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Home Skills and Productivity Business Services Skilled Migration programme

Skilled Migration programme

Employers can use Australia’s skilled migration programme to access skilled overseas workers to fill vacancies in areas with demonstrated skill shortages, where an appropriately skilled Australian is unable to be found. There are a number of visa programmes available that employers may wish to explore to meet their needs. 

Visa options for employing overseas workers

As a starting point, employers are encouraged to use the

Visa Comparison Chart

to identify the most appropriate visa option for your business. 

There are three commonly used employer-sponsored visas that allow organisations to sponsor overseas workers into Australia:

  1. Temporary visa: The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) 
  2. Permanent visa: The Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
  3. Permanent visa: The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) 

Processing times for visa applications

Processing times differ between visas. As a general rule, temporary visas are processed more quickly than permanent visas. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection's advertised service standards for visa applications are:

  • The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457): 
    2 – 3 months
  • The Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186): 
    6 months
  • The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187): 
    6 months

More details about other visa processing times are available from Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

There are free checklists for each stage of the process available to ensure your applications are ‘decision ready', meaning that your immigration applications will be processed without unnecessary delays. The checklists are available on the relevant visa imformation pages on the Department of Immigration and Border Proection's website.


This information is current at 25 June 2014. Please refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website for the most up-to-date information.