Employers in Australia who can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker can sponsor an overseas worker with a pathway to permanent residency.

If you want to nominate an overseas worker, the role you want to fill usually needs to be on the skilled occupation list. If the job you want to fill is not on the list, you might be able to negotiate a labour agreement.

Visa options for skilled sponsored workers:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

Skilled workers who have been nominated by Australian employers have a pathway to permanent residency under

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) – Transition Stream
  • Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191)

How to Sponsor a worker


Option A – Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS):

When you apply to become a standard business sponsor, you can apply for accredited status as long as you meet the stipulated eligibility requirements. An accredited sponsor receives priority when the department processes TSS (subclass 482) or (SESR) (subclass 494) nominations and visa applications. SBS is valid for 5 years from the date the Department approves the applicant. Accreditation status for the SBS will remain in effect throughout the period of SBS validity.

For TSS 482 , employers can nominate the overseas worker under the short term stream or medium term stream and for SESR 494 the nomination can be under employer sponsored stream. Visa term under TSS is 2 – 4 years and 5 years for SESR. 

Both visas allow the nominated worker to apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the time the visa is granted.

Option B – Labour Agreement:

A lawfully and actively operating Australian registered business with good standing can request a company specific labour agreement.

Employers requesting a company specific labour agreement must provide an evidence-based case to demonstrate that they have a genuine labour market need to utilise the labour agreement program. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers.

A labour agreement can be requested where:

  • The employer can demonstrate that there is a genuine labour market need for an overseas skilled worker to fill a position in Australia (the position cannot be filled by Australian workers)
  • There are no standard (mainstream) visa options available to source overseas workers, and
  • The proposed labour agreement aligns with Australia’s national interests.

Employers can nominate an overseas worker via the labour market stream under both TSS 482 and SERS 494. An overseas worker living and working in Australia with a 482 visa can have their employer sponsor them for permanent residence through the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186).

Workers with a valid 494 visa can have their employer sponsor them for permanent residence through Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187). If a worker meets all the eligibility criteria as outlined by the Australian government and has worked for their employer full-time for at least 3 years, they can become a permanent resident.

If you would like to discuss employing overseas workers or any other aspect of migration, please reach out to us.