Immigration law is ever changing and we understand that it can be a challenging process.  We are a lawyer-only immigration law team led by an Accredited Immigration Law Specialist, which means that we have in-depth knowledge of the Australian Immigration Framework. 

 Our experienced and qualified lawyers will assist you throughout the application, and if necessary, review application process.  

Our multi-lingual lawyers offer assistance on a broad spectrum of immigration matters.  Come speak to us in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or  Bahasa Melayu - we are always available to answer your questions.

Australian employers have for many years relied on skilled and qualified overseas employees to fulfill skill shortages in their business. There is a range of temporary and permanent Employer Sponsored visas available which allow foreign workers to be sponsored by an Australian employer and work in Australia.

The process can often be very confusing and complicated, as well as time consuming. We understand that each business, and therefore, each application is unique. That's why we sit down with the Sponsor employers to best understand their business, devise a strategy that works for them, and assist them throughout the process prior to lodgment.

Most importantly, with many employer sponsored visas, there are various conditions and obligations which the sponsor must comply with throughout the duration of the sponsorship validity period. We strip away the legal jargon from a strict regulatory and compliance framework, and provide simplified, yet comprehensive advice to ensure that at all times, the sponsors meets its obligations.

Some of the employer sponsor visa options available include:

Subclass 457 - Temporary Skilled (Work) visa

The subclass 457 visa is a temporary work visa which allows the applicant to work in Australia for a period of up to four years. The three-step process requires employers to firstly be approved sponsors, who then nominate a position within their business under the nomination application, and lastly, the visa application process deals specifically with the skills and qualifications of the visa applicant. The entire process from visa lodgment to grant takes only a few months, and is an efficient way to manage a business' human capital. The subclass 457 visa is also a pathway for Austarlian permanent residency.

Subclass 186 - Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)

The subclass 186 visa is a permanent work visa that enables visa applicants to live and work in Australia indefinitely. There are three pathways under ENS. The Temporary Residence Transition stream are for employees who have worked in the sponsoring business for at least 2 years as the holder of a subclass 457 visa. The Direct Entry stream is for eligible employees who have not previously held subclass 457 visas, but have the necessary skills and experience to meet the requirements. The Agreement stream requires employers to negotiate a labour agreement directly with the Australian Government.

Subclass 187 - Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme (RSMS)

The subclass 187 is a permanent work visa for visa applicants living and working in a regional area of Australia. The process and requirements are similar to that of the subclass 186 visa, however, with an additional step of seeking the support of a Regional Certifying Body.

Subclass 400 - Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa

The subclass 400 is a visa for people who wish to travel to Australia on a short term basis of up to 3-6 months, to conduct high-specialised, non-ongoing work, or in limited circumstances, participate in an activity or work related to the interests of Australia. This visa is suited for employees seeking to enter Australia to assist an Australian business, who are highly specialized in an area, and whose skills are not reasonably found in the Australian labour market. As the visa applicant must only engage in non-ongoing work, if the intended work is for a continuing purpose, then a more suitable visa may be the subclass 457 visa.

There are a number of business visa options for those who wish to invest, purchase, establish, manage and/or conduct businesses in Australia. There are both short-term and long-term visas which in most cases, provide a pathway for Australian permanent residency.

We provide a comprehensive advice and service to assist with identifying the best visa to suit your business purposes. The most important factors to consider include business activity type, type of investment, level of hands on involvement in the operations of the business, and length of stay.

Some of the business visa options available include:

Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa

This visa enables business owners and investors to manage, conduct business and investment activity and undertake entrepreneurial activity within Australia. Prior to lodging the application, visa applicants are required to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and must be invited to apply by either a nominating state or territory government, or by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government. There are five streams under which to apply:

  • Business Innovation stream
  • Investor stream
  • Significant Invest stream
  • Premium Investor stream
  • Entrepreneur stream

Each of the subclass 188 streams have specific requirements which must be met, and it is our role to assist to ensure that all criterion are satisfied.

Subclass 888 Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa

Once a business owner or investor has held the subclass 188 provisional visa and have met the requirements and conditions upon which the provision visa was granted, they may be eligible to apply for the permanent residency to remain in Australian indefinitely, and continue to own, manage, and conduct business and investment activities in Australia. Again, state or territory sponsorship is necessary for this visa. This visa is specifically designed for those with proven business acumen and skill throughout the provisional subclass 188 stage.

