Short Stay Work Visa – which is right for me?

Are you intending to travel to Australia for a short period for work purposes? It is important to know which visa is most appropriate for you and how to apply correctly. Australia offers a number of visa pathways for persons intending to work. However, only two visa groups are applicable to short stay work purposes: Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400) and Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482). The major differences between the two subclasses relate to cost, nomination requirements, duration and processing times.

1. Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400)

A valid subclass 400 visa will allow you to stay in Australia and do short-term, highly specialised work for up to three or, in limited circumstances, six months. In limited circumstances, you may also be granted a visa if the activity or work relates to Australia’s interests. You can also bring your family with you, provided they meet certain requirements and do not work in Australia.

What are the requirements?

In order to apply for this visa, you must establish that:

  • The work or activity you intend to undertake is short-term and non-ongoing
  • You need to be in Australia in order to do the work or activity
  • You have the relevant personal attributes or employment experience necessary to do the work or activity
  • You have enough money to support yourself and any family members travelling with you
  • If applicable, you have the support of the organisation which you’ll be working for or who invited you to Australia
  • You meet all the health and character requirements

What does non-ongoing mean?

Non-ongoing work means that you can finish it in six months or less – so you must not arrange to stay in Australia longer than six months. Even if your contract is for less than six months, you must consider whether the position itself is ongoing. If the position itself is ongoing, you may need to consider applying for another short-term visa.

Do you intend to work in the entertainment industry?

The subclass 400 visa does not always permit a holder to work in the entertainment industry. If you wish to work in the entertainment industry, it will depend on the type of activity you are undertaking as to whether this visa is right for you.

If you intend to do any of the following, a subclass 400 will be suitable for you:

  • Direct, produce or have any other role in a production that will not be shown in Australia (you will need to provide a distribution contract or other evidence to support this)
  • Come to Australia for a promotional activity, for example:
    • An actor visiting Australia for a red carpet premiere
    • A rock band in Australia for a promotional tour but no performances

If you intend to do any of the following, a subclass 400 will not be suitable for you:

  • Perform as an entertainer in Australia or support an entertainer or group of entertainers performing in Australia
  • Direct, produce or take any other part in a production that will be shown, broadcast or performed in Australia (including theatre, film, television, radio, concert or a recording)

Do you intend to make multiple entries to Australia?

A subclass 400 visa may be single or multiple entry. If you are granted a single entry visa, you will only be allowed to enter Australia once. If you need to return home during your stay or leave Australia during your period of work, it may be worth considering applying for a multiple entry visa. This will allow you to travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid. If this applies to you, you should flag this in your subclass 400 and include the reasons why you need to make return visits to Australia.

How do I apply for a subclass 400 visa?

In order to make a valid application for a subclass 400 visa, you and everyone you intend to include in your family must be outside of Australia when it is lodged and decided. It is important to factor in processing times when lodging your application so that you allow sufficient time in advance. The Department may take up to one month to process a subclass 400 visa application. This may be shorter if all the necessary evidence is provided in the initial application. It may also be longer if additional health or character checks are required.

It is important NOT to apply for the visa too far in advance. Remember, a subclass 400 visa requires holders to arrive in Australia within six months or less of the date the visa is granted. If you intend to come to Australia outside of this six month period, you will need to reapply for the visa.

2. Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa (Subclass 482)

The subclass 482 visa replaced the subclass 457 visa in March 2018. This visa subclass has three streams: short-term, medium-term and labour agreement. It is designed to fill gaps in the Australia labour market by allowing employers to sponsor a suitably skilled worker to fill a position they can’t find a suitably skilled Australian to fill. Duration, costs and processing times vary between streams.

In order to be eligible for a TSS visa, you must:

  • Be nominated for a skilled position by an approved sponsor
  • Have the right skills to do the job
  • Meet the relevant English language requirements

Short-Term Stream

This stream allows employers to address labour shortages by bringing in overseas skilled workers where they cannot source Australian workers with the appropriate skills.

  • Duration: up to 2 years or 4 years if an International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies
  • Requirements: your occupation must be on the short-term occupations list
  • Cost: from $1,265 AUD
  • Processing time: approximately 48 days

Medium-Term Stream

This stream allows employers to address labour shortages by bringing in overseas skilled workers where they cannot source Australian workers with the appropriate skills.

  • Duration: Up to 4 years
  • Requirements: your occupation must be either that Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  • Cost: from $2,645 AUD
  • Processing time: approximately 43 days

Labour Agreement Stream

This visa allows employers who have a Labour Agreement to nominate skilled workers. It lets you live and work in Australia temporarily. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers.

  • Duration: Up to a maximum 4 years, depending on terms of labour agreement
  • Requirements: your employer has to have a labour agreement with the Australian government in effect
  • Cost: from $2,645 AUD
  • Processing time: approximately 43 days

Do you intend to bring your family with you to Australia?

Members of your family unit e.g. spouse and children can be included in your subclass 482 visa application, and come with you to Australia.  Members of your family unit who were not included in your application, but want to join you in Australian can apply for a subsequent entrant visa.

  • Duration: stay in Australia as long as the primary applicant’s visa is valid
  • Requirements: you must be a member of the family unit of a TSS visa holder.
  • Cost: from $1,265
  • Processing time: approximately 40 days

If you intend to travel to Australia for short-term work purposes, it is important to apply for the right visa. Failing to do so may mean incurring unnecessary costs and processing times. If you have any questions or concerns about which visa is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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