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What Visa Do I Really Need to do Business or Work in Australia?

Written By Will Aldous
Tue, Apr 22, 2014
Will Aldous

From time to time, Australian Businesses may require people from overseas to come to Australia for certain business activities, attend meetings, seminars, engage in training programs and in many cases work for the Australian business and provide vital skills for a particular position within the Australian Company.

When overseas people are required to come to Australia for businesses purposes, it is crucial that they obtain the correct Australian visa, for the purposes, which require them to be in Australia. As with all Australian Visas, conditions apply, which, if breached, can see the visa cancelled, and in the case of Australian Employers, subject to legally enforceable penalties, should the employer engage the services of an overseas visitor, in roles which are not permitted, under the condition of the visa held by the overseas visitor.

Accordingly, it is vital for Australian businesses to ensure that the person they require from overseas holds the correct visa, before they enter Australia to engage in business activities.

Following, is a guide to the business visas, which are available for application, but as mentioned above, each visa stream carries strict conditions, to which the visa holder and Australian employer must ensure are not breached.

Sub-Class 600 Visa:

Business Visitor stream: for business people travelling to Australia for a short business visit. This includes making a general business or employment enquiry, negotiations or participating in a conference.

You must be outside Australia when you apply, your application must be made outside Australia, and you must be outside Australia to be granted the visa.

This Visa permits you to:

engage in business visitor activities while in Australia that do not include:

- working for or supplying services to an organisation or other person based in Australia.

- selling goods or services directly to the general public.

Sub-Class 400 Visas:

This visa is for people who want to travel to Australia for up to three months to either:

- do short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work.

- participate in non-ongoing cultural or social activities at the invitation of an Australian organization.

- in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests.


You might be eligible for this visa if you are outside Australia and you either:

- have specialised skills, knowledge or experience that can assist Australian business.

- have been invited to participate in an event by an organisation in Australia.

- are required in Australia for exceptional circumstances of national importance, such as to assist following a natural disaster.

This visa does not permit the holder to do general work for a salary, unless it is highly specialized and considered not to be on-going work.

The 457 Visa

The Long Stay (Temporary) Business Visa is designed for people needing to come to Australia and work for a sponsoring Australian employer. The period of stay can be for any periods over 3 months and up to 4 years. This visa permits the holder to work only for the sponsoring employer, for a salary/wage while the visa holder is working in Australia.

The application process is in 3 stages, with the first stage being for the Australian Employer to be approved by the Department of Immigration as what is known as a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS). Stage 2 requires the sponsoring business to nominate a skilled occupation for the person they wish to bring into Australia. This is known as the nomination application, and requires the sponsor to demonstrate that that they have sought to seek to fill the position from within the Australian Labour Market. This as known as the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement. However, there are some exemptions to the LMT test, which include certain highly skilled occupations, applicants who come from countries which are parties to Trade Agreements and in the case of applicants being sponsored to come to Australia to assist in natural disaster recovery. The second main requirement for the nomination application is that the sponsoring employer demonstrates that the salary on offer to the sponsored employee as equivalent to salary which would be paid to an Australian Employee in an equivalent role. This is known as the Market Salary Rates principal. Again, there are some exemptions to this requirement, which includes highly paid professionals.

Against the nomination, the visa applicant lodges their application. The applicant is required to demonstrate that they have the skills and qualifications required to bring to the nominated role. In some cases, the visa applicant will be required to demonstrate their English language ability, by sitting an English test conducted by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The visa is granted with conditions which include the visa holder only being able to work for the sponsoring employer and that they must maintain valid Health Insurance cover. There are a number of countries, from which applicants may come, which will provide the applicant with reciprocal Medicare rights. In such cases, this will be sufficient to meet the health cover requirement.

Generally, at TSS, we will lodge the 3 stages, on behalf of our clients, with the Department of Immigration at the same time, so that they may process together, understanding that the visa application cannot be finalized until stages 1 and 2 are complete.

Australian Immigration Law is complex and in the cases outlined above, provides powers to the Commonwealth to sanction Australian Employers for any breach of the Migration Regulations. Accordingly, TSS would welcome any enquiries from Australian Employers, so that we may have the opportunity of guiding you through the maze of Australian Immigration Law.

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