There are a variety of visas and permits available for those looking to work in Australia, either temporarily or permanently. The type of visa you need will depend on your occupation, nationality, and length of stay. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the main work visas available in Australia, outline the application process, and explain how AgileHRO’s Hero platform can simplify and automate the process.

Complete Guide to Australian Work Visas and Permits

Temporary Work Visas

There are a few main types of temporary work visas in Australia:

457 Visa

The 457 visa is for skilled workers who have been sponsored by an approved Australian business. It allows you to live and work in Australia for up to 4 years. To be eligible, you need an occupation on the skills shortage list, a sponsoring employer, and meet minimum English language requirements.

Working Holiday Visa

The working holiday visa is for young people aged 18-30 who want to travel and work in Australia. It lets you stay for up to 1 year and has relaxed work conditions. To qualify, you need to be a citizen of an eligible country that has a mutual agreement with Australia.

Seasonal Worker Visa

The seasonal worker visa allows people from Pacific countries to come to Australia to work in the horticulture industry for up to 6 or 9 months per year. To be eligible, you need an employer sponsor and meet health and character requirements. It is intended as a cultural exchange program.

Temporary visas duration comparison

Permanent Work Visas

Permanent work visas allow people to live and work permanently in Australia. There are a few main types of permanent work visas:

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

This visa is for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer or state/territory government. Applicants are selected based solely on their skills, experience, and English language ability.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be under 45 years of age
  • Have an occupation on the applicable Skilled Occupation List
  • Have a suitable skills assessment for your occupation
  • Meet the minimum English language requirements
  • Meet the health and character requirements

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

This visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory government. It allows you to live and work permanently in the state/territory that sponsors you.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be under 45 years of age
  • Have an occupation on the applicable Skilled Occupation List
  • Have a suitable skills assessment for your occupation
  • Meet the minimum English language requirements
  • Meet the health and character requirements
  • Be nominated by a state/territory government

Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 491)

This visa requires you to live and work in a regional area of Australia. It allows you to live and work permanently after meeting the visa conditions.

To be eligible you must:

  • Have an occupation on the applicable Skilled Occupation List
  • Have a suitable skills assessment for your occupation
  • Meet the minimum English language requirements
  • Meet the health and character requirements
  • Be nominated by a state/territory government or sponsored by an eligible relative

Permanent work visas duration

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for an Australian work visa, there are certain requirements you must meet regarding your skills, English language ability, health, and character.

Skills Assessment

For some visas, you may need to have your skills assessed by the relevant Australian assessing authority to ensure you have the qualifications and experience required for your nominated occupation. The skills assessment involves submitting detailed evidence of your qualifications and work experience which will be evaluated against Australian standards. This is required for visas such as the Skilled Independent Visa or Employer Nomination Scheme Visa.

English Language Ability

Most work visas require you to meet a minimum level of English language ability. This is assessed by taking a standardized English test such as the IELTS or TOEFL exams. The level of English required can vary based on your visa stream, with higher levels often needed for permanent skilled visas compared to temporary visas. Providing proof of your English skills ensures you can work safely and effectively while in Australia.

Health and Character Checks

When applying for an Australian work visas, you will also need to undergo health and character checks. Health checks involve undergoing a medical examination to prove you meet health standards and don’t pose a risk to public health in Australia. Character checks require providing police certificates to show you do not have a criminal record. Meeting health and character requirements demonstrates you are of good standing and preserves the safety of the Australian community.

Visa Application Process

The visa application process for Australian work visas generally involves the following steps:

Online Application Form

  • Most visa applications start by completing an online form through ImmiAccount. This form collects information about the applicant’s identity, background, skills, work experience, and more.
  • Applicants will need to set up an ImmiAccount to access the online application forms. This requires providing identity documents and contact information.
  • The online form will vary depending on the specific visa type being applied for. Applicants should carefully review the questions and provide accurate details.


  1. In addition to the online application form, applicants need to submit supporting documentation. This usually includes:

    • Identity documents like passport, birth certificate
    • Education credentials like diplomas, transcripts
    • Work experience letters from previous employers
    • Professional licenses or memberships
    • English language test results if applicable

  2. Scans or copies of these documents need to be uploaded during the online application process.


  • As part of the visa application, applicants need to complete a biometrics appointment. This involves having your fingerprints and facial photograph taken at an authorized collection center.
  • Biometric collection helps verify the applicant’s identity and runs required security checks.
  • Appointment locations can be found after submitting the online application and paying the visa application fee. The nearest centers are listed and applicants can book a date and time.

Medical Examination

  • Applicants also need to complete a medical exam by an approved panel physician. This checks for health and character requirements.
  • Doctors will assess physical and mental health, take chest x-rays, and conduct drug tests.
  • A medical exam is required for most work visa categories and helps determine if an applicant meets health criteria.
  • Exam results are uploaded electronically by the doctor for immigration authorities to review.

Visa Processing Times

For Australian work visas, standard processing times can range from 2 weeks to 6 months depending on the type of visa and current workloads. However, processing times are often taking longer than advertised timeframes.

Priority processing is available for some work visas in Australia for an additional fee. This puts the application at the front of the queue and can reduce wait times significantly. Priority processing usually takes 2-4 weeks for a decision.

The typical processing time for some common Australian work visas are:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) – 18-33 months
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) – 8-24 months
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) – 2-6 weeks without priority processing; 2-4 weeks with priority processing
  • Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) – 2-4 weeks

Processing times are updated regularly by the Australian government so it’s important to check the current timeframes when applying. Using a migration agent does not speed up processing but they can help ensure complete applications to avoid delays.

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Get in touch with our migration experts to learn more how you can get a work visa in Australia!

Visa Fees

The visa application charge covers the administrative processing of your visa application by the Australian government. This fee will depend on the type of visa you apply for, your nationality, and other factors. The fee must be paid when you lodge your application.

Some common visa application charges are:

  • Temporary Work Visa (subclass 401) – AUD$290
  • Temporary Work Visa (subclass 457) – AUD$1,105
  • Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa (subclass 186) – AUD$4,045

Additional costs that may apply:

  • English language testing fee if required as part of your application
  • Skills assessment fee if your occupation requires it
  • Health examination fee
  • Police certificate fees
  • Credential evaluation fees for foreign qualifications
  • Visa application center fees in some countries
  • Registered migration agent fees if you use one

The total costs for an Australian visa can range from a few hundred dollars for a working holiday visa to several thousand dollars for an employer sponsored permanent residency visa. Understanding the potential fees and being prepared for these costs is an important part of applying for an Australian visa.

How AgileHRO Can Help Streamline Your Visa Application Process

AgileHRO offers an innovative solution to help companies and individuals navigate the complex Australian visa application process through our Hero platform. Hero provides end-to-end visa management with automated compliance checks and document collection to simplify and expedite applications.

Key benefits include:

  • Automated Visa Application – Hero allows you to complete visa applications and submit supporting documentation all in one place. The platform pre-populates forms with employee data to minimize errors and provides eligibility checks to ensure compliance.
  • End-to-End Process Management – With Hero, you can manage the entire visa process from start to finish. The system tracks application status, sends reminders for renewals, and provides reporting to help monitor your global workforce.
  • Compliance Assurance – Hero was designed to keep companies compliant through automated checks and controls. The system flags issues, generates audit reports, and provides guidance on immigration regulations.

With AgileHRO and Hero, you can remove the hassle from Australian visa applications. Our intelligent platform optimizes and accelerates the process through automation while ensuring compliance. Partnering with us provides confidence and peace of mind for your global mobility program.

Get in touch with Agile Team!