11 visa options for working in Australia
Every country faces a skills shortage, and Australia is not immune to that.
The occupations facing labour shortages in 2022 included registered nurse, teacher and motor mechanic. And this situation is yet to remain in years to come, according to the National Skills Commission’s 2022 Skills Priority List.
As an international student, where do you come in?
Does your line of interest happen to fall in this category?
Can you contribute your skills to the industries facing the most severe labour shortages?
From a visa perspective, the Australian Government has made various options available for you. Let’s discover your options below.
Post-study work visas
Firstly, we’re listing the visas you can apply for if you’re seeking to work post-graduation.
Temporary Skill Shortage visa (482)
The International Education Association of Australia states that if you hold a relevant qualification — from Australia or overseas — and have at least two years of work experience, then the 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa is for you.
According to Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, this visa lets an employer sponsor a suitably skilled worker to fill a position they can’t find a suitably skilled Australian to fill.
With this visa, you may stay and work in Australia for up to two years, or up to four years if an International Trade Obligation applies.
Temporary Graduate visa (485)
If you have completed your studies in Australia, the 485 post-study work visa could be for you. It usually has a validity of up to 18 months. But there’s a good news — the government will increase the duration of stay for some Temporary Graduate visas (subclass 485) for graduates with select bachelor and higher-level degrees by two years.
What’s next: Your longer-term visa options
If you want to extend your employment and life in Australia, there are two options: through the support of your employer, or without.
Employer Nomination Scheme visa (186)
Australia’s Department of Home Affairs extends the 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa to skilled workers who are nominated by an employer to live and work in Australia permanently.
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (494)
If you’re regionally-based, or considering taking this pathway, this visa may let you live and work in Australia for up to five years. Designed to address labour shortages within regional areas of Australia, you might be eligible for this visa if you fulfil the criteria set out by the Department of Home Affairs.
Non-employer sponsored visa
Skilled Independent visa (189)
The department sets out that the Skilled Independent visa, subclass 189, is for:
- invited workers
- eligible New Zealand citizens
- eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders
with skills needed by Australia. You can live and work permanently anywhere in the country.
Skilled Nominated visa (190)
Thinking about sponsoring eligible relatives for permanent residence? The Skilled Nominated visa, subclass 190, can take you there, or even to your own Australian citizenship. You can check on the Department’s website if your occupation is on the skilled list.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (491)
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa, subclass 491, is a visa for skilled people nominated by a state or territory government to live and work in regional Australia for up to five years. Holding this visa may also let your family member gain one.
Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (191)
This visa is for workers who hold an eligible visa and meet an income requirement. They can live and work in Australia permanently with this visa via two streams:
- regional provisional stream — people who have lived and worked in designated regional areas of Australia on an eligible visa
- Hong Kong stream — eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders.
Student work visas
If you’re seeking to work while studying, we commend your initiative! So read on for your visa options.
Your visa options
Student visa (500)
The 500 Student visa is for you if you are enrolled in a course of study in Australia. You can stay for up to five years, in line with your enrolment.
You can also work unlimited hours in any sector! Even better — the Australian Government is incentivising Student and Working Holiday Maker visa holders to return to Australia as soon as possible to help address current workforce shortages.
Working Holiday visa (417 or 462)
The Australian Department of Home Affairs states that this visa is for young adults (aged 18–30 inclusive) who want an extended holiday and work in Australia to fund it. With this visa, you’re not limited to the kind of work you want to do while you’re here.
Engaging in work while you’re studying can be a very valuable experience. Likewise, extending your stay after building a life in Australia for multiple years can be hugely rewarding. You might want to check out Australia’s top graduate employers for 2022 on our Australian Careers Service blog.
Remember to conduct your own research or seek professional advice from the Department of Home Affairs and/or a migration agent to find the best visa for you.