In circumstances where there are difficulties recruiting suitably qualified employees, a principal/manager may consider offering employment to a suitable person from overseas to fill a position, in a school or other Department workplace. Any action to fill a vacancy with an overseas worker can only be considered within the context of the Department’s normal staffing policies and procedures.
For the purpose of this policy, ‘manager’ means any person who has delegated authority to recruit public service employees in the Department as vacancies arise.
Employing a Skilled Worker from Overseas
A prospective skilled worker from overseas must satisfy any mandatory qualification and/or professional registration requirements that apply to the employment category (e.g. teacher, speech pathologist, social worker, psychologist).
Prior to offering employment to a skilled worker who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident in Australia, the principal/manager should request the worker to provide them with a copy of their visa documentation indicating their current visa status, including a copy of their Visa Grant Notice from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
The principal/manager must be satisfied that:
- the visa provides the overseas worker with sufficient work rights to undertake the position at the school/workplace
- the overseas worker’s qualifications have been assessed and that they meet the professional registration and licensing requirements for the position to be offered to the person
- the overseas worker is not offered employment beyond the expiry date of their visa
- the overseas worker is not subject to any work conditions that place restrictions on the employment of the overseas worker (for example that limit the number of hours or the period of employment that may be offered to him/her). Where this is the case, the manager must only offer employment to the person that is consistent with the conditions listed on their visa
- the overseas worker is provided with a letter of offer that contains additional terms and conditions for the employment of an overseas worker.
Principals/managers are expected to take reasonable steps to regularly confirm that an overseas worker is not employed in breach of their visa conditions. There are heavy penalties under the
Migration Act 1958 (Cth) for employers who allow an overseas worker to work in breach of their visa conditions or without a valid visa.
The preferred method of checking visa details is to register for the DHA free online Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service and to obtain consent from the overseas worker for a VEVO check to be done. Alternatively, the principal/manager can ask the person to send their visa details directly to them using VEVO email. A template VEVO Consent Form is available under Other Resources below.
The DHA recommends that employers should check the VEVO service or request a VEVO email every 3 months as evidence that the employer regularly took steps to confirm the employee’s permission to work.
Information about the VEVO service is available from the DHA webpage titled: Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).
Further information on visas and work rights, including information for employers, is available from the DHA (see below under Other Resources).
A permanent residency visa will enable an overseas worker to remain in Australia indefinitely and to accept ongoing employment at a school or Department workplace, subject to satisfying the Department’s employment requirements.
If a permanent residency visa is considered desirable to enable an overseas worker to work in an ongoing capacity at a school or Department workplace, the manager should first check with the person whether they are eligible to apply for a permanent residency visa on their own, without the support of their employer. There are several pathways to permanent residency and a manager can encourage overseas workers to seek independent advice and assistance from a registered migration agent on their visa options.
Note that many temporary residency visas are renewable. However a temporary visa holder must only be offered fixed term positions in a school or other Department workplace as their visa does not provide the person with ongoing work rights.
If it is considered that a permanent residency visa is desirable, and the overseas worker is not eligible for a permanent residency visa ‘in their own right’, it is open to the employer to consider nominating the person for a permanent residency visa. The employer sponsored permanent residency visa options applicable to schools and Department workplaces are detailed below.
Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)
Employers may use this scheme to sponsor and recruit to a skilled job vacancy on a permanent basis either highly skilled staff from overseas or temporary residents currently in Australia.
More information about the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) is available from the DHA webpage titled:
Employer Nomination Scheme
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)
Under this scheme, a rural or regional employer may sponsor an overseas worker to fill a job vacancy. The scheme can provide for permanent residency.
More information about the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) is available from the DHA webpage titled:
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
Sponsoring an overseas skilled worker (former subclass 457)
From March 2018 the Australian Government introduced a new work visa in replacement of the subclass 457 visa - the subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. The Department is reviewing the requirements of the new visa. Further advice will be issued when that review is complete.
Procedures & Forms
For further assistance with matters relating to engaging an overseas worker principals/managers should contact the Legal Division in the Department by email
email@example.com or telephone (03) 9637 3146.