allow them to! Know your rights and entitlements: maximum weekly hours of work, overtime, annual leave and public holidays to name a few.
1. Yes, you can change employers (within your sponsorship) but you have to find an employer that can take over your visa sponsorship within 90 days.
2.Your employer MUST test the Australian labour market before your sponsorship application can be made. If they do not your visa cannot be granted and can cause extreme delays.
3. Time is of the essence. Do not do as I did and leave everything to the last minute. Explore your options before deciding on a suitable job role. This is where you will spend most of your time for the next 2-4 years.
4. Do your research, the visa process is pretty straight forward once you wrap your head around it. You can 100% do the process yourself (I did), but if you feel more comfortable ask for help.
5. Stay on a Working Holiday Visa for as long as possible, don’t rush into sponsorship. Enjoy your freedom.
Note: I am not an immigration lawyer, this has been written after my own personal experience applying for and being granted a sponsorship visa. All information is subject to change.
If I can do it you can too. Good luck!