FAQ – Before your visa application is lodged
The following information is aimed towards employer sponsored visa types, primarily the subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa and the subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa.
- What are the costs?
- Can I include my family?
- Do I need a valid passport?
- What is the English requirement?
- What evidence do I need to provide to show I have the skills for the visa?
- Do I need police checks?
- What if I (or a family member) have a criminal conviction or other character concern?
- Do I need a health check?
- What if I (or a family member) fail the health check?
- Do I need health insurance?
- How do I provide you with my documents?
- Do I need to translate my documents into English?
- What other documentation/information will I need?
1. What are the costs?
Our legal fees and government application fees differ depending on the type of visa you are applying for and your situation.
Whether or not your employer/sponsor will cover all of the fees related to your visa application will depend on company policy, although there are some costs that they are legally obligated to pay.
For the subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, it is illegal for your employer/sponsor to ask you to pay any costs associated with the business sponsorship or nomination or accept any payment in return for sponsoring you. They can, however, pass the costs of the visa application (legal fees and/or government fees) on to you.
The subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa is a little different. All costs can be passed on to you, except for something known as the Training Levy, which must be paid by the sponsor.
You may also incur incidental costs relating to health checks, police checks, English tests etc. Queries about reimbursement of these costs should be directed to your employer/sponsor.
Refunds of legal fees and/or government fees are only available in limited circumstances.
If you have any concerns about any payments your employer/sponsor is asking you to make in regards to your visa application, please let us know.
2. Can I include my family?
In most cases, yes, you can include your partner (spouse or de facto) and your children (under the age of 18, with limited exceptions). To satisfy the de facto partner requirements, you generally need to be able to show that you have been living together for at least six months. Additional government fees will apply. Additional legal fees may or may not apply.
You can not include any other family members in your visa e.g. parents, siblings, cousins etc.
The additional documentation required, including relationship evidence, will depend on your individual circumstances and the type of visa you are applying for. You can find a summary that applies to the subclass 482 TSS visa here.
If you wish to include a partner and/or children, please let us know and we can advise further.
3. Do I need a valid passport?
Yes. A valid passport is required:
- For all visa applicants aged 5 or over – for a visa application to be drafted and lodged; and
- For all visa applicants regardless of age – for a visa application to be approved.
If you get a new passport after your visa application is lodged, or after it is approved, send us a clear, colour scan and we will link it to your pending visa application/approved visa.
4. Will I need to do an English test?
Whether you will need an English test will be required or not will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, your country of citizenship, and/or your education history
Approved English test results are valid for three years for immigration purposes. If you are applying for a permanent vsa (e.g. the 186 ENS visa) a, the application cannot be lodged unless you satisfy the English requirement. Otherwise, it will be refused. English test results can be provided after lodgement for a temporary visa application (e.g. the 482 TSS visa), but we generally advise against this unless there is no time to do the test/receive the results first.
Family members do not need to meet the English requirement for a temporary visa application. Applicants over the age of 18 will need to meet the English requirement for a permanent visa application, but this is a lower threshold and does not have to be satisfied prior to lodgement. If they cannot meet the requirement, there is an option to pay an additional government fee instead (approx. AUD 5,000 per person).
We will advise you accordingly as part of the process, although specific requirements for the main employer sponsored visas are below:
- Subclass 482 TSS visa – short term stream
- Subclass 482 TSS visa – medium term stream
- Subclass 186 ENS visa – primary applicant
- Subclass 186 ENS visa – secondary applicant (over 18)
5. What evidence do I need to provide to show I have the skills for the visa?
Please obtain employment references from employers at least 2 years of your full-time employment within the last 5 years. See link here for a template to use as it will need to include specific details. We are happy to review a draft version of the employment reference before it is signed.
While this will not be a requirement for the lodgement or approval of the TSS visa, it is a condition of the visa that you be registered or be able to show that they are exempt from registration requirements for your occupation within 90 calendar days of the visa grant. If not, you and your employer and you may be considered in breach of immigration laws. Your Ajuria Lawyers advisor can provide with more information specific to your occupation.
186 – ENS visa – Direct Entry Stream
You will need to upload:
- Skills Assessment Outcome (we will advise you by email of these requirements)
- Employment references confirming at least 3 years of full-time work experience relevant to your occupation. See link here for a template to use as it will need to include specific details. We are happy to review a draft version of the employment reference before it is signed.
- At least one of the below
- Tax statements for the last 3 years In Australia, ATO income statements are downloadable from your myGov account You can see here how to access your ATO income statements; OR
- First and last payslip for every year worked in the last 3 years
186 – ENS visa – Temporary Residence Transition Stream
- Your most recent pay slip
- Leave records covering the last 3 years worked in Australia. These should list the dates and types of leave taken (please advise if we should obtain these from your employer if you do not have access)
- Tax statements for the last 3 years In Australia, ATO income statements are downloadable from your myGov account You can see here how to access your ATO income statements
Australian Computer Society (ACS)
If we have confirmed that ACS is the relevant skills assessment authority for your 186 visa application, please refer to below.
ACS skills assessments are dependent on the type of qualification held by you and the subjects you have studied. Generally, if the degree is an ICT major then you will need to only show 2 years of work experience. If the degree is deemed to have an ICT minor, you will need to have 5 years.
A degree with an ICT Major must have:
- 33% ICT content for a 3 year course OR
- 25% ICT content for a 4 year course OR
- 20% ICT content for a 5 year course
A degree is assessed as having an ICT minor if ICT content is comprises at least 2/3 of the requirements for a major.