Subclass 132 Business Talent (Permanent) Visa

This visa allows business owners to establish new or develop an existing business in Australia. Designed to promote business in Australia, there are two stream under which an application can be made. Significant Business History stream are for high-caliber business owners who hold at least $1.5 million AUD of net business and personal assets and have an annual business turnover of at least $3 million AUD. The Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream are for those who have sourced venture capital funding from a member of an Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) for at least $1 million AUD for the purpose of commercializing and developing a high-value business idea in Australia.

Spouse and Partner Visa

There are a range of partner visas available for applicants who wish to migrate to Australia and be reunited with their Australian partner. De facto and same sex partners are eligible to apply under this scheme.

Temporary and Permanent Partner Visa

The temporary and permanent partner visa scheme is available for married and de facto couples, either whilst the visa applicant is in Australia or offshore. If the application is applied for while the visa applicant is in Australia, he or she is permitted to live in Australia with their Australian partner for the duration of visa processing. The visa applicant will also be granted full work rights.

Unless the relationship meets the definition of a 'long term relationship', the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will initially grant a temporary partner visa before considering the grant of the permanent visa. Generally, temporary partner visa holders are invited to provide further supporting evidence of their continued relationship with their Australian partner after two years.

Partners visas fall within a rare category of visa which applicants may apply, even if they do not currently hold a valid Australian visa. Our specialised team listen to your circumstances and tailor a legal submission to accompany every visa application. We value the importance of reuniting and keeping partners and family together, and in believing so, ensure that each application is presented to best display on paper your relationship.

Prospective Spouse Visa

A special temporary visa is available for those intending to marry in Australia. This visa must be lodged and granted while the visa applicant is offshore, and will be granted on condition that the visa applicant marries his or her Australian partner within a specified timeframe. Once in Australia, the visa applicant may proceed to lodge the partner visa application

Parent Visa

The parent visa scheme allows Australian permanent residents or citizens to sponsor their parents to Australia. Upon visa grant, the parents will be entitled to live in Australia on a permanent basis, and may be eligible to access certain governments benefits such as Medicare. A fundamental eligibility criteria that each parent visa applicant must meet is the Balance of family test. Depending on where the visa applicant is at the time of lodgment, and depending on the visa subclass, parent applicants may be required to meet the age requirement.

Broadly, there are two parent visa categories, contributory and non-contributory.

Contributory parents visa, although are processed within a few years, have significantly higher application fees. The non-contributory parent visas are subject to capping and queuing which means that it may be several years before the visa is granted.

Child Visa

A child visa allows an eligible Australian citizen or permanent resident parent to sponsor their child to live with them in Australia indefinitely. Generally, child applicants must be below 18 years of age, and evidence to demonstrate the parental relationship must be provided.

Australia is a favored destination for international students from all around the world. Australian universities and tertiary institutions are among the most prestigious and offer high-quality education, while students still enjoy balanced lifestyle in some of the world's most livable cities.

The Student Visa program has recently undergone restructure and has adopted a more streamlined approach. Now with a single student visa subclass, all international students, regardless of whether they intend to study in a primary/secondary school, vocational, tertiary or post-graduate studies, must apply for a Subclass 500 visa.

Before an application for a student visa can be made, the visa applicant must have been accepted to study full-time in a registered course at an educational institution in Australia, however, depending on the education sector, country of passport, and education provider, some visa applicants may be required to provide additional evidentiary documents to satisfy the requirements for the grant of a student visa.

The skilled migration visa program is targeted at skilled workers who have either Australian or overseas qualifications. The application is a two-stage process. Unlike other visa programs to Australia, skilled visa applicants must first submit an expression of interest and through a skills selection program, may only lodge their visa application upon invitation.

There are a range of different criteria that must be met, including nominating an occupation that is on the current Skilled Occupation List and obtaining the requisite score on the skilled points test.

Subclass 189 - Skilled Independent Visa

This is the most popular skilled migration visa which allows the visa applicant and his or her family to live and work anywhere in Australia on a permanent basis. Although applicants of the subclass 189 visa do not require an Australian family or employer to sponsor them, there are still a number of requirements which must be met, including obtaining a suitable skills assessment, meeting the English language requirement, and being under 50 years of age.

Subclass 190 - Skilled Nominated Visa

The subclass 190 visa is similar to the subclass 189 visa, with the exception of the addditional requirement of an Australian state or territory nomination. Each year, the states and territories designate certain occupations which are in demand for that region, and offer visa applicants state or territory nomination to encourage regional growth and to fulfill skill shortages. Although upon grant, the visa applicant and his or her family may live and work in Australian indefinitely, states or territories may require visa applicants to live and/or work in the nominating state or territory for a specified minimum time.

