Sponsoring Overseas Workers in Australia: A Guide for Employers

Sponsoring Overseas Workers

Sponsoring Overseas Workers in Australia: A Guide for Employers


As an employer in Australia, you may find yourself in a position where you need to fill a role that cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or permanent resident. In such cases, sponsoring an overseas skilled worker can be a valuable solution. However, the process of sponsoring an overseas worker can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of the relevant legislation and regulations. In this guide, we will provide an overview of the process of sponsoring overseas workers in Australia and the obligations of employers as sponsors.

Process for Sponsoring Overseas Workers in Australia

The process of sponsoring workers in Australia starts with the employer becoming an approved sponsor with the Department of Home Affairs. This is called a Standard Business Sponsorship application (SBS).

An SBS involves meeting certain requirements, such as demonstrating that they are a genuine employer and have the ability to pay the market salary for the nominated position. Once approved, the employer can then nominate a skilled worker for a specific position.

What is a Standard Business Sponsor?

A Standard Business Sponsor (SBS) is a company or organization that sponsors foreign workers on a temporary basis to work in Australia. The SBS program is administered by the Department of Home Affairs and is designed to help employers fill skill shortages in their workforce by recruiting workers from overseas.

To be eligible to become a Standard Business Sponsor, a company must meet certain criteria. These include:

  • The company must be a legally operating business in Australia
  • The company must have a good record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, complying with immigration laws and regulations
  • The company must have a good record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, providing fair terms and conditions of employment to their employees

Once a company becomes a Standard Business Sponsor, it can sponsor workers for a range of temporary visa subclasses, including the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494).

The Standard Business Sponsorship lasts for a period of 5 years, and during this time the employer can sponsor workers for the above mentioned visa subclasses. The employer is responsible for providing the nominated worker with fair terms and conditions of employment, and for complying with certain reporting obligations.

The process for applying for sponsorship can be quite complex, and it is important that companies seek professional advice to ensure that they meet all the requirements and complete the application correctly.

In conclusion, the Standard Business Sponsorship program is an important tool for Australian companies to recruit foreign workers to fill skill shortages in their workforce. By becoming a Standard Business Sponsor, companies can access a wider pool of talent and ensure that their business can continue to grow and thrive.

What is a Nomination application?

A 482 or 494 nomination application is a type of application that allows an Australian employer to sponsor a skilled individual for a visa. The visa allows the individual to work in Australia for up to four years, and can be renewed or lead to a permanent residency depending on the circumstances of the employer and the employee. The employer must demonstrate that they were unable to find a suitably qualified or skilled Australian citizen or permanent resident for the role, and that the individual’s skills are in high demand in Australia.

The skilled worker then applies for a visa that corresponds to the nominated position. Each visa has different eligibility criteria and the skilled worker must meet the requirements for the visa they are applying for.

The Department of Home Affairs will then assess the nomination and visa application and make a decision. The processing time for an overseas worker’s visa application will vary depending on the visa type and the case’s individual circumstances. It can take several months for a decision to be made.

What is Labour market testing (LMT)?

Labour market testing (LMT) is a process that employers must go through in order to sponsor overseas workers for certain types of visas. This process is designed to ensure that there are no suitable local workers available for the position before the employer can sponsor an overseas worker.

LMT is evidenced at the time of applying for the nomination application. It may be required in other applications such as requesting a labour agreement.

There are a number of different ways that employers can demonstrate that they have conducted LMT, including advertising the position through various channels, such as newspapers, websites, and industry-specific job boards. The most common is online job platforms with national reach.

It is also important for employers to note that LMT is not just a one-time process. Employers must demonstrate that they have conducted LMT for each nomination application unless exempt. This means that employers must continuously monitor the local labour market to ensure that there are no suitable local candidates available for the position.

Overall, LMT is a crucial process for employers who wish to sponsor overseas skilled workers. It helps to ensure that local workers are given priority for jobs and that employers are not able to bring in overseas workers to fill positions that could be filled by local workers. Employers should make sure they understand the requirements and seek professional advice as it is a common reason for refusal.

Sponsorship Obligations

Once the visa is granted, the employer becomes the sponsor of the overseas worker and is responsible for meeting certain sponsorship obligations. These obligations include paying the market salary for the nominated position, ensuring that the overseas worker is not exploited or subjected to discriminatory treatment, keeping certain records and providing them to the Department of Home Affairs upon request and notifying the Department of Home Affairs if the overseas worker’s employment is terminated.

It is important for employers to be familiar with their sponsorship obligations and the relevant legislation and regulations to ensure that they are meeting their obligations and avoid penalties for non-compliance. Penalties for non-compliance can include fines, suspension or cancellation of sponsorship approval, and/or exclusion from future sponsorship.

Ensuring Compliance

One way for employers to ensure that they are meeting their sponsorship obligations is by keeping accurate records of the overseas worker’s employment, including records of market salary paid. Employers should also regularly review the overseas worker’s working conditions to ensure they are not being exploited or subjected to discriminatory treatment.

After working in Australia on a sponsored visa, an overseas worker may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Department of Home Affairs. This will depend on the specific visa and the eligibility criteria for a permanent visa, such as the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa.

There are generally no restrictions on the number of overseas workers that a sponsor can sponsor, but the sponsor must meet the sponsorship obligations for each worker they sponsor.

Benefits of Using a Migration Agency

Using a migration agency like Migration Unity when sponsoring overseas workers in Australia can provide a range of benefits. The main benefit is the expertise and knowledge of the registered migration agent who can guide employers through the complex process of sponsoring overseas skilled workers. They can assist with the initial application process to become an approved sponsor, assist with nominating the overseas worker and help navigate the various visa options available. Additionally, migration agents are aware of the ever-changing laws and regulations and can assist with compliance.

Taina Silva

Taina Silva

Director | Registered Migration Agent
MARN: 1802671 | MMIA: 19470

Taina is a Director and Registered Migration Agent of Migration Unity, specialising in skilled work visas, partner visas and complex cases. She has an outstanding track record of approvals and provides a range of timely, ethical and transparent solutions to Australian businesses in various industries, including hospitality, construction, health, IT and regional operations. She has a growing client base which consists of migrants from all over the world and small to medium enterprises through to large national groups