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How to hire international graduates in Australia – a guide for employers

If you cannot find Australian staff to work in your business, you might consider hiring staff from overseas, providing that they have the correct type of visa. Overseas staff include:

  • People that are Refugees
  • People who are on a working holiday
  • workers who have professionals or trade qualifications
  • Or International Students

 (DHA) or The Department of Home Affairs is the Australian government agency responsible for immigration matters and can answer questions about:

  • Support services for people who are coming to Australia
  • Citizenship related
  • Visas
  • Employer obligations for hiring overseas workers

Explore JOB+ the platform that connects international students, graduates and alumni with hiring managers globally.


State and territory that nominated visa

Australia’s skilled migration program contains a range of visa options for workers to settle permanently or temporarily in Australia.

Employer-Sponsored Visas

If you are a business, you can apply to the Australian Department of Home Affairs for skilled workers overseas.

  • Who you can sponsor:

Employers can sponsor a skilled worker to come to Australia if you cannot find Australian citizens or permanent residents with the abilities and experiences required for the job.

Employers can sponsor someone who is a skilled worker:

  1. Living overseas and want to travel and work in Australia
  2. Or already in Australia, however, on another type of visa but don’t meet the requirements for jobs.
  3. Or who already lives and works in Australia on a different visa class.

If you hold a Temporary Work skilled visa (subclass 457) or a Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482), you can sponsor your family members, too.

If you want to sponsor a person to work in your business based in Australia, you need to make sure the job is on the Skilled Occupations List. The person must be sponsored for that job, and the position must be advertised. For appointments not on the Skilled Occupations List, if you can’t find a suitable Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill that position, you may be able to negotiate a labour agreement. You can also sponsor someone under the Global Talent Scheme if they have specific qualifications or are nominated by an employer. To bring someone to Australia temporarily for a sports or entertainment training program or as a performer, you will have to apply for a different visa type.

International Student Visas

International students in Australia are only allowed to work a limited number of hours. Before hiring an international student, make sure you and the student understand these restrictions.

International students can participate in work experience, vocational placements, internships, and volunteer work while studying.

Working Holiday Visas

If you’re a tourist from a participating country, you might find that getting a working holiday visa for Australia is a possible way to spend your time here and earn a little extra cash. These visas grant you to stay in Australia for an extended visit, with the option of working for up to six months at any one time. However, please note that working must not be your primary purpose in Australia—it’s not a work visa. To find out more about working holiday visas, click here.

Refugee Visas

Some refugees are granted protection visas which allow them to live and work in Australia as permanent residents. Get more information about the refugee and humanitarian program.

Employer Obligations for hiring overseas workers

If you are thinking of hiring workers from overseas, you should check that they can work in Australia

Visa holders and migrant workers-workplace rights and entitlements

  • Australian workplace laws generally apply to all workers employed in Australia, except for full-time Australian or New Zealand citizens or citizens from certain Pacific Island nations who participate in a unique government scheme. Employers employing foreign workers should meet both Australian workplace and immigration laws. Both sets of rules are enforced by different government departments: The Department of Home Affairs for immigration requirements and the Fair Work Ombudsman for pay and conditions under awards and agreements.
  •  The minimum salary is the lowest amount of money employers can legally pay employees. Under Australian law, no adult worker is allowed to be paid less than the national minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is a safety net for employees. Any worker over the age of 21 must be paid at least $203.45 per week. The Fair Work Commission determines the amount. Employers must give workers their correct pay and pay them for their breaks or lunchtime.
  • Primary Subclass 482 and 457 visa holders are entitled to the same salary rates as Australian citizens/permanent residents performing equivalent work in their workplace.