If you are assessed as having a degree with a ICT Major, you only need to show 2 years of full time relevant experience.
If you are assessed as having a degree with a ICT Minor, you need to show 5 years of full time relevant experience.
ACS skills assessments costs approximately $500 and the processing time is 8 weeks. They can be applied for online by setting up an account with ACS. Detailed guidelines can be found here.
Whether you can get a positive assessment is dependent on whether your degree has sufficient ICT content and whether your experience is at the right skill level with ICT related duties. This can be highly technical in nature and is specific to your industry, which is outside our area of expertise.
6. Do I need police checks?
Whether police checks will be required will depend on the type of visa you are applying for and the immigration status of your sponsor. In some cases, your sponsor may provide a character reference letter for you in lieu of police checks (excluding Australia, if applicable).
Where police checks are required, you will need these from every country you have spent more than a combined total of 12 months in over the last ten years (or since turning 16, if you are under 26 years of age). The same will also be required for all secondary applicants over the age of 16 (i.e. partner and/or children).
It is important that you disclose all names you have been known by in your police check application, especially for an Australian police check. This includes maiden names and any other formal name changes. If your name appears in a different format or spelling on an identity document (such as a passport or birth certificate) please ensure you also include this variation of the name.
For immigration purposes, a police check is deemed to be valid for 12 months from the issue date. Police checks older than 12 months can only be reused if you have not spent more than 60 days in the country since it was issued.
We will advise you whether police checks are required or not. If they are, we will provide further guidance on the specific police checks needed and how to apply.
7. What if I (or a family member) have a criminal conviction or other character concern?
All visa applicants over the age of 16 must be of good character and pass the character test to be granted a visa. Generally speaking, you will not pass the character test if you have a substantial criminal record, or have been convicted of/involved in certain types of offences or activities, which are outlined on the Home Affairs website here.
A minor offence will therefore not automatically disqualify you from being granted a visa. In most cases, the more serious issue is where the offence has not been disclosed in the visa application, or any previous applications. This means it is very important that you let us know as early as possible if you have any criminal convictions or cautions, no matter how trivial or if expunged. The same applies to any outstanding charges that are incomplete or awaiting legal action. If there is something you are not sure about, it is safer to just check with us.
Once you have given us all of the relevant information, we can you with further advice. Depending on how serious the matter is, we may need to discuss the risk with your employer/sponsor. If you decide that you do not want to tell your employer/sponsor we may need to advise them that we cannot assist you with your visa application.
8. Do I need to do a health check?
Whether a health check will be required will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, your country of citizenship, your recent international travel/residence history and your medical history.
Currently, health checks can only be completed after a visa application has been lodged. If you will be required to undertake a health check, we will provide you with a referral letter and further instructions after lodgement.
9. What if I (or a family member) fail the heath check?
You may fail the health requirement if you have a health condition that may:
- result in a significant cost to the community
- prevent Australian citizens from accessing health care or community services in short supply
- pose a danger to the community or is a threat to public health
Some visa types will allow you to apply for a health waiver if you (or any secondary applicants) fail the health requirement, but some do not. It is very important that you flag any health concerns with us upfront so that we can advise accordingly.
A health waiver is not required if you have active tuberculosis, but your visa cannot be approved until you have successfully completed TB treatment.
10. Do I need health insurance?
Some temporary visas require the holders to maintain a certain level of health insurance whilst they are in Australia. This applies to the subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. This requirement can be satisfied in one of three ways:
- By holding private heath insurance that satisfies the minimum requirements
- By holding a valid Medicare card (and travel insurance until you can obtain a Medicare card, where required) – note that Medicare may only be available to residents of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia, or Norway. Further information can be found here.
- By holding a passport from New Zealand or Ireland
There are a number of Australian insurers who offer products designed to meet the subclass 482 visa requirements. Insurers generally call this type of insurance ‘overseas visitor coverage’. You will need to consider the various products and determine which insurance product is appropriate for your needs. Most insurers will provide access to prices and allow you to purchase the product online.
Ajuria Lawyers has negotiated overseas visitor coverage packages with certain providers that can be accessed via the following links:
Please note that not all the above providers offer a discounted rate to our clients and that Ajuria Lawyers or its associated entities may receive a commission from these external service providers.
An international health insurance policy may also be acceptable provided it covers you (and any family members included in your visa) for at least AU$1M in medical expenses and emergency services and meets the Department’s minimum requirements.
If you are lodging your visa application while you are outside Australia, your health insurance does not need to come into effect until you arrive in Australia on a TSS visa. You can provide an estimated start date to your insurance provider, and then change it once you know if you will be arriving in Australia earlier or later than that date. This should mean that you don’t have to pay for your health insurance until you arrive in Australia. For further information about this, please speak to your insurance provider.
Note that there is no obligation under the immigration regulations for an employer/sponsor to pay for your health insurance.
11. How do I provide you with my documents?
We prefer that you upload your documents via our online portal. We will send you login details upon initiation of your matter. If you cannot upload via the portal, you can send the document(s) by email, but we ask that you keep the total file size to under 5MB.
When uploading or email your documents, please ensure that you are providing clear, colour scans or photos. Please ensure that the full document can be seen and that no part of it is cut-off when scanning or taking a photo.
Unless we advise you otherwise, you do not need to provide us with the original hard-copies, or certified/notarised copies.
12. Do I need to translate my documents into English?
We can assist you with the translation of documents into English where required. If you already have translated copies, please ensure you provide these to us along with copies of the original documents.
13. What other documentation/information will I need?
We will advise you on the additional documentation/information required, as this will differ depending on your personal circumstances and the visa you are applying for.