In light of the federal budget, what are the options for employer sponsorship in Australia for international students, working holiday makers and overseas migrants as well as Australian businesses in need of valuable skillsets?  Which ones would you use?

Here is a list below of possible options and how you would use each one.

  • Training visa

This visa is used to upskill the applicant to a higher level in their nominated occupation.  The visa can be for up to 2 years and the applicant must be able to demonstrate 12 out of the last 24 months of relevant work or study experience either full-time or part-time (pro rata).  This can be a handy pathway to the TSS 482 visa in order to gain the two years of work experience required for that visa.  It’s a great way to carry out an internship post studies also, or even as a means to extend a 485 graduate visa and continue to work for the same employer, gaining further experience potentially for another permanent visa ultimately.  Or it can just be a great way to gain more experience to take back to your own country!

For employers, who need to sponsor this visa, it can be a lower cost solution than the TSS 482 visa, but it can’t be used to circumvent it where the applicant already has plenty of experience in the position.

  • TSS 482

This is a means to sponsor an applicant for up to 4 year dependent upon the occupation.  Whether or not the occupation is on the short term or long term list (STSOL or MLTSSL) also makes a difference as to whether or not they can be sponsored for permanent residence ultimately.  Watch out for the Skilling Australians Fund, a training contribution fee payable to the government to assist in the training of young Australians and payable upfront for the amount of years of the visa application.

  • 186 TRT or Direct Entry

This visa allows an employer to sponsor a visa holder if they are working in an occupation that is on the long term list (MLTSSL) once they have worked for 3 years on the TSS 482 visa.  Alternatively, if the applicant has a skills assessment and 3 years’ experience in the occupation already, then it is possible to sponsor directly for permanent residence.  As per the TSS 482 visa, the Skilling Australians Fund applies and is a one off fee of $3000 or $5000 dependent upon the company turnover being over or below $10 million.

  • Global Talent Employer Sponsored program


This program is for employers to sponsor those who work in highly-skilled niche positions through the Established Business or Start Up stream.


  • DAMA


The Designated Area Migration Agreement is negotiated by the local chamber of commerce and state government with the federal government for occupations that do not appear on other occupation lists but are in demand in that regional area.  It requires evidence of labour market testing and demonstrating that the positions cannot be filled by an Australian.  The applicants need to have a skills assessment in their occupation.  Many positions can be sponsored after 3 years for permanent residence in the regional area.


  • Labour agreement

Similar to the DAMA, this is an agreement negotiated either between the company and the Department of Home Affairs, or alternatively between the industry and DHA.  Again, it is crucial to demonstrate that an Australian cannot work in this position and it must be for occupations that do not appear on any other occupation list.  It can take several months to negotiate and requires a large amount of research and documentation.

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