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3 steps to securing visas as a business sponsor


As business and economic activity begin to increase, one of the critical problems for businesses now is sourcing adequately skilled workers. Finding the right employees in certain industries and locations can be extremely challenging. If this problem isn’t addressed workforce shortages stand to pose a major problem to the Australian economy.

In an attempt to deal with this issue the Australian government has made provision for businesses to have the opportunity to source foreign skilled workers to fill positions if the business has attempted to recruit a suitably skilled and qualified Australian without success.

One common query we receive from businesses relates to the process required to offer a temporary resident or a skilled worker from offshore, a position within the business. In some cases, the overseas worker is already employed in the business on a casual basis and the employer is looking at offering a permanent position. The difficulty lies in trying to understand why offering a permanent part-time or full-time employment contract is not a sufficient requirement for bringing the hard-working skilled overseas worker on board.

The steps required to sponsor a skilled overseas worker to live and work in Australia on subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas and/or subclass 494 Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visas are as follows.


Step One: Apply to Become a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS)

The main criterion to become a SBS is that the business must be actively and lawfully operating in Australia or actively and lawfully operating overseas and with the intention to bring the skilled worker to Australia either to establish a business operation or to fulfil contractual obligations.

In addition, there must not be any adverse information known that is relevant to the business’ suitability as an approved sponsor. Adverse information includes (but is not limited to) contraventions of Commonwealth, State or Territory laws relating to matters such as immigration, industrial relations or taxation; pending investigations or disciplinary actions; being the subject of administrative action for possible contravention of the law; insolvency; or having provided bogus documents or false/misleading information to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA).

Businesses have the option to apply for accredited status. Accredited sponsors receive priority processing for all nomination and visa applications.

An approved sponsorship is valid for five years and the business can nominate several overseas applicants as employees if they can demonstrate the capacity and the need for that position. During this time, the business can nominate overseas workers for subclass 482 TSS visas and/or subclass 494 visas.


Step Two: Apply for Nomination

The second step commences after the application to become a SBS has been approved. The SBS must now nominate the intended employee applicant for an eligible position by demonstrating the capacity to nominate the applicant and the need to have the position filled. This is called a nomination application and it is lodged with the DOHA. An application fee and a levy is paid to DOHA at this stage. The amount payable varies based on the sponsor’s annual turnover and the visa applicant’s proposed period of stay in Australia.

For subclass 482 nominations: If the sponsor’s annual turnover of LESS THAN AU$10 million, the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy is AU$1,200 for each year of the nominated visa applicant’s proposed period of stay i.e. AU$1,200 for a 1-year visa; AU$2,400 for a 2-year visa and so forth. If the sponsor has an annual turnover of AT LEAST AU$10 million, the SAF levy is AU$1,800 for each year of the nominated visa applicant’s proposed period of stay i.e. AU$1,800 for a 1-year visa; AU$3,600 for a 2-year visa and so forth.

For subclass 494 nominations: If the employer’s annual turnover of LESS THAN AU$10 million, the one-off SAF levy is AU$3,000 per nomination. If the employer has an annual turnover of AT LEAST AU$10 million, the one-off SAF levy is AU$5,000 per nomination. The SAF levy must be paid upfront, at the time that the nomination is lodged. This is current as at the 2021/22 financial year.

In addition to paying a levy, there are other requirements for a nomination application. These include but are not limited to making sure that the overseas’ employee is subject to the same conditions of employment that would apply to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location, must have attempted to recruit a suitably skilled and qualified Australian to work in the nominated position and provide evidence of advertisement following the exact process required by DOHA.

An employer must NEVER seek to recover any migration or recruitment costs from the employee. These include costs related to applying for sponsorship or nominations, legal or migration agent fees, or the SAF levy.


Step 3: Application for Visa

The final step is for the employee to apply for their visa application either at the same time as the nomination application, after the nomination is approved but before the nomination expires (generally within 12 months of approval). The employee should also fulfil all the requirements for their visa application fulfils the relevant visa requirements along with the standard health and character checks. They can be in or outside Australia when applying for this visa.

For more information download our Free PDF 3 Tips for Employers: Stress Free Visa Sponsorship

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The content of this blog/article/brochure is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek legal advice regarding your particular circumstances.


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