Visa reforms to Australia's temporary employer sponsored skilled migration programme are underway.  These reforms will impact the sponsoring and relocation of staff to Australia.  Implementation of reforms will begin immediately.  Businesses operating in Australia should review and seek advice in relation to plans to sponsore or relocate staff to Australia.




Business Migration & Visas for Australia

Any non-Australian citizen will need a visa to travel to and stay in Australia.   The Federal Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is the primary government migration and visa agency and provides detailed up-do-date information on migration and visas. DIBP Visa Finder

For businesses, the three main types of visas are for:

  • Business visitors to Australia
  • Sponsoring staff to Australia
  • Business Innovation and Investment



Depending on the country of origin, business visitors can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or eVisitor visa. Once granted, visitors can enter and remain in Australia for up to three months from each entry with limited business activity permitted.   If not applicable, you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa or Temporary Work Visa.

Visitor Visa (subclass 600)
This visa is based on a narrower definition of allowable business activities. Activities such as attending a conference, general business or employment enquires may be acceptable. Performing work activities such as supplying a service to an Australian organisation or company or participating in the sale of goods or services directly to the general public are not permitted.  (subclass 600).

Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400)
This visa  for a stay of up to three months with a longer period of up to six months allowable under limited circumstances. The visa permits short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work, participation in non-ongoing cultural or social activities at the invitation of an Australian organisation, or participation in an activity or work relating to Australia’s interests (in limited circumstances). (subclass 400)


The transfer of overseas staff to work in Australia requires appropriate visas in order to work. The primary type of visa for overseas skilled employees to undertake a specified position or work on client projects in Australia is the Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 (widely known in the vernacular just by its number: "457").

Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)

Approved companies operating in Australia or companies operating in other countries seeking to establish an entity in Australia are able to sponsor individuals.  The visa is valid for a period of up to four years.   Sponsors must demonstrate, attest  and provide evidence of a range of requirements including that they are lawfully operating a business that is actively engaged in business activities.

Employers operating an overseas business that has no formal operating base or representation in Australia may also sponsor employees on a subclass 457 visa to undertake specific limited business activities.

457 visa applicants also need to satisfy requirements in relation to health, character and English language requirements for the granting of an individual's visa.   The visa also allows the employee's spouse (married, de facto or same sex partners) and family to work or study in Australia.

If employment under the visa changes, prior approval may be required from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.  (subclass 457)


Business people with a demonstrated history of success in innovation, investment and business can apply to come to Australia to start or manage a business or invest in Australia without the need for sponsorship, subject to meeting relevant criteria and having prerequisite business assets and background credentials.

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme is a nominated programme (by State/Territory) which is made up of three subclasses:

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188).  The visa includes five streams - Business Innovator, Business Investment, Significant Investor, Premium Investor and Entrepreneur.  (subclass 188).  Holding this visa is the first stage before becoming eligible to qualify for the...
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).   After the requirements of the provisional visa are fulfilled including minimum qualifying periods, subclass 188 visa holders may progress to the subclass 888 permanent residence visa.  (subclass 888).
  • Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132).  The visa has two streams - Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur.  (subclass 132).

Migration Agents

Only registered migration agents can legally give immigration and visa assistance, advice and services in Australia. These firms are listed on the Register of Migration Agents, held by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA)

Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA)

Find a MARA-registered Migration Agent

More infomation

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)