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Work Permit and Visa Options for an American Employed in Australia

In order to access the best possible talent, Australian companies will often hire foreign nationals to fill technical or professional roles.  This was easier in the past, but recent changes to work visa requirements have raised the bar on qualifications, even for employees from other developed economies like the US or EU.

The main concern is that foreign workers are taking positions that could be filled by Australians, so it is worth knowing the rules if you are planning on hiring foreign nationals.

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Employment Visa Options in Australia

There are several work visa options in Australia depending on the length of stay, work experience, skill level and whether the employee wants to seek permanent residency.

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa 482 in Australia

The primary work visa in Australia is the 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS).  There are two different types: short term and medium term.  Both require an approved company sponsor in Australia.

Short term

The short term TSS is valid for two years, with a possible renewal for two more years.  To be eligible an employee must have two years of relevant work experience and provide a criminal background check. 

Medium Term

The medium term TSS is valid for four years and is only available to certain listed professions and highly skilled employees.  It requires both a criminal background check and an English language ability test.  

It is also possible for the worker to seek permanent residency with the medium stream TSS.

Client Case: Work and Holiday 462 Visa in Australia

We had a prospective client with an American employee who was in Australia under a six-month 462 work and holiday visa.  They wanted to know if he could be hired and put on payroll while on that visa or should a TSS be applied for from the beginning.  The planned length of employment was two years.


We replied that the employee could be hired initially under the 462 visa but only for six months and then a TSS would be needed.  If his work is only for two years, the short term TSS would apply, with its less restrictive requirements.

If they wanted the employee to start immediately the 462 could be used while the TSS is processed and valid any time prior to the end of the six months.

Do you need more information about Australia?

Following the Australian immigration rules has become more difficult and you might have more questions such as:

How do I know if the employee meets the ‘highly skilled’ criteria for the TSS?

Is the medium term TSS renewable after 4 years?

Is the criminal background check done by an outside agency?

Helping our clients answer questions like this is how we support employing both foreign and resident workers, ensuring compliance with immigration, payroll, and tax laws. 

We make international employment simple.

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Looking to hire an employee in Australia? Get in touch.


The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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