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Before Hiring Overseas Talent

If you are experiencing skills shortages, employing a skilled migrant can be a viable recruitment option.

This page provides an overview of things to consider if you plan to recruit skilled migrants. Select a topic to find out more:

What sort of visas do skilled migrants need to work in Australia?

There are a number of visa pathways for skilled migrants who want to live and work in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis. Each visa has specific eligibility requirements and obligations for visa holders and will suit different skilled workers depending on their circumstances. Different visa pathways include:

Employer Sponsored visas

Employer Sponsored visas allow legally operating Australian and overseas businesses to sponsor migrants to fill specific skilled job vacancies.

Occupations eligible for employer sponsorship are listed on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

There are several employer sponsored visa programs.  Each program addresses different recruitment needs and has different eligibility requirements, conditions and obligations for employers and visa holders.

The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection administers all visa and employer sponsorship applications.

General Skilled Migration visas

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa program is for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer and have skills in specific occupations required in Australia.

The GSM program has different visa options depending on whether the visa applicant applies independently or is sponsored by an eligible family member or nominated by a state/territory government. Each visa has different eligibility requirements, conditions and obligations for visa holders.

GSM skilled migrants are not matched to a job vacancy, and must seek work independently.


Agreements are formal arrangements which allow for the recruitment of an agreed number of temporary or permanent overseas skilled workers.

Agreements can include:

Other visas with work rights

Some employers may consider hiring skilled workers on a temporary or short-term basis to fill their vacancies. International students who have recently graduated, overseas graduates or young people who are travelling on a working holiday visa can provide a potential source of talent for some skilled positions.

Find out more about hiring short-term workers on other visas

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Does an employer need to sponsor a skilled worker from overseas?

An employer doesn't have to sponsor a skilled migrant before they can hire them, but it can be a faster visa pathway for employing skilled workers. There are a number of employer sponsored visa programs geared toward different employers and their recruitment needs, and each has different eligibility requirements and obligations for employers and visa holders.

Employers can also hire skilled workers who already have a valid visa with appropriate work rights including General Skilled Migration visa holders, international students and graduates, and working holiday makers. Visit Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) to check current visa details and conditions. 

Employers have a number of options to connect with skilled migrants who plan to live and work in Victoria, either with a view to sponsor them or to potentially hire them when their visa application has been approved.

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What is Victorian visa nomination?

State visa nomination supports skilled migrants to meet the requirements for selected visas under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program.

Visa nomination provides successful applicants with additional points to allow them to meet the minimum points test that applies to GSM visas.

Visa nomination provides a mechanism for the Victorian Government to target and attract specific skills that are in strong demand in Victoria and hard to find in the local labour market.

A full list of occupations that Victoria targets for visa nomination is on the Visa Nomination Occupation Lists page. Find out more on the Visa Nomination page.

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Where can employers find overseas talent to fill a vacancy?

There are many ways for employers to connect with skilled migrants wanting to live and work in Victoria.

These include the Australian Government’s SkillSelect system, the Victorian Government’s visa nomination program, networking and recruitment events for employers and migrants, and services provided through recruitment and migration agents.

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What are an employer's obligations if employing a skilled migrant?

If employing a skilled migrant it is important to ensure that they are legally entitled to work in Australia. Employers are also required to ensure that their worker's basic workplace rights and protections are met.  

If sponsoring a migrant under an employer sponsored visa, employers will also need to meet the relevant requirements to become a business sponsor and comply with any specific employer obligations associated with their employee’s visa type.

Find out more about employer obligations

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How can an employer help a new skilled worker settle in Australia?

Some employers have programs in place to assist their newly arrived overseas workers to settle into their new communities and workplaces. These programs often include assisting with accommodation, welcome events, providing information about the local services and attractions in the local community and structured workplace orientation programs.

Taking the time to ensure new staff have adequate settlement support can help them to feel welcome and respected, and supports longer-term retention of staff.

Find out more about helping newly arrived workers settle into the workplace

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What sort of support and services are available for employers?

A number of organisations provide services, tools and resources to help Victorian employers connect with skilled migrants and navigate Australia’s skilled migration system.

Employers can contact a Victorian Government Skilled Migration Industry Advisor to discuss their recruitment requirements and needs, or browse the Victorian Government's listing of organisations that provide support services, tools and resources for employers

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