This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in Australia. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.



Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

  • Attend a conference or training session;
  • To conduct business with an Australia-based organization;
  • To conduct business negotiations; or
  • For an exploratory business visit.

Please note, business activities do not include acting, musical performances, or commercial film making.

Type of Business Visas – The business visa type will depend on the nationality of the traveler and his/her intended activities in Australia. The following are common business visa types utilized by employers:

1. ETA (Business Entrant) (Subclass 601) – Available to passport holder from a number of countries and regions;
2. eVisitor (Subclass 651) – Available to passport holders from the European Union and a number of other European countries;
3. APEC Business Travel Card – Streamlines travel for business people from participating economies in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region;
4. Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (Subclass 400) – Available for employees who want to travel to Australia for up to 3 months to undergo:

a. Short term, highly-specialized and non-ongoing work;
b. Participation in non-ongoing social or cultural activities by invitation; or
c. Participating in work/activities in Australia’s interests (limited circumstances).

Basic Requirements –

1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Good health and character;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to Australia;
4. No intention to permanently reside in Australia;
5. A ticket for onward travel from Australia.

Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to Australia for up to three months during the employee’s visa validity period. Some visas can be extended in-country.

Typical Documents RequiredAll travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

  • A valid passport or other acceptable travel document;
  • A valid visa or authority to enter Australia (including electronic visas);
  • A completed and signed Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) that includes a health and character declaration.

Please note that New Zealand nationals will require different documents to enter Australia on a business visa.


Basic Requirements – The principle visa category for temporary employment in Australia is the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa. This is a category for employers to sponsor approved skilled workers to work in Australia on a temporary basis. Note that employers can nominate a number of positions for different occupations under the same sponsorship application.

Process Overview – The process for obtaining a Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa is as follows. Note that all three applications must be lodged online using the correct forms and paying the correct application fees at the time of lodgment. The online system allows supporting documents to be attached to the applications.

1. Company Registration as an Eligible Sponsor;
2. Company Nomination of Position to be filled by Eligible Nominated Employee;
3. Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa application.

The company (Australian or overseas) must first qualify for a Business Sponsorship from Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). This Business Sponsorship is valid for up to three years and is the accreditation needed to sponsor overseas staff. Please note that overseas businesses are only eligible if they wish to sponsor workers for the purpose of establishing a business in Australia with overseas connections or to meet contractual obligations.

The other two applications (nomination and visa applications, steps 2 and 3 above) are needed each time a foreign national requires work authorization and a visa.

Estimated Processing Time – four to six weeks

Validity periods – Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visas are valid for between one day and four years and the nomination period is 12 months, depending on length of assignment. Renewals of the Subclass 457 visa are possible.

Family Members – Dependents of Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa holders are granted permission to work and study in Australia.

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