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3 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Migrant Worker

Published March 02, 2021 (last updated March 19, 2021) Author: Employsure

Some foreigners to Australia can work here if they have the right visa. These foreigners may already be in Australia, or as an employer you may be able to sponsor them to come to Australia from overseas.

Either way you need to make sure that all the boxes are ticked, and the person has the right to work in Australia. Non-Australian citizens can work in Australia if they hold a valid visa that gives them permission to work. You can check their visa conditions through the Department of Home Affairs’ online verification system Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

A visa holder must have a valid working visa the entire time that they are working for you.

Hiring a Visa Holder in Australia

Employers can employ or sponsor skilled migrants with overseas passports that are already in Australia and have a visa to work. They can take over the sponsorship from another employer, or sponsor someone already in Australia on another kind of visa that doesn’t allow them to work, if that person has the right skillset. Generally, the occupation you are recruiting for must appear on the Skilled Occupations List, which means there is shortage of that skill-set in Australia.

Visa holders who are already in Australia may have restrictions on their visa. For example, they may only be allowed to work for one employer for a limited time, or perhaps only work a certain amount of hours per week, or in a certain place, or doing a particular job. International Students for example may be able to get a visa type that allows them to do workplace training subject to restrictions e.g. the visa may only allow them to work a limited amount of hours per fortnight.

Learn More. Read Our Guide

Our Visa Holders And Migrant Workers guide has more comprehensive information on this topic, from a workplace relations perspective.

Sponsoring an Overseas Hire to Come to Australia

If you can’t find anyone in Australia with the right skills and experience for a job, you may wish to employ a skilled worker currently living overseas by sponsoring them to come to Australia. You can sponsor workers temporarily or permanently, however there are costs involved which are the employer’s responsibility. Skilled workers must generally be on the Skilled Occupations List, and

visa holders can work only for you while you sponsor their visa.

When you sponsor migrant workers you have certain obligations to them and to the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, for example to keep your business details up to date and to make sure the employee is still on a valid visa. Some of these obligations might continue even after the visa holder stops working for you.

There are a number of ways to sponsor a skilled migrant worker:

  • Sponsor a skilled worker for permanent migration through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) if your business is in regional Australia;
  • Sponsor a worker on a temporary visa through the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482), which allows overseas people to come to Australia to work for up to four years;
  • Take over the sponsorship of temporary migrants already in Australia on skilled work visas;
  • Enter a labour agreement that allows you to employ a number of overseas skilled workers on a permanent or temporary basis by entering a formal labour agreement with the Australia government if the job is not on the Skilled Occupations List.

The purpose of these the sponsored skilled worker visa subcategories is to fill certain skill shortages in the labour market, help employers easily find and sponsor suitably skilled workers, and increase the level of accountability for employers.

Visa conditions for some categories of sponsored skilled migration visas include an employer obligation to demonstrate that they can’t find anyone in Australia suitable for the role.

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Minimum Rights At Work

All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status.

Employers must comply with Australian immigration and workplace law, which for most employers is generally the Fair Work Act 2009 which contains the National Employment Standards and provisions for industrial instruments that set out minimum workplace rights and entitlements for employees.

Employers have an obligation to:

  • pay employees the right rate for all time worked;
  • provide employees with payslips, superannuation and taxation documents;
  • provide a safe workplace;
  • provide employees with entitlements such as pay and leave.

Our BrightHR software can also help you keep track of employee workplace entitlements.

Need Workplace Advice?

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 25,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

If you’d like further information on this topic, particularly regarding immigration legislation, Employsure recommends that you should seek the advice of an accredited immigration professional. This blog has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after publication may affect the completeness or accuracy of this information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions contained in this information or any failure to update or correct this information. It is your responsibility to assess and verify the accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability of the information on this website, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Nothing contained on this website is to be interpreted as a recommendation to use any product, process or formulation or any information on this website. For clarity, Employsure does not recommend any material, products or services of any third parties. 

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