Which Workers Need Visa Checks?

Overseas Worker

Businesses often ask which workers need visa checks before and during employment. Under the Employer Sanctions legislation, businesses can face penalties if they hire a “non-citizen” worker in breach of visa conditions or without a valid visa.

A “non-citizen” is any person who is not a citizen of Australia. The following categories of people fall within this definition:

  • Unlawful non-citizens are those who are in Australia but who do not hold any current Australian visa
  • Bridging visa holders – workers who are waiting for the outcome of an application for a substantive visa. Generally, the visa will expire 35 days after notice is given of a decision on their substantive visa application. Many, but not all, have work rights whilst awaiting their decision
  • Temporary visa holders – such as international students, working holiday makers or 457 visa holders
  • Provisional visa holders – the most common category are temporary partner visa holders, but can also include provisional business migration visa holders (in this case, there is a restriction on the type of work they can do) and provisional skilled migrants (who generally can only work in certain geographic areas)
  • New Zealand citizens – generally New Zealanders can travel to Australia without obtaining a visa first, remain in Australia indefinitely and work full time in Australia but can lose their status if they commit a criminal offence.
  • Permanent visa holders – who generally hold unrestricted work rights, but whose travel facilities expire every five years (e.g. Employer Nomination Scheme or ENS, General Skilled Migration).

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