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Entitlement to work.

(Last Updated On: March 11, 2019)

Working in Australia Requirements

Any employee recruited to your business must have the appropriate Rights and correct documentation for employment in Australia.

You are liable if you knowingly employ an illegal worker, knowing they are not an Australian citizen and are working without a visa, or in breach of their visa conditions. To avoid this risk, always check the work entitlements of your employees.

We recommend you check if someone has a valid visa and is entitled to work before you employ them. Some types of documentation are acceptable proof of entitlement to work in Australia and some are not.

Proof of Right to Work

Each of the following are considered acceptable documentation that allows a person to work in Australia:

  • Australian birth certificate
  • Australian citizenship certificate
  • Australian passport
  • Evidence of permanent residence status
  • Valid visa with permission to work (not all visas allow people to work)

Obtain certified copies of any original, acceptable documents or have the original documents certified by someone authorised, like a Justice of the Peace (JP). Keep these on record in the employee’s file.

Supporting Documentation

If the employee provides acceptable documentation but it is not an Australian government-issued form of photo identification, you can ask the employee to provide the following Australian-issued supporting documentation as proof of identity:

  • Driver’s license
  • Medicare card
  • Enrolment to vote in Australian state or federal election
  • Tax File Number
  • References from previous employers and employment agencies
  • Tenancy agreements or home ownership details
  • Tertiary qualifications and trade certificate
  • Change of name certificates

It is important to remember these documents alone do not allow a person to legally work in Australia. They must only serve as supporting documentation along with any of the documents mentioned in the Proof of Right to Work section. Otherwise, they will still be considered an illegal worker in Australia.

How to Check Non-Citizenship – Visa Entitlement Verification Online

Under the Migration Act 1958 and Migration Regulations 1994, employers have a legal obligation to ensure non-Australian citizens have a right to work in Australia.

Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) is a free-to-use online visa verification platform set up by the Department of Home Affairs. The platform lets visa holders, employers, education providers, and other organisations quickly and easily check the visa conditions of a non-Australian citizen.

Below are the following documents you can check to confirm the visa status of an applicant:

  • Document for Travel to Australia (DFTTA)
  • ImmiCard
  • Passport
  • PLO56 (now replaced with ImmiCard)
  • Refugee travel document (Titres de Voyage)

Keep in mind VEVO can only provide information about people who have their details available in the VEVO system. A workers details may not be in the VEVO system if they migrated to Australia before 1990 and they have not travelled outside of the country since. When this happens, you can ask the candidate to apply for an electronic visa record before you hire them.

Hiring Overseas Employees in Australia

As an employer, you have a legal obligation to make sure that any overseas employee you hire – whether they already live here, or you plan to bring skilled overseas workers into the country – are legally allowed to work in Australia.

Remember that all overseas employees you hire are entitled to the same minimum employment rights as Australian workers including pay rates, overtime and penalty rates, superannuation, and more.

If you plan to hire skilled overseas workers who live in Australia, you must use VEVO to check their Australian visa status, and find out if the visa they carry allows them to work in Australia.

Employer Sponsored Visa Australia

If you wish to employ a skilled worker currently living overseas, there are a number of ways you can do this legally and efficiently:

  • 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 basis through the Temporary Skill Shortage visa, which allows overseas people to come to Australia to work for up to 4 years.
  • 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.

As of 19 April 2017, these new visa subcategories replaced the old Australian working 457 visa. However, any existing holders of the 457 visa are unaffected by these changes.

The purpose of these new 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.

Employsure can help you with VEVO and an entitlement to work checklist to protect your business when taking on new employees. For peace of mind, please call 1300 651 415 to learn more.

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