How businesses can hire overseas workers in Victoria

23 December 2021

A person can legally work in Australia if they are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, or hold a valid visa with permission to work. The Victorian Chamber can help businesses recruit overseas workers and fulfil their legal obligations.

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Employers must check if overseas workers can legally work in Australia in the first instance. Having an Australian tax file number or driver's licence is not sufficient evidence to prove an overseas worker can work in Australia.  

Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) is a useful tool that allows visa holders and employers to check visa details and work rights.  

The Victorian Chamber recommends that members register as a VEVO organisation through the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website as a part of their HR practices.  

The Employer Sanctions Legislation requires every employer to take reasonable steps to ensure that every person working for them has appropriate work rights. Employers must also understand any limitations to those work rights.  

Employing a non-citizen  

International students (subclass 500 visa) and working holiday makers (subclass 417 or subclass 462 visa) are two common categories that Victorian employers will likely come across in their recruitment processes.  

While these visas allow the holders to work, there are also specific visa conditions attached that define their work rights.  

Once international students commence their study in Australia, in most cases they are allowed to work for 40 hours per fortnight when courses are in session, and unlimited hours during semester breaks.  

Please note there is currently a temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders in place to support the supply of certain services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it only applies to students who work in the sectors specified by the Department of Home Affairs.  

The Working Holiday Visa allows citizens from eligible countries to work while travelling in Australia, usually for 12 months.  

Visa holders can work in any location, occupation or industry while in Australia. However, a visa condition restricts visa holders from working for any one employer for longer than six months without permission from the Department of Home Affairs.  

Sponsoring a skilled worker  

The Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482), or TSS visa, allows Australian employers to sponsor overseas staff to work in their business in Australia. 

The TSS 482 visa involves a three-step process: 

  1. Standard business sponsorship – employers need to demonstrate that they have lawful and active business operations that satisfy the requirements of Australian workplace laws and practice 
  2. Nomination – the employer needs to nominate a position within their business that will be filled by the overseas worker on a full-time basis. The role needs to be either on the short- or medium-term skilled occupation list. Apart from the position, employers are also required to conduct labour market testing (LMT) and pay the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy.  
  3. Visa application – the nominated employee would need to demonstrate that they have the qualifications, skills and experience required for the position. Health and character of the nominee will also be assessed before being granted the subclass 482 visa.  

How we can help 

Sponsoring overseas workers can be a complicated process. The Victorian Chamber provides tailored migration and visa services to members. We can help: 

  • Determine an organisation’s eligibility to sponsor overseas skilled workers 
  • Ensure businesses and potential employees understand the legal obligations 
  • Prepare documents and lodge sponsorships, nominations and visa applications 
  • Monitor the entire application process 
  • Liaise with, and respond to, immigration authorities 
  • Keep up to date with immigration changes 
  • Understand legislation, policies, and procedures and how to deal with other relevant migration and visa issues 

For more information on sponsoring skilled overseas workers, please contact our registered migration agent, Eddie Zhao, on 03 8662 5234 or email ezhao@victorianchamber.com.au  

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