Guide For Hiring Overseas Workers to Australia |

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Guide For Hiring Overseas Workers to Australia

Do you have a business and you are considering hiring overseas workers to Australia? If so, there are some major differences involved in hiring overseas workers compared to recruiting Australian citizens, permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens. Therefore, you must be aware of such differences to avoid any mistakes while hiring.


The process of hiring overseas workers to Australia or visa holders in Australia is quite rewarding, but also challenging. If you want to fully understand and make informed decisions and be compliant with Australian employment and immigration laws, then keep reading. We have prepared a comprehensive guide with tips on managing the hiring process of visa holders.

Meanwhile, according to the stated laws, an individual can legally work in Australia if:

  1. They are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen.
  2. They hold a valid visa with the authorization to work.

Furthermore, there are two set methods of hiring overseas workers to Australia. Keep reading to learn more!

  1. Employ a non-citizen who is already in Australia and possesses a visa that allows them to work.
  2. As well as sponsor a skilled worker who lives overseas or temporarily in Australia for a work visa on a permanent or temporary basis.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about hiring overseas workers in Australia. Let’s get started!

Hiring Staff From Overseas

If you are finding it difficult to get Australian staff to work in your business, you might consider hiring overseas workers in Australia. However, they must have the necessary and correct type of visa. Listed below are examples of overseas staff:

  • Workers with professional or trade qualifications.
  • International students.
  • Individuals on a working holiday.
  • And refugees.

Sponsor An Overseas Worker Who Is Located Outside of Australia

Another way to hire overseas workers is to sponsor a skilled worker who is located offshore for a work visa. This could be temporary, permanent, or a pathway to permanent residency in the future. So, if you are looking at overseas recruitment, you may consider the service of a recruitment agency to help you search for suitable candidates in your industry. Or you could use online portals like LinkedIn, networking, and use your contacts to help with your overseas recruitment efforts.

Sponsor An Overseas Worker Who Lives In Australia

You can also sponsor an overseas worker who is already living in Australia as the holder of another visa. Such a visa can be a working holiday visa, temporary, or permanent. Either way, it is very essential to make it clear that whether you hire an Australian or you hire overseas workers, they each have equal rights and entitlement at the workplace.

As well as protections, same pay rates, superannuation, and leave entitlements. As an overseas worker, you will also be required to pay tax in Australia, although special rates apply in certain circumstances to working holiday visa holders.

Tips To Manage The Hiring Process Of Visa Holders.

1. Check The Individual’s Australian Immigration Status 

As an employer, you will need to confirm whether the candidate is eligible to work legally in Australia. Employees who fall into one of the categories listed below can work in Australia without restrictions and by Australian employment law. Scroll down!

  • Australian citizen.
  • Australian permanent resident.
  • New Zealand citizen.

Furthermore, employees who have a valid visa may also qualify to work in Australia, so far their visa type permits them to work. You can follow these steps to confirm their work rights:

  • Request the person to email their current visa details from VEVO.
  • Use the free online service VEVO to check the person’s visa status.

Meanwhile, VEVO will provide vital information such as:

  • Visa start and expiry dates.
  • Work restrictions, if there are any on the visa.

Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to check the conditions of your employees’ visas. This will help you if there are any requirements you need to meet as the employer. In addition, you should hire someone only if their visa has started, has not expired, or has been canceled. It must also not include No work condition.

You must also ensure that the type of work aligns with their visa conditions, and if applicable, they do not exceed the maximum hours specified in their visa conditions. For instance, such individuals may be restricted to a single employer for a limited time and a maximum weekly working hours limit. As well as a specific work location or a particular kind of job. VEVO helps visa holders, employers, education providers, and other organizations to check their visa conditions.

2. Ensure The Visa Holder Maintains A Valid Work Visa While Working For You

As an employer, it is important to ensure that your overseas workers have a valid work visa all through their employment period with you. Therefore, you must regularly check their visa status at least within two days of the visa expiry date. Or whenever there are changes in their circumstances.

In cases where a bridging visa is held, and VEVO does not display a visa expiry date, then you will have to conduct checks every three months to confirm their work rights. You can also request the employee to provide their visa details from VEVO or independently verify using the VEVO system.

3. Understand Your Responsibilities 

Always remember that all workers in Australia, as well as overseas workers, have basic rights and protections in the workplace. Which also includes minimum pay and conditions. Therefore, as an employer to an overseas worker, you will need to comply with all Australian immigration and workplace laws.

Furthermore, you should familiarize yourself with your responsibilities as an employer to be able to provide a safe and fair working environment for all. You can delve into the official website of Australia to get more information on visa holders’ and migrant workers’ workplace rights.

So, if you are sponsoring a visa holder, you have additional sponsorship obligations to meet. 

Visa Options For Hiring Overseas Workers To Australia 

1. State And Territory Nominated Visas 

The skilled immigration program in Australia includes a variety of visa options. These visa options will allow employers to sponsor skilled workers for either temporary or permanent settlement in the country. The Queensland Government can also nominate applicants for certain categories of skilled and business visas.

2. Employer Sponsored Visas 

You can apply to the Department of Home Affairs through your business, to sponsor skilled workers from overseas who have recognized qualifications, skills, or experience. Delve into the Government of Australia website to learn more about sponsoring skilled workers.

3. International Student Visas

International students in Australia are required to perform paid work for a limited number of hours. So, if you are planning to hire international students, ensure that you and your potential employee (students) are aware of the restrictions that apply to working while studying. Furthermore, there are some opportunities for international students to participate in work experience, vocational placements, and internships.

As well as volunteer work while they are studying. You can find out more about:

  • Work options for international students.
  • International students’ workplace rights.

4. Working Holiday Visas 

Working holiday visas are issued to allow overseas visitors to support themselves financially on an extended holiday with short-term employment. However, they must not apply for an Australian visit visa for the main purpose of work. Delve into the official website to learn more about working holiday visas.

5. Refugee Visas 

Refugees who have been issued protection visas have the opportunity to live and work in Australia as permanent residents. Find out more about the refugee and humanitarian program to understand better.

Employer Obligations For Hiring Overseas Workers To Australia 

Are you considering hiring workers from other countries? If so, you must ensure that they have the permission to work in Australia. According to the Migration Act 1958, it’s a criminal offense to intentionally or recklessly allow an individual who is not permitted to work in Australia (an illegal worker) to work. Or to refer them for work in another business. In addition, you can verify if a worker has a visa that allows them to work in Australia through the visa entitlement verification online (VEVO) service.

Sponsorship Obligations

If you are hiring overseas workers on a sponsored skilled visa, you need to be aware of and abide by your sponsorship obligations. These obligations may include:

  1. Making sure that equal terms and conditions of employment are created.
  2. Payment of travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia.
  3. Keeping record.
  4. As well as provide information to the Department when certain events occur.

Depending on the type of sponsor that your business is, this will determine the sponsorship obligations that will apply. However, being the sponsoring employer, it’s essential that you fully understand and abide by your sponsorship obligations. Failure to abide by your sponsorship obligations may result in sanctions, which can include the cancellation of sponsorship approval or being issued with an infringement notice.


We hope you find this comprehensive guide on hiring overseas workers to Australia informative. Kindly drop your comments and questions below. Good luck!

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