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Business Immigration to Australia
Skilled Immigration to Australia

Assisting Skilled and Business People come to Australia

The Australian Government is committed to assisting successful business & skilled migration people to settle permanently in Australia. The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) has introduced specific initiatives designed to assist Australian businesses obtain overseas staff with a minimum of formalities, and to help overseas people either conduct or establish business in Australia. These measures recognise that Australian businesses must have access to skills, ideas, contacts and technology from overseas to be successful in today's increasingly global economy. They may need to recruit overseas staff with qualifications and relevant work experience to meet specific skill shortages in Australia. There are also benefits for Australia in attracting experienced overseas business people to either establish or join businesses in Australia, bringing with them investments, new ideas and the prospect of creating new jobs.

Skilled Migrants for Permanent Residence

There are a number of categories in the Skilled stream to enable successful business people and highly skilled and qualified personnel to migrate to Australia. These include:

Independent migrants - For people selected on the basis of their skills, age and English-language ability.
State/Territory Nominated Independent Scheme - This scheme enables State/Territory Governments to nominate skilled migrants for entry on the basis of identified skill needs. State/Territory Governments which choose to participate in the scheme conduct an audit to establish what skills are in short supply and in what locations. Based on this audit, States/Territories aim to select applicants who have a sound chance of gaining employment in that State/Territory or region within a short time.
Skilled-Australian Sponsored - People selected on the basis of their skills, age, English-language ability and family relationship (they must be sponsored by a relative already living in Australia).
Skilled-Regional Sponsored - The Skilled-Regional Sponsored category allows applicants who meet minimum skill, age and English language requirements to be eligible for migration if they are sponsored by relatives living in an area designated by State or Territory Governments. Currently Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Perth and Brisbane are not designated areas. All other parts of Australia are designated. There is no points test.

Skill Matching Database

The Skill Matching Database was introduced in 1997. The database contains information about skilled workers who have lodged migration applications outside Australia in the Skilled - Independent and Skill-Matching visa classes. It is designed to:

  • assist State and Territory governments and employers to attract skilled migrants to areas of Australia that wish to increase their skilled migration intake;
  • assist independent skilled migrants by creating potential links with employers and employment opportunities in Australia; and
  • help regional employers to meet skill shortages where they cannot fill skilled positions from the local labour market.

    Business Skills - encourages successful business people to settle permanently in Australia and develop new business opportunities.
    Employer Nomination - people nominated or 'sponsored' by employers through schemes such as the Employer Nomination Scheme, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and negotiated Labour or Regional Headquarters Agreements.

    Temporary Entry - Short Stay

    The Department has also established a range of services providing for streamlined entry to Australia of business people applying for either short or long-term temporary stay.
    The Business (short stay) visa may be issued for either single entry or for multiple entry. Holders of a multiple entry visa may make any number of journeys to Australia for up to three months on each occasion. Multiple entry visas may be valid for either up to five years, or the life of the passport (to a maximum of 10 years). Applicants must apply for this visa outside Australia.
    The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) allows tourists and business visitors to obtain visas for Australia at the time they make their travel arrangements. The ETA system is accessible by travel agencies and airlines in the United States, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, United Kingdom and many Asian and European countries.
    The APEC Business Travel Card provides business people with simplified entry to a number of countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum. Holders must be citizens of one of the participating countries (currently Australia, Chile, Hong Kong China, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Thailand). The card assists the mobility of business people throughout the APEC region.

    Temporary Stay - Long-Term Visas

    Labour Agreements are special arrangements for the overseas recruitment of a specified number of workers, to a defined set of vacancies and criteria. Agreements are negotiated between the Government, employers (and other interested parties, including unions and professional associations). They usually run for three years, with most negotiated for temporary entry only. Entrants under labour agreements receive priority processing.
    Regional Headquarters (RHQ) Agreements are for overseas companies choosing Australia as their company headquarters for operations throughout the region. The benefits for the companies include streamlined entry processing, and access to Australia's highly educated and skilled workforce with a multiplicity of language skills and familiarity with a wide range of overseas cultures and business environments.

    Business Temporary Entry arrangements cater for employers wishing to sponsor the temporary entry of highly skilled personnel to apply as either:

  • a Pre-Qualified Business Sponsor (PQBS) seeking approval to fill an unspecified number of vacancies over an initial period of two years; or
  • a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS) seeking approval to fill a set number of known or anticipated vacancies. Sponsors must satisfy the Department about their business standing, ability to comply with sponsorship undertakings and the benefit to Australia that will result from the sponsorships.

    Business Services

    DIMIA provides superior client service to business clients to ensure the Australian commercial environment continues to benefit from the entry of business migrants.
    DIMIA operates effective services for business clients, including:

  • a Business Branch and a Temporary Entry Branch in its Canberra headquarters to ensure that the needs of business are taken into account in developing DIMIA's business entry policies and procedures;
  • Business Centres in each of its State and Territory offices which offer a comprehensive and streamlined service for business people; and
  • Business Advisory Panel, which is a group of senior Australian business people, representative of the Department's major client groups. The Panel provides advice on ways in which the international movement of business people to Australia can be facilitated without sacrificing border integrity.


    Australian Immigration Law and Policy is subject to constant change. While every effort is made to ensure information on this site is current and accurate, this cannot be guaranteed. The information is provided as general guidance only and no responsibility will be accepted for any adverse consequence which may arise from any action taken on the basis of material provided in this site, regardless as to any possible error or omission. It is recommended that any and all information be verified by a registered migration agent at INBIB or The Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.