Recruit overseas workers

Having trouble recruiting local labour? Need to fill your skills needs with overseas workers? The following tools may assist.

Working Holiday Maker Programme

Under the Working Holiday Maker Programme, travelers can supplement their holiday budget by working in short-term appointments. There are two visa options – Working Holiday (Subclass 417) and Work and Holiday (Subclass 462), each with different eligibility terms and conditions.

Visa holders are able to work in Australia for up to six months with each employer. In an initiative to be implemented in the second half of 2015, working holiday makers who work in tourism and hospitality in northern Australia will be eligible to receive a six month work extension at the end of six months employment, enabling them to work for the same employer for 12 months.

By the second half of 2016, Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa holders will have the opportunity to extend their stay for a second year if they work for three months in tourism and hospitality in northern Australia during the first year of their stay.

For further information visit

Skill Select: online service to recruit skilled migrants

SkillSelect is an online service that enables skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia to record their details and be considered for a skilled visa. Employers can quickly and easily identify and contact intending skilled migrants and nominate them for skilled visas to fill shortages. To find out more, including video tutorials and FAQs, visit SkillSelect.

Chefs added to the 2014 Skilled Occupation List

On 1 July 2014, chefs were included on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) to make it easier for businesses to recruit qualified chefs from overseas when they cannot be sourced locally.

Australia’s tourism industry is forecast to need an additional 56 000 workers by 2015, with an expected shortage of 2118 skilled chefs. Having chefs on the SOL provides an opportunity to inject new skills and culinary experience into the industry. This will greatly complement Tourism Australia’s ‘Restaurant Australia’ campaign.

Review of Australia’s Skilled Migration Programme

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is undertaking a review of the skilled migration and temporary activity visa programmes. The review will develop a visa framework that is flexible and responsive to the skills needs of Australian business and industry, while also allowing for the broad range of short term activities being undertaken in Australia. Throughout the review, skilled migration and temporary activity visas will continue to be processed under current arrangements. It is expected that the new visa framework will be implemented from 1 July 2016.

For more information visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Independent Review into Integrity in the Subclass 457 Programme

In September 2014, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection released the findings of an independent review into integrity in the subclass 457 programme. The Government responded to this review on 18 March 2015 and accepted 21 of the 22 recommendations.

Based on the recommendations, and as part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the Government will:

  • reform sponsorship requirements for 457 visas
  • streamline arrangements for existing approved sponsors
  • reform English language requirements
  • move to a risk-based approach for compliance and monitoring.

The Government plans to progress the majority of reforms before the end of the 2015-16 Programme year.

For further information visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Template Labour Agreement for Fine Dining Restaurants

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, has agreed to an industry agreement for the restaurant (fine dining) sector for the occupations of chef and cook. The Minister also agreed to include trade waiters following the national endorsement of this occupation. This agreement will provide fine dining establishments with access to semi and high skilled overseas workers in occupations in critical shortage. For further information, contact

Skilled Occupations List (SOL)

The SOL is used for people applying for the Independent or Family Sponsored Points Tested visa or Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) – Graduate Work Stream. Further information on the Skilled Occupation List is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website

Designated Area Migration Agreements to address skill shortages

The Government has developed the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) programme to provide flexibility for states, territories or regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions through an agreement-based framework. Under this framework, employers in areas experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. DAMAs are designed to ensure employers recruit Australians as a first priority and prioritise initiatives and strategies to facilitate the recruitment and retention of Australian workers.

Further information on the DAMA programme is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Resources developed through the Tourism Employment Plans (TEPs)