A faculty/unit may nominate a staff member for permanent residency if:
- the faculty/unit is interested in continuing a staff member’s employment on a more permanent basis, or
- for business reasons the faculty/unit wishes to sponsor the staff member for a permanent residency visa at the beginning of their employment period.
The relevant Permanent Residency Visa subclass is 186. There are two streams under this visa subclass, the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and the Direct Entry Stream. Where a staff member does not meet the criteria to apply under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream they will be required to apply under the Direct Entry Stream.
The University’s preference is to support applications under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, as this option enables the individual to commence working for the University until such time as both parties agree that long term employment commitment is desired.
For more information refer to the University's criteria as outlined in the Visa and Work Rights Policy and visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
- What roles are eligible for sponsorship for permanent residency?
- What are the University’s requirements?
- What criteria does an individual need to meet to enable nomination for a permanent residency visa application?
- What are the exemption categories available to staff members?
- What are the requirements for the nomination of family members and other dependants?
- What does permanent residency allow a staff member to do?
- What is the permanent residency visa holder not allowed to do?
- How long can the visa be granted for?
- How long does it take to get a permanent residency visa?
- How far in advance should I complete the documentation for a permanent residency visa application?
- What are the University's obligations once the permanent residency visa is granted?
- What are the conditions applicable to permanent residency visa holders?
- What are the costs to the University?
If you wish to support a staff member for a Permanent Residency visa application, you will need to ensure that the role to be performed meets certain minimum criteria.
The Australian government has defined certain occupations as eligible occupations for the Employer Nomination Scheme. Only those positions which have been determined as highly skilled and are on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) are eligible occupations for permanent residency sponsorship.
To find out whether the position you wish to fill with a sponsored permanent residency visa holder is on the approved list, check the Migration Regulations 1994, on the Australian Government ComLaw website.
Each occupation contains a number of activities and has recommended qualifications. The position will need to encompass the majority of the tasks associated with a particular occupation and the individual will need to meet the qualification requirements in order to be eligible for nomination for a permanent residency visa.
Find out more about activities for a particular occupation by searching the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006, 1220.0, on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Base salary payable
The final aspect to consider is the salary payable to the individual. To protect Australian workers and to ensure that international skilled workers are not disadvantaged, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection requires that the individual be provided with salary and terms in accordance with market rates.
The individual must be provided with at least the same salary, employment terms and conditions that would be given to an Australian citizen or permanent resident in the same role.
Full time, part time and casual roles
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection requires that positions nominated for a permanent residency visa are full time roles and they are available for at least two years from the date of visa grant.
Staff members who are employed on a part time or casual basis do not meet the eligibility criteria to apply for an employer sponsored permanent residency visa.
Visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website to find out more about the eligibility of positions to be filled by employer sponsored permanent residency visa holders.
To assist the University in ensuring that only skilled or specialist staff members are sponsored for permanent residency, the University requires positions to be at a minimum equivalent to an HEO level 6 role. This approach ensures that our integrity is maintained and supports our commitment to the employment of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
In order to continue to receive approval under the Employer Nomination Scheme, the University must provide evidence that it is committed to the employment of Australian citizens and permanent residents first and foremost.
What criteria does an individual need to meet to enable nomination for a permanent residency visa application?
There are mandatory criteria which staff members need to meet before they are eligible to discuss permanent residency under the Employer Nomination Scheme with their supervisors.
Temporary Residence Transition Stream visa applicants are required to:
- have worked for the University of Sydney for two years (in the last three years) immediately preceding the nomination, in a position which closely aligns with the position they are seeking permanent residence in, and
- meet the Vocational English requirements (i.e. IELTS Level 5 or at least level “B” in each component of the Occupational English Test (OET).
Direct Entry Stream visa applicants are required to:
- meet the Competent English requirements (i.e. IELTS Level 6 or at least level “B” in each component of the Occupational English Test (OET),
- have had their skills assessed as suitable for the nominated position by the relevant skills assessing authority, and
- have had at least three years' full time work experience in the occupation before the visa application is lodged (unless an exemption applies).
Additional eligibility criteria applicable to this visa subclass
The visa applicant will also need to meet the following general criteria:
- must have the skills, qualifications and experience to match those required for the position for which they have been nominated. Generally, the minimum required is a relevant degree and at least three years' full time work experience, although the amount of experience required can vary depending on the position,
- if a “General Staff” member, must hold a continuous employment contract,
- must be under 50 years of age (unless an exemption applies), and
- the position must be full time and available for at least two years from the date of visa grant.
