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Getting a Visa Sponsorship in Australia

Let’s say you visited Australia on a Working Holiday Visa and you liked it so much that you want to stay Down Under even longer. What are your options to extend your Australian visit even longer?

That’s where a visa sponsorship comes in.

We’re going to go through the ins and outs of what a visa sponsorship is, the different types, and what’s required to get one.

What is a visa sponsorship?

This is the $64,000 question isn’t it? To put it simply, a visa sponsorship is when an employer offers to sponsor you to stay in Australia by offering you an employment contract to work in the country.

What are the types of sponsorship visas?

There are 4 different types of sponsorship visa options available for those looking to work in Australia:

  • A Temporary Skill Shortage Visa
    • This lasts between 1-4 years
    • It’s divided up into 2 different categories: Short Term and Medium & Long Term, both of which we’ll dig into more below
  • Employer Nomination Scheme
    • This is permanent with no geographical restrictions
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
    • This is permanent and the work must be in a regional area
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa
    • This lasts for 5 years and work must be in a designated regional area.

What is a STSOL? (Short Term Skilled Occupation List)

This is one of the two Temporary Skill Shortage Visa streams available. As the name suggests, STSOL refers to those occupations and professions that will grant you a 2-year visa sponsorship, with the possibility to renew for another 2 years. Costs for this visa start from AUD$1,290 and applications can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. You’ll want to get in early.

Important to note that this type of Temporary Skill Shortage Visa doesn’t lead to a permanent stay in Australia.

There are about 215 professions that fall into this category and can be found here on the Home Affairs website. The list is updated every few months so keep checking.

What is a MLTSSL (Medium & Long Term Strategic Skills List)

The second of the two Temporary Skill Shortage Visa streams available. MLTSSL refers to occupations and professions that are sought after in Australia and will allow you to get a sponsorship visa of up to 4 years. Costs for this visa start from AUD$2,690 and applications can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. Patience is a virtue.

Unlike the STSOL, you can renew this several times and it can lead to permanent residence in Australia after 3 years.

There are about 293 professions that fall into this category and can be found here on the Home Affairs website. The list is updated every few months so keep checking.

What is an Employer Nomination Scheme and how can this help international students?

The Employer Nomination Scheme is a type of sponsorship visa that allows Australian employers to sponsor suitably skilled workers to come live and work permanently in Australia. Costs for this visa start from AUD$4,115 and applications can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. Yeah, it can take some time.

To be eligible, you need to have the necessary skills for the job, be nominated by an Australian employer, and meet the health and character requirements. We’ll dig into these a bit more below.

As for how this will help international students, the beauty about this visa is that you can work, study, and stay in Australia indefinitely, so it’s almost an all-in-one package for those looking to start a new journey Down Under.

What is a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and how can this help international students?

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme is a type of sponsorship visa that allows Australian employers to sponsor suitably skilled workers to come live and work permanently in Australia. The difference between this one and the Employer Nomination Scheme is that this visa only allows you to work in places designed as regional Australian areas.

So where are these regional areas? Luckily for most people, it covers a lot of Australia minus the big cities:

  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia, excluding the city of Perth
  • Victoria, excluding Melbourne and its surroundings
  • New South Wales, excluding Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong
  • Queensland, excluding Brisbane and the Gold Coast

Costs for this visa start from AUD$4,115 and applications can take anywhere from 7 months (if you go via the Temporary Residence Transition stream) to 39 months (if you do via the Direct entry stream). Yes, it can be a very long wait for this type of visa.

Here’s the big question for potential students though: How will this visa help international students? Well this visa is probably not preferable if you intend to study in Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane as it doesn’t cover those cities, so you’re probably better off with the other kinds of visa.

What’s required (e.g. minimum language level)?

Each of the different sponsorship visa options has more or less the same requirements, with slight variations. Generally speaking, these are the requirements you have to meet if you’re considering this route:

  • Be nominated by an Australian employer.
  • Have relevant work experience and skills to perform your chosen occupation.
    • The Employer Nomination Scheme and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa requires at least 3 years experience.
    • The Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa will require a positive skills assessment to gauge whether you have the skills to work in your nominated job.
  • Meet the English language requirements. You must have at least ‘Competent English‘ to be granted one of these visas.
  • Meet the health and character requirements. This is to make sure that you’re healthy and don’t have a health condition that would put significant burden on the Australian community, and to make sure that you’re a good person without a criminal history.
  • Have no debt to the Australian Government.
  • Not had a visa cancelled or previous application refused.

Are there any other considerations?

If you’re an international student, then the Employer Nomination Scheme is perhaps the best option if you intend to get sponsored as you’ll be able to freely study and work in Australia.

For those wanting to just holiday or want to only focus on studying in Australia, then perhaps a student visa or a working holiday visa is more your thing. Just make sure you know what you want and what visa option best suits your needs!

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