Hiring staff from overseas
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Hiring staff
Temporary visa holder arrangements:
- read the Australian Government's changes to temporary visa holder arrangements, enabling visa holders to remain in key businesses and industries including agriculture, supermarkets, aged care and nursing.
Employing workers travelling to Queensland – quarantine and travel restrictions update:
- read about exempt persons requirements and how to employ seasonal workers in agribusiness and commercial fisheries.
If you can't find Australian staff to work in your business, you might consider hiring staff from overseas, providing they have the correct type of visa. Overseas staff include:
- workers with professional or trade qualifications
- international students
- people on a working holiday
The Department of Home Affairs is the Australian authority on immigration and can provide information on:
- visas, including the various types and application processes
- employer obligations for hiring overseas workers
- support services for people coming to Australia.
State and territory nominated visas
Australia's skilled migration program includes a range of visa options that allow employers to sponsor skilled workers for either temporary or permanent settlement in Australia.
The Queensland Government can nominate applicants for certain categories of skilled and business visas .
Employer sponsored visas
Your business can apply to the Department of Home Affairs to sponsor skilled workers from overseas who have recognised qualifications, skills or experience.
Learn more about sponsoring skilled workers.
International student visa
The number of hours international students in Australia are allowed to perform paid work is limited. If you are considering hiring international students, make sure you and the students are aware of the restrictions that apply to working while studying.
There are some opportunities for international students to undertake work experience, vocational placements, internships and volunteer work while they are studying.
Find out more about:
Working holiday visas
Working holiday visas allow overseas visitors to support themselves on an extended holiday with short-term employment. However, work must not be the main purpose of their visit to Australia. Find out more about working holidays.
Refugees who have been granted protection visas are allowed to live and work in Australia as permanent residents. Find out more about the refugee and humanitarian program.
Employer obligations for hiring overseas workers
If you are considering hiring workers from other countries, you must make sure they are allowed to work in Australia. Under the Migration Act 1958, it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow someone who is not entitled to work in Australia — an illegal worker — to work, or to refer them to work for another business.
You can check that a worker has a visa that allows them to work in Australia by using the visa entitlement verification online (VEVO) service.
Overseas workers are covered by the same entitlements and awards as Australian workers. These entitlements are outlined in the National Employment Standards (NES).
Find out more about:
- Last reviewed: 16 May 2016
- Last updated: 5 Aug 2020