There are three categories of exemptions available to staff members employed by the University of Sydney as outlined below:
To meet the age requirement, the staff member must be under 50 years of age or exempt. Exemptions will be available to applicants who:
- are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia (i.e. Level B and above), or
- are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and have been working for their nominated employer as the holder of a subclass 457 visa for the last four years and whose earnings were at least equivalent to the Fair Work Australia High Income Threshold over that period.
Skill exemptions will only apply to the Direct Entry Stream and include staff members who:
- are nominated as an academic by a university in Australia,
- have nominated earnings at least as equivalent to the current Australian Tax Office top individual income tax bracket, or
- are in Australia as the holder of a subclass 444 or 461 visa and have worked for the University of Sydney in the nominated occupation for the last two years.
English language capability
Exemption from the English language requirements outlined above is available to staff members who:
- hold a passport for the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand,
- have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Tax Office top individual income tax bracket, or
- are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and have completed at least five years of full time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all the tuition was delivered in English.
Note: If a staff member does not meet any of the exemptions for English language capability, the staff member and their spouse/partner must provide English language test results that meet the criteria noted above.
The University will extend sponsorship to any spouse or interdependent partner (de-facto partner), dependent children of the main visa applicant or dependent children of the main visa applicant’s spouse or interdependent partner.
Any dependant over the age of 18 must demonstrate that they are financially dependent on the primary visa applicant in order to be classed as a dependant for the purposes of the visa. The University may consider nominating relatives other than dependent children, if the relative is not married or in a de-facto relationship, and wholly or substantially reliant on the main visa applicant for their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing and they have been reliant on that support for a substantial period of time.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will require the staff member to provide satisfactory evidence of long term relationships and/or financial support at the visa application stage.
Permanent residency enables the staff member to live and work in Australia for an unlimited time. Once issued, permanent residency enables the visa holder to change employers, in time become eligible for government benefits, gain access to Medicare and is the first step towards citizenship.
A permanent residency visa for a staff member means that the University’s obligations, under other sponsored temporary visa subclasses, are removed.
The permanent residency visa holder does not have any work-related restrictions and they are eligible to change employers whenever they choose.
A permanent residency visa does not have an expiry date, however, the visa holder needs to monitor their visa and comply with certain requirements. For more information, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Processing for the subclass 186 visas occurs in Australia. For information on current processing times, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
You should allow at least two months for the processing of the Employer Nomination application.
Whilst the Employer Nomination and the visa application can be lodged concurrently, if the Employer Nomination is declined, the visa application will not be assessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection . If this occurs, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will not refund the visa application fee or any costs which were incurred in collating and submitting the supporting documentation.
It is strongly recommended that any staff member wishing to pursue a permanent residency visa review the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website and commence completing the necessary documentation for their visa application, prior to making the formal request to the Immigration and Relocation Team.
The time required for collation of documentation to support a permanent residency application will vary from case to case and is dependent upon a number of factors (including access to information, government entity processing times, availability of certifying persons/bodies and translation services).
As the timeframe for processing of a subclass 186 employer nomination and visa application is determined by each individual situation and can take up to 12 months, we strongly recommend that staff members whose permanent residency is being sponsored by the University, commence employment first and then apply for a permanent residency visa. In this case, individuals will need to apply for a subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa.
Whilst the University has no formal obligations once the permanent residency visa is issued, it must have the intention to employ the visa holder for a period of at least two years from the date of the granting of the visa.
Aligned to the University's intention to employ the staff member for two years from the date of visa grant, the staff member also needs to declare that they intend to continue working for the University for a period of two years from the date of visa grant.
Under the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation, employer nomination costs and visa costs borne by the employer for temporary work visas are usually exempt from tax on the basis that they are necessary requirements in order to enable an individual to commence employment. Accordingly, there is generally no “benefit” received by a staff member.
However, as a permanent residency visa is not the minimum level of visa required for employment (which is the case for a subclass 457 visa), it is arguable that the staff member gains a “benefit” where their employer sponsors the staff member for permanent residency.
In situations where the individual is gaining a benefit from the sponsorship of a permanent residency visa or the University agrees to support visa application fees/expenses, it is highly likely that Fringe Benefits Tax is payable on the value of the benefits provided. Contact the Immigration and Relocation Team for more information.