Human Resources

Visas and citizenship: Visitors and prospective employees

Further information

  • Differences between visa types
  • Policy Relocation Expenses

The University must ensure that prospective employees are entitled to undertake employment in Australia in accordance with the guidelines established by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

In the case of staff recruited from overseas (usually academic), Human Resources will liaise with DIAC on behalf of the University.

Where staff are recruited from the domestic market, they must be eligible to work in Australia. A person in Australia on a visa will have an Australian Entry Visa in their passport. To determine their employment rights, a copy of this visa or entry permit is required.

Contact your Human Resources Adviser in Human Resources if you have queries regarding visa conditions.


Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
HR Services - Human Resources
Date Approved
Revised 04/05/2017
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

The University of Western Australia

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University Policy on: Immigration

Overtype “Policy Name” with the name of the policy.  This must convey specifically, accurately and succinctly what the policy addresses eg Award of Honours, Study Leave.

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy outlines the requirement for all prospective international employees and visitors (invited guests) of the University, to hold a valid entry permit (Visa) before arrival in Australia.

This must be in Normal, Policy style.

Provide a brief summary of the reasons for the policy and issues it addresses.  This section is designed to stand alone.  The aim is to provide the reader with enough information to make a decision about whether or not this is the policy they are looking for.  It must not be longer than 200 words. 

Example 1

This policy defines the nature and purpose of study leave provisions for academic staff and sets out eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply.

Example 2

This policy seeks to rationalise the award of honours across the University by addressing such issues as: entry standards, course content and structure, supervision, assessment, examination, grades, classifications, benchmarking and the maintenance and provision of documentation relating to these matters.  It is based on resolutions of the Academic Board flowing from the 1999 report of the Honours Working Party.


“Approved Delegate” means a position with authority to act on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor with varied levels of authority in line with the University’s Delegations and Financial Delegations and Authority.

“Business Unit” means a cost centre in the University. This covers all sections of the University, whether academic or administrative.

“Business Visitor” means a visitor who is an invited guest from overseas for the purposes of observing or attending the University to undertake business visitor activities. This does not include work of any kind.

“Country of origin” means the country for which the sponsored visa holder holds a passport and/or is the country of usual residence.

 “Dependants” means a child or step child under 18 years old of the family head, their spouse or de facto partner or a dependent child who is over the age of 18 but not yet turned 23, or other relatives who lives with and who is fully or substantially dependent on the new appointee.

“DHA” means Department of Home Affairs.

“Employee” means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed-term contract under the terms of the following Agreements (as amended or replaced from time to time): Academic Staff Agreement or Professional and General Staff Agreement.

 “Nominator” is the organisation nominating an overseas employee to work in Australia.

“Partner” means a person who is a spouse, de facto or same sex partner.

“Preferred Immigration Service Provider” means the migration agent(s) as appointed and mandated for use by the University.

“Prospective Employee” means a person who has been offered an ongoing or fixed-term appointment with the University.

”PR” means Permanent Residency

“Reciprocal Health Agreements” are Agreements signed by the Australian Government to cover the cost of essential medical treatment when visitors from certain countries come to Australia. Full details of entitlements under these Agreements are available from Medicare.

“Sponsor” is the organisation that has been approved as a standard business sponsor and/or is nominating the role or activity to be performed in Australia.

“Spouse” means another individual (whether of the same sex or a different sex) with whom the employee lives on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

“Visa” is defined by the DHA as the permission to travel to, to enter and/or to remain in Australia for a period of time or indefinitely.

 “University” means The University of Western Australia.

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Policy statement:


1 General Considerations


Prospective employees and visitors should consult the Preferred Immigration Service Provider for detailed information regarding visa requirements. Human Resources are available to provide assistance regarding appointments to the University.


Prospective University employees and visitors, who do not hold an Australian passport, are responsible for obtaining a valid visa to ensure they have the rights to conduct work or other activities for their time in Australia. In accordance with the requirements of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), failure to obtain the correct visa may result in serious consequences for both the individual and the University.


The prospective employee or visitor must have the appropriate visa in place prior to arrival in Australia. The visa will be dependent on the activities being undertaken, whether any remuneration is paid and the length of stay.


Visa queries will be directed to the University’s appointed Preferred Immigration Service Providers to assist prospective and current employees.


A person holding a Business Visitor Visa (Subclass 600, 601, 651) will not be permitted to undertake any form of work, whether paid or unpaid, for the University.  For instances where work is to be performed a TSS (482) or 400 visa may be appropriate.  The type of activity/nature of the work and duration need to be considered when determining the correct visa.


1.1 Change in Circumstances


Individual visa holders must notify their supervisor and Financial and Staff Resources, if there are any changes to their circumstances within 14 days, as these may impact on their visa conditions and obligations. Supervisors are required to notify Financial and Staff Resources immediately if they become aware of any such changes, including but not limited to changes to:


· Job title and/or occupation;

· Duties of the role;

· Salary;

· Cessation of employment;

· Hours of work; and

· Change in relationship status with an accompanying dependant on the visa.

