There are a range of Australian visa options which can be used in relation to working or investing in Australia. The skills and qualifications of eligible employees are critical and these can change.

Snedden Hall & Gallop’s migration law team is one of the most experienced in Australia. As migration agents and immigration lawyers in Canberra, you can trust in our highly specialised and reputable migration advice. We can help you navigate the ever-changing legislation, obligations and policy framework applied by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

For employers

Are you thinking of employing someone who is not an Australian citizen? There are a few kinds of visas relevant for businesses to sponsor an applicant either from overseas or an existing visa holder in Australia.

If you are an Australian business, and want to sponsor an applicant that you believe would best suit your business, we can review your options with you. Some of the issues we will consider with you include:

  • The current list of eligible skilled occupations and the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skilled occupation criteria. (This list is subject to frequent review)
  • Whether you are a regional company? The state specific migration initiatives may be most appropriate
  • The proposed length of the employment
  • The applicant’s age, qualifications, work experience and English language proficiency
  • The applicant’s skill and whether he or she possesses the necessary skills, qualifications and/or experience for the nominated position
  • Whether the nominated position itself corresponds with the ANZSCO skilled occupation criteria
  • The efforts you have undertaken to fill this position (referred to as labour market testing) to help establish that no one from the local labour market has the requisite level of skill to meet the needs of the business

An organisation may even be interested in obtaining accredited sponsorship status to streamline the sponsorship process for subsequent sponsorship applications where the business intends to implement ongoing projects in Australia for which the labour will need to be outsourced.

Sponsoring overseas workers attracts a wide range of ongoing sponsorship obligations. A sponsor who does not comply with such obligations faces the threat of the visa holder’s visa being cancelled and adverse consequences for future sponsorship endeavours. We can provide advice to sponsors regarding the multifaceted obligations that are imposed on them.

For employees

If you are a foreign national looking to settle in Australia, we can assist you in considering the best visa for your circumstances. The following visas are available to individuals who are qualified to work or train in an eligible skilled occupation in Australia and can meet all other requirements.

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa

As a TSS visa holder, you will be able to work in Australia in your nominated occupation for your approved sponsor. The TSS enables employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian. There are specific eligibility requirements. You must:

  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have at least two years’ relevant work experience
  • Be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application, (unless exemptions apply)
  • Meet the health requirements
  • Meet the character requirements

And the employer must:

  • Pay the Australian market salary rate
  • Meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
  • Pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund (subject to legislation passing).

Business skills migration

The business skills category is designed to attract applicants to Australia who have the skills to enhance the Australian economy.

Those who apply for, and are granted, business visas will usually follow a two-step process which starts with a provisional visa, followed by a permanent visa if they meet ongoing obligations. (Except applicants for the Subclass 132 Business Talent visa who, once approved, will be granted permanent residence.)

Who would normally be eligible for a business skills visa?

  • Successful business people who own or part-own one or more businesses.
  • Successful business people or investors who invest substantial sums into certain Australian investments.
  • Certain business people who have established successful businesses while in Australia and as the holders of qualifying visas.

Business talent visa

This visa allows you to establish a new or develop an existing business in Australia. There are two streams: the significant business history stream and the venture capital entrepreneur stream.

The significant business history stream is for high calibre business owners or part owners who want to do business in Australia. The other stream is for people who have sourced venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited.

To be eligible for this visa, you need to be a business person nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency. You will first need to submit an expression of interest through SkillSelect and then be invited to apply. You must also meet the health and character requirements, and meet the additional requirements for the stream.

Business innovation visa

This stream is for people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia. It is suited best to those that have had an overall successful business career and have a genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business area.

What are the requirements? You need to:

  • Be under 55 years of age
  • Pass a points test and receive a score of at least 65
  • Have had an ownership interest in an established business for two of four fiscal years
  • Comply with specific thresholds of ownership, such as owning 30% of your nominated business (10% of a publicly listed company)

After matching these requirements, you will need to submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect and be nominated by a state or territory government before being invited to apply for the visa.

Investing in Australia

If you are considering investing significantly in Australia then the Investor visa may be most relevant.

Investor visa

This stream is for people who want to make a designated investment of at least $A1.5 million in an Australian state or territory (which offers this facility) and maintain a business and investment activity in Australia.

