Companies Sending Staff to Australia

At the bottom of this page we have detailed information about our solution for Australia, including management fees, work permit fees & processing times, payroll, taxation, and social security levels.

If you’re looking to send staff to Australia for an overseas project, it can be difficult to find clear information on an unfamiliar jurisdiction, much less efficient solutions. You’re facing complicated issues, in addition to a host of problems you may not have even considered yet. To compound these difficulties, you’re likely under sizable time and budget constraints.

Contractor Taxation offers a comprehensive solution to these concerns, helping companies extend into new markets and rapidly deploy expatriate resources. Read more about the kinds of goals your company could be achieving, instead of using time and resources to research Australia’s intricate tax and immigration information.

Taxation in Australia

One of a company’s biggest concerns will be guaranteeing total compliance with any and all tax requirements. In order to safeguard both itself and the end client, a company needs to consider:

  • Personal income tax for their employees in Australia
  • Social security costs
  • Payroll tax in Australia
  • VAT/Sales tax in Australia
  • Withholding tax in Australia (if you’re in the U.S., learn more about withholding tax here)
  • Permanent establishment

Work Permits for employees in Australia

Another major concern will be your ability to secure the appropriate Work Permit for your employee.

Employees need to be sponsored for a permit. To sponsor an employee yourself, you will need to be incorporated locally and be licensed to sponsor foreign workers. If you’re not already at that stage, organising a permit is an impossibility until you complete the (often lengthy) process of local incorporation and licensing. Depending on your project’s time frame, you might need employees on site quickly, making a Work Permit even more problematic.  

The end client may or may not be willing to sponsor a temporary worker, but this raises complicated payroll and employment issues. Sponsors often need to pay the sponsored employee, adding another layer of complication to the already-complex process of taking on a project in Australia.

You might be able to explore alternate visas for your employee, or even use one visa and transfer to a Work Permit in order to expedite secondment. However, missteps can cost even more time (and money). If an employee is working on the wrong visa, you could be opening the end client to serious legal and financial risks.  

What is a management company and how can it help send your staff to Australia?

Essentially, a management company operates like an outsourced employer. They sponsor your staff on local Work Permits (where required), employ your staff and payroll them locally. They deduct all local taxes and social security from the assignees’ pay at source, and then pay these to the local tax authorities. In short, they reduce your administrative burden, while mitigating the business risks of employee secondment.

Taxation: As specialists in local tax law, they ensure that an employee 1) is compliant with all regulations, and 2) keeps the largest possible portion of his or her earnings. This reduces your administrative work, along with any risk of tax violation in Australia.

Immigration: Management companies can sponsor Work Permits for staff, eliminating one of the largest barriers of project work in Australia.

If you urgently need staff on site, a management company can also help organise a Business Visa for the employee. They can then help the employee transition to a Work Permit, assuring that your employees start work faster while maintaining compliance with Australia’s immigration regulations. 

Your company’s role: Although a management company involves a fee, you typically save money and time by reducing your administration, as well as potential liability. Why not get a quote and compare the total cost of employment?

Australia payroll services

Firstly, do you have a local company in Australia? If so, is it appropriately registered to run a payroll, or to deduct and file taxes? Does it have the right administrative staff and is it capable of staying up-to-date with local tax requirements? Is it able to sponsor international hires for Work Permits?

Without a suitable local company already in Australia, you need to consider a few different options.

Setting up payroll in Australia

You can incorporate locally, get registered, and hire staff to handle payroll in Australia. This option depends on your circumstances; will your project justify the cost of incorporating locally? Will you be able to incorporate within the time limits of the project? Is it even possible to set up a company yourselves with local ownership requirements? Will this company be able to sponsor international hires on local Work Permits?

If you believe this is the correct route for your company, you likely need to consult a local accounting advisory firm. Time and budget permitting, you can also consult an international tax specialist like PWC or KPMG. Some of our partners offer assistance to foreign companies incorporating locally; check with us if you are interested.

Even if you decide that establishing a local payroll in Australia is the right option for you, you should still consider using a local payroll provider.