All changes to roles or drop in salary / work hours must be approved by the relevant HR Business Partner prior to the change taking place to ensure that the change will be allowed by the Department of Home Affairs Regulations. In some instances, a new nomination must be lodged and approved before any change takes place.



1.2 Employer Sanctions


Appropriate work verification checks must be conducted on each and every person providing services to the University to ensure they hold a visa with the appropriate work authorisation for their activities.



2 University Sponsored Temporary Visas


The Preferred Immigration Service Provider will be engaged to determine which of the following visas would be the most appropriate visa for each case.


2.1 Temporary Short Skilled (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482)


The University may choose to nominate a prospective full time employee for a TSS visa in accordance with the below eligibility criteria:


· Academic Staff – appointed for two (2) or more years.

· Professional and General Staff – Level 8 position or above and for a period of two (2) or more years.

Research and/or externally funded employees who meet the above eligibility criteria may also be nominated, following approval from the appropriate Business Unit approved delegate.


In exceptional circumstances, University sponsorship may be approved outside the above arrangements, where a written application is made, to the Director, Human Resources for special consideration.


2.2 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400)


The University may choose to nominate someone for a Short Stay Specialist visa in accordance with the below eligibility criteria:


· Undertaking short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work

· Duration of up to three months or up to six months in limited circumstances. ​

2.3 Other Temporary Visas


In certain circumstances the University may choose to sponsor someone for the following visas providing they meet the eligibility criteria set by the DHA.


· Temporary Activity Visa 408

· Training Visa Subclass 407







3 Costs


Where the University nominates someone for a visa it will pay the following reasonable costs related to visa sponsorship:


· Applicable nomination costs (will be paid by Human Resources);

· Skilling Australians Fund levy;

The following travel related costs will be will be paid by the relevant Business Unit in line with the University’s Relocation Policy;

· travel from the sponsored persons’ usual place of residence in their country of origin to Australia;

· economy class air travel (or equivalent) from Australia to the nominated employee’s (and sponsored dependants) country of origin at the conclusion of their appointment should they remain holding a TSS visa under UWA sponsorship

The individual will be responsible for the costs of return travel if permanent residency is obtained.  If the individual accepts employment with another employer then the new employer will then become responsible for repatriation and other associated costs for the employee and employee’s dependants.


3.1 Sponsorship Obligations


As a temporary visa sponsor, the University must comply with certain obligations set out by DHA. Most notably these obligations include ensuring:


· terms and conditions of employment for foreign nationals remain no less favourable than those given to Australians;

· the visa holder only performs duties or participates in their approved occupation/role; and

· Records are kept and DHA is notified of certain changes of circumstance within their mandatory timeframe.



4 Permanent Residency (PR) Visa


The University may agree to support a PR visa under the Temporary Resident Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) where the employee meets the eligibility criteria outlined in 2.1 above and where the employee:


· is currently working at the University on a UWA sponsored visa on a fixed-term or ongoing/tenured/tenurable appointment;

· has successfully completed three (3) years’ of service with the University and has completed a Staff Appraisal within the last six months with a minimum rating of meets expectations;

· already has working rights for Australia and PR forms part of their employment offer and conditions with the University;

· will have at least two (2) years’ remaining on their University employment contract once the PR is approved and the contract does not expressly exclude the possibility of extending that employment; and

· The request for PR has been instigated and approved by the Business Unit’s Approved Delegate and Financial and Staff Resources have been notified of the request in writing.

In certain cases the University may consider supporting a PR Visa under the Direct Entry Stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186). This will require a supporting case to be approved in writing by the Business Unit’s Approved Delegate and the Director, Human Resources.

Human Resources will pay for the applicable nomination and Skilling Australian Funds levy costs only. 

Sponsorship for a PR visa is only available if the employee is eligible under the applicable legislation at the time of application.


5  Visa Types


The table below highlights the main differences between the various visa types available. This information is intended as a guide only and does not replace the expert advice which can be provided by the Preferred Immigration Service Provider(s).



Visa Type


600/601 ETA/651 eVisitor

Allows business visitor activities such as business meetings, employment interviews, contract negotiations on behalf of an overseas organisation, participation in conferences.  Participation in training may be allowed in very limited circumstances under this visa (however, not facilitation or delivery of training). NO WORK PERMITTED (whether paid or unpaid).


Allows highly specialised, non-ongoing work which will be completed within a 3 month period, or in exceptional cases a 6 month period.

482 (TSS)

Allows work to be performed in an ongoing role. Limits the holder to working in the approved role and for the approved sponsor only. Visa period 1 day – 4 years


Allows trainees to participate in an approved, structured on-the-job training plan for up to 2 years.


Allows invited candidates with the relevant background (either current overseas students or recent graduates, or senior academics) to participate in or observe an Australian research project for up to 2 years.


This employer sponsored PR visa allows the holder to remain permanently in Australia indefinitely (with unlimited travel facility for 5 years) and provides full work rights.



6 Tax


6.1 Employees are responsible for their financial situation and should seek independent financial advice.  


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