What are the requirements? You need to:

  • Be under 55 years of age
  • Score at least 65 on the points test
  • Have at least 3 years’ experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
  • Have a genuine intention to live for at least two years in the state or territory in which you made a designated investment
  • Have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity

If you match these requirements, you will then need to submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect and be nominated by a state or territory government before being invited to apply for the visa.

If you are interested in investing a significant amount into a business, or already have done so, you might be eligible for this visa.

State specific migration initiatives

The Australian government, in consultation with state and territory governments and regional development authorities introduced a range of initiatives designed to help state and territory governments to:

  • Address skill shortages that may exist in their jurisdiction;
  • Attract overseas business people to establish new or joint ventures in their regions;
  • Encourage a more balanced settlement of Australia’s skilled migrant take.

The following visas are state specific migration initiatives:

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa

This is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional or low population growth metropolitan areas of Australia for up to four years.

To be eligible for this visa you must:

  • Currently hold a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa
  • Have been nominated by a state or territory government agency or be sponsored by an eligible relative
  • Have a relevant occupation
  • Have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • Meet the points test pass mark of 60 points
  • Be under 45 years of age at time of invitation
  • Be competent at English

Pathway to permanent residence

If you have held the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa for at least two years, you can apply for the permanent Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887) provided you have lived for two years and worked full time for at least one year in a specified regional area in Australia.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

If you are a regional employer you may use this scheme to nominate skilled migrants to fill a full time vacancy (available for at least two years). There needs to be a genuine need for a paid employee in a business located in regional Australia.

To be eligible for this visa you must:

  • Be less than 50 years of age
  • Meet a certain level of English language proficiency
  • Have qualifications and skill requirements relevant to the nominated occupation


Registered Migration Agents

The Snedden Hall & Gallop Migration law team has experienced lawyers who are also registered migration agents and members of the Migration Institute of Australia. Gerald Santucci is one of Australia’s longest registered migration agents (MARN 9256528), advising and assisting in migration matters since 1989.

Gerald Santucci | Dominic Cookman | Gillian Hunter

You can see the code of conduct which the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MIRA) uses to govern all registered migration agents in Australia here.

Meet your Migration team

1 / 4

I had a very complex permanent residency application and after researching for hours, I felt completely stumped.

I asked around some colleagues and was referred to Gerald Santucci at SHG. I made contact with him and from the outset, he put me at ease, was very receptive and happy to assist. I sent through all the paperwork and he made an initial recommendation and gave advice on which avenues we could take.

Although the outcome was very uncertain due to the very rare situation, the team took the case and Dominic Cookman was my point of contact. Dominic was a delight to deal with, very patient and responsive. He put together the full submission and walked me through the process. He was upfront about what would happen next and kept in regular contact.

Ultimately, he made the good news call that permanent residency had been granted and it was like a huge weight was lifted in an instant.

I could not have been happier with the advice, service and outcome and I have no hesitation in recommending Gerald, Dominic and the team at SHG as Canberra’s immigration specialists.

Alex Ah Key (Migration)

22 May 2018

Gerald, I have no words to express our gratitude for the tremendous effort in obtaining a visa for our child. We’re very happy for being able to go back to our lovely Australia. Thank you for all the hours you invested in making our dreams to come true.


R and Family (Migration)

27 April 2015

Dear Gerald and the migration team

Thank you for your efforts in obtaining a Resident Return Visa (RRV). I appreciate that this visa is for a one year period.

Thank you for a great job well done!

We will contact you next October to renew the visa.

Jane (Migration)

4 December 2017

After unsuccessfully trying to renew my resident return visa on my own, I turned to SHG. I knew it was a long shot and it took a couple more tries, but the firm shared my persistence and we prevailed.

Two things impressed me the most about the firm’s approach. Firstly, Nicholas and Gerald took me through the policy advice manual that the Department analyst would use as guidance – essentially exactly how to satisfy the general points available online. This enabled us to come up with a plan on how to “tick all of the boxes,” leaving no stone unturned.

Secondly, they welcomed my first draft for the submission, which was an amateur attempt to put forth my case. Then they recrafted it into a much more polished document with professional arguments and many points I would never have thought of.

Although I could have turned everything over to the firm, since they recognized I knew my case best and was able to craft at least some of the arguments, they respectfully treated me as a partner in the project and accepted my input. They even sent me drafts of the application for my review.

SHG helped make our dreams come true.

Anon (Migration 1)

17 March 2016

Get in touch

We'll get back to you within 24 hours or you can call us on
02 6285 8000