Using a local payroll provider

The time frame of your project may not justify local incorporation. In that case, a payroll provider is a more efficient solution. Even if you plan on incorporating in Australia, you can reduce security risks by using a payroll provider while you get set up. This solution is simple and only requires a monthly, commitment-free operational cost.

Payroll providers versus management companies

Outsourcing payroll can mitigate the risks and liabilities of sending employees to Australia, but it’s prudent to consider using a management company rather than just a payroll provider. A management company specialises in all of the same payroll tasks, plus a multitude of other services.

Most notably, they are able to sponsor Work Permits for your staff. This means a management company can reduce immigration-related liability, in addition to their specialist tax and payroll solutions.

Getting started with a management company in Australia

Co-employment eliminates your legal responsibility and dramatically lessens your administrative load. This frees your company to devote its resources to higher value business objectives, and helps maintain consistency across borders. However, different management companies offer different expertise, making it important to find the right company for your project.

Let us know your goals and we can give you easy, concise information on sending your staff to Australia.  Our advice is free and doesn’t obligate you in any way.

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Work Permits in Australia: Frequently Asked Questions



Yes foreign contractors can get sponsored for 457 visas provided they meet the minimum sponsorship criteria. This is based on their job title, rate, experience and qualifications.

Can a management company sponsor Work Permits for foreigners in Australia? 

Yes provided they meet the job title and earnings level requirements. The contractor needs to be earning at least A$400 per day and in a 6-12 month contract in IT / Engineering / Finance.

How long does it take to get a Work Permit in Australia?

2 to 4 weeks.

What is the work permit process in Australia?

The sponsoring company actually makes the application. For the individual contractor all they need to do is submit their CV, passport scan and qualifications.

What documentation is required for a Australia work permit?

CV, passport scan and qualifications. Some nationalities may also have to pass a medical exam.

What is the cost of a Work Permit in Australia?

The actual visa cost is $470 and the sponsoring company may charge a management fee on top of that. Our partners in Australia charge a fee that varies from 4-14% based upon the earnings level of the individual contractor.

Can you transfer from a Business Visa to a Work Permit in Australia?

Yes but you must leave the country to activate the work permit.

It varies by profession. For IT and Telecommunications it is AUD $8000 per month. For Engineering it is AUD $11400 per month.


Business Visas in Australia: Frequently Asked Questions



Can we organise business visas for Australia?


How long does it take to process a business visa in Australia?

Electronic application is available for certain nationalities (Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, USA) which is processed immediately. Nationalities of these countries may apply through a visa agent, travel agent, airline or Australian visa office outside Australia: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vatican City.

What is the cost of a Business Visa in Australia?

$20 for online application.

Can nationals of certain countries enter Australia without a Business Visa (for example, on an entry visa or visa waiver)?

Yes for citizens of Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America.


Management Companies in Australia: Frequently Asked Questions



What is the monthly cost of using a management company in Australia?

If sponsored they will earn approximately 65%. If they don’t require sponsorship they will net approximately 70% dependent on expenses.

What is the estimated net retention for an assignee in Australia earning USD 200,000 per year?

Going through a standard PAYG (pay as you go) structure the contractor will NET approximately 69% of gross. Using an umbrella company this will increase slightly - especially if making use of legal tax reduction measures like a novated lease on their car. On a sponsored work permit they would net approximately 65%.

What is the estimated net retention for an assignee in Australia earning USD 100,000 per year?

*update pending


Payroll in Australia: Frequently Asked Questions



How does payroll work for employers of foreign nationals in Australia?

The employer makes all deductions at source and pays the net earnings to the employee. There is a payroll tax of 4.75 to 6% which varies by state. Your employer (the company sponsoring your visa) pays the candidate on a monthly basis. The employer deducts medicare contributions of 1.5%, occasional compulsory deductions like the recent flood levy and income tax (which ranges from 0-45%) at source and then pays it to the Australian tax authorities. There is compulsory superannuation contibution of 9% which is made by the employer and paid direct to the nominated super fund. Candidates are able to offset their personal taxable income with some business expenses most notably travel and allowances for working from home. The World Bank estimates employers in Australia spend 18 man days per year to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes.

What is the monthly cost to outsource payroll in Australia?

It costs about 5% of gross salary to outsource the payroll. Compulsory contributions such as payroll tax are on top of this.