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Work rights and visas

Essential information for new staff and their employers

All prospective or appointed staff members must have the relevant right to work in Australia before they start their employment with the University.

All staff are required to provide one form of original identification that verifies their right to work in Australia to the University's Human Resources Service Centre.

The list of acceptable documents is available online.

You can find further information about working in Australia on the Department of Home Affairs website.

It is the staff member’s and visitor’s responsibility to ensure that they have valid Australian work rights for the duration of their employment or activities at the University.

Employer-sponsored visa options

The University’s Immigration and Relocation team provides guidance on determining the appropriate visa to staff recruiting international candidates and inviting international visitors.

Overseas applicants for qualified academic positions and highly specialised professional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related full-time positions may be eligible for an employer-sponsored visa.

The job advertisement will indicate if an employer sponsorship visa will be offered.

The two employer-sponsored visas are:

  • Temporary Resident Visa - Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)
  • Permanent Resident Visa – Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

Hiring managers can refer to the International Candidate Hiring Manager Information Sheet for further information on how to recruit international candidates.

There are two streams available under this visa program:

  • Short-term stream – for employers to employ genuine temporary overseas-skilled workers in occupations included on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List for a maximum period of two years, with the possibility of a further two-year visa.
  • Medium-term stream – for employers to employ highly-skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills in occupations included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to four years, with a pathway to an employer-sponsored permanent resident visa.

Note that university lecturers (suitable for research associates or research fellows) are on the MLTSSL. For more information, refer to the skilled occupation list.

Eligibility requirements 

Work experience
You need to demonstrate at least two years full-time relevant work experience. Academic teaching and research undertaken by PhD students may be counted towards your work experience requirement.

English language proficiency
English language testing is required unless you are exempt. Exemptions apply if the visa applicant holds a passport from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States or if they have completed at least five years of full-time study where all instruction was conducted in English. You can find full details on sufficient English requirements, based on the stream level, on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Character
A police certificate or clearance will be required from each country where you have lived for a cumulative period of 12 months or more over the last 10 years, since turning 16 years old. The University will not provide a character reference letter in lieu of the police certificate. Find more information, including where to apply, on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Documentation required
For the University to commence the visa sponsorship process, the following documents must be submitted within a week from the date of receipt of the letter of offer unless an earlier date is specified:

  • valid Passport Identification Document (ID) i.e., a bio-date page that contains your photo ID and passport details and any accompanying dependant/s
  • resume or curriculum vitae providing information on relevant work experience and qualifications
  • documentary evidence of meeting the English language requirements.
  • completed Information for Immigration TSS 482 Form and accompanied documents.

For recently graduated or current PhD students (near completion), a letter from the education institution confirming the two-year full-time teaching and/or research employment is required to satisfy the two-year work experience criterion.

The Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa allows skilled workers, who are nominated by the University, to live and work in Australia permanently. There are two streams available under this visa program:

  • Direct Entry (DE) stream – for individuals who are relocating from overseas and have not worked in Australia or been employed less than three (3) years by the University on a temporary-sponsored work visa and do not qualify for the TRT Scheme.
  • Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream – for visa applicants who are currently holding either a subclass 457/Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa or related bridging visa and working for the University in a full-time position for the nominated occupation.

There are two options within the TRT stream.

1. If you held a 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017, you must have worked for the University, in the same occupation, for at least two years (excluding any time spent overseas for work and all periods of leave without pay).

2. If you held a 457 visa or TSS visa after 18 April 2017, you must have worked for the University, in the same occupation, for at least three years (excluding any time spent overseas for work and all periods of leave without pay).

Criteria for the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186 ENS)

The staff member or successful candidate must:

  • meet the University's Visa and Work Rights Policy.
  • have a continuing contract of employment (or a fixed term contract of at least 3 years) at the time of lodgment of the permanent residency visa application,
  • have at least three years’ full-time work experience relevant to the occupation (note that academic positions are exempted from demonstrating work experience),
  • be younger than 45 years of age unless exempt (note that university lecturers, appointed at Level B–E positions, are age exempt), and the occupation must be on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), for example, academic positions.

