Australia Work Permits

A Contractor's Guide to Work Permits: 

Immigration is one of the primary concerns for any contractor hoping to start working in Australia. Permanent employees will find it easy to get their Australian work permit because they’ll receive “sponsorship” for their entire stay from their prospective employer.

The Australian work permit, known more commonly as the 457 work visa, is dependent on this sponsorship because it confirms that you’ll be earning money during your stay in the country. Contracting in Australia is more difficult because the work permit is tied to one employer, so you have to change it to suit each new contract. Thankfully, umbrella companies provide a convenient and effective solution to this issue.

How Can Umbrella Companies Help You Get a Work Permit in : 

As your permanent employer, umbrella companies are able to sponsor you for your Australian work permit provided they’re on the register of approved sponsors. Many different companies offer this service, because it makes contracting in Australia infinitely simpler and saves you the hassle of continuous paperwork. Instead of changing your work permit every time you get a new contract, you can just work how you ordinarily would under the same permit. They protect you from the bureaucratic “rain” of legal compliance with the Australian immigration authorities. They can even deal with the Australian Embassy directly. 

Through their service you may be able to use a business visa to get started quickly and then transition to a work visa in Australia. It depends on your specific visa requirements. Be aware you may have to register for a residence permit in Australia.


Work Permit Processing Time: 

Approximately 4 weeks

Can Work Permit be Processed in Country?: 

The visa that the employee is currently on would determine if they will get a bridging visa to remain in country. If the applicant is in Australia and holding a valid visa when the 457 visa application is lodged, they will automatically be granted a bridging visa that will allow them to remain in Australia until their 457 visa is finalised. Once approved, they would NOT need to depart Australia and re-enter on the 457 visa. 

If the applicant is outside Australia when the application is lodged, they would need to remain outside Australia until the visa is approved. 

Work Permit Cost: 

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) application fees are as follows: 

- Nomination Application: $330 
- Base Visa Application: $1080 
- Additional Applicant (18 and over): $1080 
- Additional Applicant (under 18): $270 

*Please note: the DIBP application fees increased slightly as of 1 July 2017. The above reflects the current application fees. 

The lodgement of this application also incurs a credit card surcharge of 1.4% (this is imposed by the DIBP and it is mandatory to lodge the application using a credit card). 

Work Permit Application Process: 

The process for obtaining the 457 visa is as follows:

(1) Sponsorship

Employer applies to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to become an approved standard business sponsor. This application is valid for 5 years unless the business has been trading within Australia for less than 12 months (in which case it lasts 18 months). Businesses operating within Australia will have to lodge an attestation confirming a strong record of employing local labour. This sponsorship application costs $420.

Possible documentation required (Employer):

  • attestation affirming a strong record of or commitment to the employment of local labour
  • a detailed business plan
  • contract of sale relating to the purchase of the business
  • lease agreement relating to business premises
  • contracts to provide services
  • evidence of employment of staff
  • Business Activity Statements (BAS) for each complete quarter from commencement of operations to date of lodgement
  • business bank statements covering the period of operation

(2) Nomination

Once a business is an approved (or in the process of becoming approved) sponsor they can nominate a position to be filled by an overseas skilled worker. An employer will be required to certify in writing things such as the tasks for the position, that the qualifications and experience of the nominee are commensurate with ANZSCO specifications. Nomination for this visa costs $330.

Possible documentation required (Employer):

  • Identity of the person who will work in the nominated occupation
  • ANZSCO code for the nominated occupation
  • Location or locations where the nominated occupation is to be carried out
  • Relevant certification

(3) Visa Application

Once the application is supported by an approved sponsor and an approved nomination, the visa application can be made. This application costs $1060.

Documentation required (Employee):

  • certified copy of your passport biodata page, passport size photograph
  • certified copy of your birth certificate
  • certified copy of your family register document if applicable
  • certified copy of your identity card if applicable
  • certified copy of any official document which details any name change (for example, a marriage certificate) if applicable
  • details of your residential address
  • filled out 1066 internet form (attached in the dropbox)
  • employment references
  • curriculum vitae
  • proof of English language proficiency (unless exempted)
  • Address in Australia
  • All applicants over the age of 18 must obtain a police clearance for each country they have lived in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years.
  • Translation of Qualification

Documentation required (Employer):

Evidence that the business is (or is in the process of becoming) a standard business sponsor


Question and Answers about Work Permits in Australia

Q: Is it possible for a foreign national to be sponsored on a Work Permit in Australia?

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

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

A: 2-4 weeks.

Q: What is the visa process?

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

Q: what documentation is required from the candidate?

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

Q: How much does it cost?

A: 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.

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

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



Common Questions and Answers about Business Visas in Australia

Q: Can you organise business visas for Australia?

A: No

Q: How long does it take to process?

A: Electronic application for certain nationalities (Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America) 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.

Q: How much does a business visa in Australia cost? 

A: $20 for online application

Q: Can nationals of certain countries enter Australia without a Business Visa? For example on an entry visa or visa waiver? 

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



Client comment

"Great advice and excellent service on contracting and immigration solutions in the UK. I would highly recommend Tim and the team to assist you with accurate, clear and concise contracting advice in the UK or any other country for that matter."

Prishen Pillay,Global DBA Operations Lead

Shell International Trading & Shipping