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The Irish Are Coming!!

Workers from Ireland are coming to Australia even with the improvement in the Irish economy. Irish citizens intending to work, study or set up a business in Australia need to have the right visa to suit their circumstances.

We have set out below some of the common the most common visa types and pathways for Irish students/workers.


Visa application costs range from A$440 for a working holiday visa to $3600 for some of the skilled and investment visas. As visa applications are becoming more and more complex, it is wise to use a Migration for the application process, just make sure they are are registered with the Australian Government (MARA).

Temporary visas

Working Holiday | Subclass 417

This visa allows 18- to 31-year-olds to study, travel and work for up to one year (you can work for just six months with one employer). The visa can be extended by a year by working for three months in a regional or rural area. You cannot bring dependent children on this visa.

Temporary Work Skilled | Subclass 457

The 457 visa entitles you to live in Australia and work for up to four years for an employer who will directly sponsor you. The employer needs to be an Approved Business Sponsor (SBS). You need to have a job offer from an approved employer in Australia to apply, and the employer will have to prove your skills can’t be sourced among Australian citizens or permanent residents in the local area. If you want to change positions your new employer must agree to sponsor you, and if you lose your job you can move to another sponsored employer. Workers can bring partners and children on secondary 457 visas.

Student Visa | Subclass 500

Allows full-time students to work up to 40 hours a fortnight. You may need to show adequate funds to cover school/living expenses before the visa is granted.

Permanent visas

All permanent residence visas allow you and family members who have been granted this visa on the same application to stay in Australia indefinitely. Becoming a permanent resident entitles you to Medicare (Australia’s healthcare scheme), to apply for Australian citizenship if you are eligible, to sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence, and to travel to and from Australia for five years from the date of issue (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia if you leave).

Most long-stay visa schemes are offered under Australia’s skilled migration programme, which is based on the country’s economic needs and skill shortages.

Most permanent residence visas are points-based. Applicants must pass an English test, have a set amount of work experience in an occupation on the consolidated skills shortage list (see below), and meet age requirements for the visa type. All applicants for points-based programmes must submit an online expression of interest through SkillSelect. If the criteria are met, the applicant will be invited to lodge a formal visa application (they will suggest which visa you should apply for). The applicant will be asked if they are willing to live and work in regional Australia. Saying yes increases the chance of approval if employers are experiencing regional skill shortages in certain areas of the country.

The consolidated skills shortage list for all of Australia currently has about 200 occupations listed. Each state or territory has its own separate list with additional occupations in demand, so check both before applying. Note that these lists, as well as the application criteria, change regularly to meet immigration needs. Many skilled workers will need a skills assessment to have their qualifications accredited (assessing authorities are listed on the skills shortage list). The assessment usually costs about A$500.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) | Subclass 187

For workers without employer sponsorship whose occupation is on the skills shortage list for a particular state or territory in regional Australia (which excludes the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong or Melbourne). It is a permanent residence visa designed to encourage skilled workers to move to regional areas. Applicants must be under 50 years of age.

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) | Subclass 186

Allows employers to sponsor highly skilled workers for permanent residency. You must be under 50 years of age.

General Skilled Migration programme: Workers whose occupation is on one of the skills shortage lists but don’t have an employer to sponsor them need to submit an expression of interest and then be invited through SkillSelect to apply. If a territory or government agency decides to nominate you after receiving your expression of interest, you will be invited to apply for a Skilled Nominated Visa (190).

Skilled Independent | Subclass 189

If your occupation is not on the state list for the place you want to move to, but is on the national list, you can apply for a this visa. With SkillSelect you receive an invitation to apply for a visa if you meet the points test.


If you have permanent residence and are considered “of good character”, you are entitled to apply for Australian citizenship. This will give you the right to vote, to apply to work in the public service or defence forces, to seek election to parliament, to apply for a passport and to travel freely to and from Australia, to receive help from Australia while overseas if needed, and to register children born overseas as Australian citizens by descent. Citizenship ceremonies are held regularly around the country, with Australia Day and St Patrick’s Day the most popular dates for Irish applicants.

There is no doubt the Irish still love coming to Australia for work opportunities; many trades are in short supply. Service and hospitality industries are also crying out for experienceced staff. With no downsurn in sight; DownUnder is the place to be.

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