Hiring foreign workers can be a good business decision, especially if your business requires skills that are hard-to-find in Australian workers. However, this process can be quite daunting, especially considering the different classes of temporary and permanent visas, lengthy application forms and further legislative requirements.

Why Hire Foreign Workers?

Your business might consider hiring foreign workers for several different reasons. 

If your business operates in industries such as aged care, agriculture, or construction, it might be hard to find suitable and qualified Australian permanent residents or citizens to take up the workload, and that’s where foreign workers come in. 

They are usually temporary workers and can generally work for up to 4 years, depending on your business needs, and you have the opportunity to extend their visa to a permanent visa if you want to.

How To Hire Foreign Workers?

To hire foreign workers, they will need to be on a valid Australian visa. There are a few different options that you can consider, depending on the needs of your business, and the time and money your business has.

Sponsoring Foreign Workers Yourself

One way to hire foreign workers is doing it yourself by applying through the Department of Home Affairs. The most common way to hire foreign workers is through the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, which allows you to hire workers for up to 2 or 4 years through their short-term, medium-term and labour stream respectively.

As an employer, you must first lodge an application to be a Standard Business Sponsor, which allows you to sponsor a foreign worker for a Temporary Skill Shortage visa or a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa. 

Once your Sponsorship application has been approved, you must nominate the foreign worker for a particular position within your company, which must be on the skilled occupations list, which you can find here

You can then lodge the visa application for your foreign employee and check that they meet the visa eligibility criteria. For a Temporary Skill Shortage visa, important requirements for the foreign worker include that they must have relevant work experience, evidence of meeting the minimum standards of English language, are sponsored by an employer, and a relevant skills assessment for certain occupations.

On-Hire Labour Agreement

Another option to hire foreign workers is by partnering with a company which has a Labour Hire Agreement set up. 

Labour Hire Agreements are formal agreements between companies and the Australian government to allow the companies to recruit skilled foreign workers. These companies often bear the brunt of complying with requirements such as identifying the relevant skills shortage and why they cannot be filled by Australia workers, the number of skilled workers, and the skill and language requirements for the nominated occupations.

The foreign worker under a Labour Agreement will be employed on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa, allowing them to work up to 4 years depending on their skills and position. The workers must be employed full-time, paid by the company that sponsors them (e.g. the labour hire company), and paid the equivalent salary of an Australian, and they cannot be paid below the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, which can be found here

You can also find a list of the current Labour Agreements here.

What to Take Away

Hiring foreign workers is a business decision for yourself and any business partners to consider. 

There are a few different options to hiring foreign workers, and you can consider which option is best for your business, based on your time and financial capacity. Especially if your business is operating in industries which find it difficult to hire Australian workers, getting some foreign workers may be best for your business!

Get In Touch

If you’re ready to get some agreements drafted for your labour hire business, or employment contracts for your sponsored foreign employees, Sprintlaw has friendly and experienced lawyers that can help you through the legal processes involved!

If you would like a consultation on your options going forward, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

About Sprintlaw

Sprintlaw's expert lawyers make legal services affordable and accessible for business owners. We're Australia's fastest growing law firm and operate entirely online.

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