Sponsoring employees in Australia FAQs

The after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still evident with many Australian businesses shutting down due to staff shortage.  Many Australian companies reach out to us to understand their options in sponsoring foreign workers.

This article intends to provide information about work visa options for potential sponsoring companies by answering some frequently asked questions on this matter.

  1. What are the available visa options when sponsoring foreign employees?  

There are a few employer-sponsored visa options depending on employee’s nominated occupation, the intended work contract duration, and the employer’s location.  

For employers who are looking for employees to work for them in the long-term and for their employees to become Permanent Residents in Australia, the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa is the best option.  ENS has two streams, the Direct Entry stream and the Transition stream.   The Transition stream is for visa applicants who have held a Temporary Skilled Shortage subclass 482 and can satisfy the criteria for this stream.  The Direct Entry stream are for applicants who have skills assessment, have the required qualification and work experience for their nominated occupation, and can also satisfy the rest of the criteria for this stream.

For short-term employment duration, the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa is suitable.  Depending on the nominated occupation of the employee, this visa can last between 2-4 years for its first grant.  TSS 482 visa holders whose occupations are on the Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skills Occupation List (MLTSSL) can have up to 4 years of visa duration and can also apply for the ENS Transition stream after three years if they are eligible.  Those on TSS visa whose occupations are on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) can be granted a maximum of 2 years of visa duration and can renew their TSS visa once more while in Australia.

For employers who are located in a designated regional area, another visa option is available aside from the ENS 186 and TSS 482 visa.  This is the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR)  subclass 494 visa.  This visa is good for 5 years and can lead to a PR visa (subclass 191) after three years.  The designated regional areas can be found on the link below:


  1. Can I sponsor a potential employee on any role that we need for our business?

One of the key requirements in sponsoring employees is that the nominated occupation should be on the skills list for the specific visa that the employer intends to sponsor on.  For example, a business who need factory workers cannot sponsor on the visa options discussed above because factory workers are not on the skills list for those visas.

The skilled occupation lists are found on the links below:

TSS 482 Visa Skills List


ENS 186 Skills List


SESR 494 Skills List


  1. Is there a specific revenue requirement for businesses to sponsor foreign employees?

There is nothing on the Migration legislation that requires a specific revenue for sponsors/employers.  However, it is important to note that the Department of Home Affairs will look at the genuineness of the sponsorship application.  The sponsor should demonstrate their genuine need for the position and that they have the financial resources to pay their potential employee at least $54,000 a year and within the annual market salary rate of the nominated occupation.

  1. Should my business be operating for many years before we can sponsor foreign employees?

There is no requirement on how long a business has been operating when applying to become an employer sponsor.  The genuine need should still be demonstrated as discussed on item 3 above.  Businesses that are operating less than 12 months should provide a business plan to show how they can fund their business expenses including the salary of their sponsored employees.

  1. I own a restaurant in Melbourne, can I sponsor my brother as a Chef?

The sponsorship application of business owners who sponsor their relatives can have an unfavourable result as the Department of Home Affairs may consider this as an application for a migration outcome.  This means the Department may view the application as not genuine as the objective of the application might not be solely for the purpose of sponsoring for the employer’s business.

Sponsoring foreign employees can be a solution to workforce shortages in your business.  If you want to explore this opportunity, it is best to seek advice and assistance from a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer.