Doing Business in Australia 2011: Immigration

“Australia has a range of temporary and permanent visas for people wishing to come to Australia for business purposes.”

Temporary residency

Short term business visits

For short term business visits, the following options are available:

  • business Electronic Travel Authority short and long validity
  • APEC Business Travel Card
  • business (Short Stay) visa (subclass 456), and
  • sponsored Business Visitor (Short Stay) visa (subclass 459).

For each of the above visas, the purpose of entry must be conducting business on behalf of an overseas business as opposed to employment by an Australian business. Activities included in the meaning of conducting business are:

  • attending a conference or training session
  • negotiating business deals or contracts
  • exploring business options
  • business meetings, or
  • working on a short-term project requiring a high level of skill.

These visas allow for potentially multiple entries with stays of up to 3 months on each visit.

Long term business visit

For foreign employees of companies in Australia or off-shore who are required to work temporarily in Australia, the relevant visa is a Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa (subclass 457) (457 visa). The 457 visa is for:

  • personnel (executives, managers and specialists) for companies operating in Australia who have a temporary skill shortage
  • personnel from offshore companies seeking to establish a branch in Australia, participate in joint ventures, or fulfil a contract awarded to an offshore company, or
  • personnel coming under a labour agreement.

The 457 visa allows a stay of between one day and four years.

Permanent residency

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) allows Australian employers to sponsor highly skilled workers for a permanent visa to work in Australia.

The employees can be either:

  • highly skilled workers from overseas, or
  • highly skilled temporary residents currently in Australia.

This visa allows the employee and any dependent family members included in their visa application to live as permanent residents in Australia.

Streamlined arrangements are in place where an Australian employer is using the ENS to nominate
a person on a temporary residence visa who has already been working for the employer in Australia. Nominees
in this category will generally not be required to undergo a formal skills assessment before they qualify for a permanent residence visa under the ENS.