The staff member or successful candidate (and their accompanying adult family members) must meet all the Department of Home Affairs eligibility requirements for the relevant nominated employer-sponsored permanent residency stream. The English language requirements and evidence must be obtained prior to submitting their personal visa application, otherwise the visa may be refused.

Eligibility requirements

English language requirements
English language testing is required unless you are exempt.  Exemptions apply if the visa applicant holds a passport from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States. A staff member or successful candidate applying for a visa under the TRT Stream may also provide at least five years of full-time study, where all instruction was conducted in the English language, as alternate evidence of completion.

Character
Police clearance certificates will be required for the visa applicant and their accompanying family members (older than 16 years) for every country they have lived in, for 12 months or more, in the last 10 years.

Documentation required

In order to be sponsored for an employer-sponsored work visa, successful candidate/s or staff members will be required to collate and submit the following visa-related documents to the Immigration and Relocation team as part of the visa application process.

TSS Visa renewal or pathway to Permanent Resident – ENS visa sponsorship

The process for visa renewal is similar to the initial visa process undertaken by the staff member when relocating to Australia on an employer-sponsored visa or taking up an appointment at the University.

The University, as a visa sponsor, will need to initially submit a new nomination application to the Department of Home Affairs – which will be managed by the University’s Immigration and Relocation team – before the staff member submits their personal visa application.

Steps to initiate the University nomination application are outlined in the table below.

1. The staff member must obtain the visa renewal approval (including adding any dependants) through their supervisor from the relevant head of the area, for example the Head of School and the Dean/Executive Dean or equivalent.

2. The staff member must meet all the requirements mentioned above for the TSS visa sponsorship.

3. The hiring area must provide the account codes for the nomination application government charges and the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) – please refer to the visa cost table.

4. The staff member and/or hiring area must provide updated TSS documentation and forms to the Immigration and Relocation team (summarised below):

  • Immigration form
  • Current passport ID page of all visa applicants
  • Updated resume
  • Evidence of meeting English language requirements unless they are hold a passport from one of the exempted countries
  • Approval letter or email from the relevant head of the area
  • Account code – project and responsibility codes.

The Immigration and Relocation team will conduct the sponsorship assessment, submit the TSS nomination application and forward the visa instruction to the staff member who is being sponsored.

1. The staff member must obtain the support and approval for a permanent resident visa sponsorship (including adding any dependants) through their supervisor from the relevant head of the area, for example the Head of School and the Dean/Executive Dean or equivalent.

2. The staff member must meet all the requirements mentioned above for the ENS visa sponsorship.

3. The hiring area must provide the account codes for the nomination application government charges and the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) – please refer to the visa cost table.

4. The staff member and/or hiring area must provide updated ENS documentation and forms to the Immigration and Relocation team (summarised below):

  • Immigration form
  • Current passport ID page of all visa applicants
  • Updated resume
  • Evidence of meeting English language requirements, unless they hold a passport from one of the exempted countries
  • Approval letter or email from the relevant head of the area
  • Account code – project and responsibility codes.

The Immigration and Relocation team will conduct the sponsorship assessment, submit the ENS nomination application and forward the visa instruction to the staff member who is being sponsored.

Other important information

Employers nominating a worker for an employer sponsored work visa will be required to make a payment.

The contribution amount is dependent on the duration of the visa term and an organisation’s annual turnover.  In the University’s case, an upfront payment of $1800 per each TSS visa year is required and will be paid by the relevant hiring area as part of the hiring cost. In addition, a one-off levy of $5000 is required when sponsoring a visa holder for permanent residency.

Please refer to the visa cost table for further information.

Staff members who currently hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) or TSS visa sponsored by the University must inform the Immigration and Relocation Team immediately of any change in their visa status or type, and circumstances including:

  • obtaining Australian permanent residency or citizenship
  • a change in your personal circumstances
  • a change to your work position such as changes in duties, reduction in hours, leave without pay and reduction in salary
  • resignation from the University.

You can contact us by email at hr.immigration.relocation@sydney.edu.au.