Working visas in Australia

There are myriad considerations to working in Australia, and one of them is the somewhat complex working visa system. For skilled, professional candidates there are a number of different options.
Typically, work visas allow the holder to:
  • Work in Australia for up to four years (and it can usually be extended)
  • Work as an employee or a contractor
  • Work in multiple locations
  • Bring dependants (who will be able to work as well)
The exact details can vary between subcategories of work visas and specifics should be checked before embarking on an application.
There are essentially two steps to the process – employer nomination, and the actual visa application.

1. Employer nomination

Your new employer must show the immigration authorities that there is a bona fide position, that they can pay you, and that they will meet their responsibilities. They will also need to prove that they have adequately tested the Australian market before employing an expat.
Expats will not be involved in this side of the process – however,  it must be kept in mind that visas are rarely granted to work in major cities. Expats should rather aim to work in a regional or rural area of Australia (at least 45 minutes from the city).

2. Visa application process

The entire visa application process is done online, and there is a lot of information required. It is recommended that you read through the immigration website thoroughly before commencing the process. Some things that you (and any dependents) will need to do for this application are: 
  • Undertake an in-depth medical examination
  • Provide criminal history checks from every country you have lived in
  • Meet English language proficiency requirements
  • Declare that you will adhere to Australian laws and values
The entire process can take several months, so it is recommended that you start what you can sooner rather than later. Issues that can restrict entry to Australia are criminal convictions, complex medical problems, or incomplete paperwork. Once you arrive in Australia, you will need to show that you have appropriate health insurance to cover yourself and your dependents for your stay.
It makes a difference to have professional support for both a job search and the visa application process. You may consider a recruitment agency. Recruitment agencies are an invaluable resource – always free to candidates, to assist you throughout the entire process.

Things to keep in mind:

You need to find a job before applying for a working visa
  • Always be truthful and open on your visa applications – it is not unknown for people to be sent home based on this kind of deception
  • Start as early as possible on the job search and visa process
  • Be organised and take responsibility
  • Some factors, like criminal history, or health issues can result in a visa disapproval
  • Keep location in mind – go for regional areas
  • Consider working with a recruitment agency

by Shaun Hughston, from the medical recruitment company Beat Medical.

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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Shaun Hughston is the Operations Manager at Beat Medical, a specialist medical recruitment agency based in Sydney, Australia...

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