Subclass 485 - Temporary Graduate Visa

The subclass 485 visa is a popular visa option for many international students who have recently graduated from an Australian educational institution and who are looking remain in Australian on a temporary basis. As this subclass allows full time employment, the aim of many subclass 485 visa holders is to gain sufficient work experience to accumulate further points to apply for a permanent visa in the future.

There are two streams under which to apply:

  • The Graduate Work stream is for eligible international students with skills and qualifications which relate to an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List, and enables them to live, work and study in Australia for a further 18 months from the date of grant.
  • The Post-Study Work stream is for international students, who applied for, and were granted, their first Australian student visa on or after 5 November 2011, and who recently graduated with a higher education degree from an Australian education provider. This stream does not require a nomination of an occupation on the Skilled Occupation list, and depending on the qualifications held, may be granted for up to 4 years from the date of grant.

Subclass 489 - Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa

The subclass 489 is a visa option for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory or are sponsored by an eligible relative who are an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or and eligible New Zealand citizen, and who live in a designated area of Australia.

Although this visa enables an extended family member, as for example niece/nephew, aunt/uncle, grandparent or first cousin to be a sponsor, the Australian Government have placed a very restrictive quota to the number of subclass 489 visa to be granted in any fiscal year.

This subclass may be a viable option, however, for those who wish to extend their stay in Australia and who are current holders or family members of current holders of a subclass 496, 495, 487 or 475 visa.

There are various visitor visa options available to genuine tourists, those visiting family and friends, and even businesspeople who wish to undertake short term business related activities.

A very important aspect to be aware of, and which affects most visitor visas, is the visa condition relating to work. Unless exemptions apply, all visitor visa holders will not be permitted to "work", which is defined by the Migration Regulations as "an activity that, in Australia, normally attracts remuneration." That means that even if the visitor visa holder is undertaking activities on a volunteer basis, if a person in Australia would ordinarily be paid for performing that activity, irrespective of whether the visitor visa holder is actually getting paid, it would still be deemed as ‘work' and therefore, not permissible.

Subclass 600 - Visitor Visa

The subclass 600 visa is the standard visa which permits visits to Australia for either personal or business purposes for up to three, six or 12 months. The cost of a subclass 600 visa may be as low as $135 AUD, however, depending on the country of passport, there may be cheaper visitor visas available.

Subclass 601 - Electronic Travel Authority

Similar to the subclass 600 visa, the subclass 601 also permits visits to Australia for either personal or business purposes, however, is only available to passport holders of certain countries.  This visa permits entry on multiple occasions for up to a year, however, each stay may only be up to three months at a time.

Although the subclass 601 visa is free, there is a service fee attached of $20 AUD.

Subclass 651 - eVisitor Visa

There are a number of European countries whose passport holders are entitled to apply for the subclass 651 free of charge. Upon entry into Australia this visa enables visits for up to three months within a 12 month period, however, visa applicants must be outside of Australia at the time of lodgment and grant.

A visa refusal or cancellation is never a great outcome. However, it does not necessarily mean immediate forced departure or removal from Australia. Most decisions made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection are reviewable, however, this must be done within a limited timeframe.

Often the first step is an appeal to the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), formerly known as the Migration Review Tribunal/Refugee Review Tribunal.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

A review application to the AAT is based on the merits of an application. The Tribunal member will 'step into the shoes' of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and consider the visa application afresh. The AAT has the power to overturn a decision or make a more favorable decision for the review applicant.

Unlike other courts of law, the AAT is an informal appeals process where review applicants are given the opportunity to appear before a single Tribunal member and present their case in a personal manner. Our Accredited Immigration Law Specialist has appeared before the AAT on countless matters, and are able to advise, assist and represent you in an AAT appeal.

Federal Circuit Court

An application to the Federal Circuit Court can only be done where there has been an error of law. This is a very complex and technical area of law, and is not based on the individual merits of the case. Any application to the FCC should only be made with proper legal advice, as often the costs for applying can be very high.

Ministerial Intervention

A ministerial intervention application is one made directly and personally to the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection or to an appointed delegate on the Minister's behalf to have a matter reconsidered on discretionary grounds. The Minister may only be accessed, however, after a decision has been considered by the AAT under a review process. All matters are considered on a case-by-case basis, and the Minister will only exercise their discretion in unique and exceptional circumstances.


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