You can be in or outside Australia when you apply for this visa. If you are in Australia at the time of application you have to hold a substantive visa or bridging visa A, B or C.

How This Visa Works


There are 3 steps which are as follows:

Step 1: The employer has to apply to become an approved business sponsor or to be a party to a work agreement.

Step 2: The employer must nominate an occupation in their business to be approved from the 494 List of Occupations and identify in the application who the visa applicant will be.

Step 3: The visa applicant must meet certain requirements for the approval of the visa, such as English fluency, work experience, skills, health and character to meet the requirements of the nominated occupation.

Steps in the process

Employer Sponsored stream

The employer needs to apply for approval as a Standard Business Sponsor. This involves presenting documents to demonstrate that they are an operating business, such as financial statements, marketing material, company registration, organizational chart and other identifying details about the company.

Business sponsorship is valid for five years and the business can nominate as many people as it wants to sponsor during this period. A business that is operating for less than 12 months or an overseas business can also be approved for five years.

Companies have certain obligations when sponsoring overseas employees and they can be monitored by the Department of Home Affairs at any time to ensure that they are meeting their sponsorship obligations.

Overseas Business Sponsors are prevented from using the Employer Sponsored stream.

For the Employer Sponsored stream, the position that the company requires you to work in has to be selected from the relevant skilled occupation list (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List or Regional Occupation List). For the Labour Agreement stream, the nominated occupation has to be specified in the work agreement.

In the Employer Sponsored stream all 494 nominations will need advice from an RCB. Also, to satisfy the Department of Home Affairs that there are no local Australians available with the required skills who want to work in this position, the employer must undertake labour market testing (advertising the role) for all occupations.

The nominated occupation has to be located in a part of Australia that at the time of application lodgement is considered to be a designated regional area. Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements. A Government Gazette notice states the minimum salary payable under this visa category, which at present is AUD$53,900 plus 9.5% superannuation. The market rate is at least as much as an Australian citizen or permanent resident employed in the same position in the same location is being paid;

The employer also needs to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for that occupation in their business. The nominated position has to be full-time and for at least 5 years.

Employers nominating a worker for a subclass 494 visa are required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF). The contribution is payable at the time the worker is nominated. The amounts are as follows:

$3,000 for ‘small’ businesses (those with an annual turnover of less than $10 million) or

$5,000 for other businesses whose turnover is greater than $10 million.

Employer Sponsored stream

At the time of application:

  • You have at least 3 years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation. The work experience must have been full-time and post-qualifications.
  • You have a valid positive skills assessment. In general, skills assessments are valid for 3 years unless the assessing authority specifies a period during which the assessment is valid.
  • You are under 45 years of age, unless you are an exempted applicant.
  • You have competent English language test (at least 6.0 in each of the IELTS test part OR 50 in each of the PTE Academic test part. Other tests acceptable are: OET, TOEFL, iBT and Cambridge English: Advanced).

At the time of decision:

All dependents who are 18 or older have to have at least functional English. Alternatively, $4,890 per person who does not have functional English will have to be paid.

What This Visa Lets You Do?

You can include your partner and children on your application. At the time of the decision, your children cannot be older than 23 unless they financially rely on you because they are incapacitated for work due to the total or partial loss of their bodily or mental functions.

This is a temporary visa. Once it is granted it allows you:

  • to work only for your sponsor or associated entity, unless an exemption applies.
  • to travel to, enter and remain in Australia for 5 years from the date of grant.
  • live, work and study only in designated regional areas of Australia.
  • if eligible, apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the time your visa is granted

Choose Your Visa Category

There are several visa options that allow businesses to sponsor overseas workers

to live and work in Australia.