Are part-time positions acceptable for the 482 TSS visa?

For the purposes of the TSS 482 visa, the Department of Home Affairs requires for the position to be full time. However the full time requirement may be satisfied in some circumstances even if the position is part time. This provision is intended to facilitate part-time work arrangements for highly skilled overseas workers in niche occupations that would be of benefit to Australia.

Part-time work arrangements can be approved where reasonable and consistent with the Australian workplace relations framework. Such situations could include:

a) fractional appointments of overseas academics to Australian universities – that is, senior academics/leading international academic experts who continue to be primarily employed by their ‘home’ universities overseas, but who undertake fractional appointments to Australian institutions to undertake discrete or project-based activities for a defined period

b) highly specialised medical practitioners (on the Medium and Long Term Skill Shortage List) – that is, locum doctors or medical practitioners working as independent medical practitioners, particularly in rural and regional areas who do not necessarily wish to undertake full-time hours, or who work irregular hours in a working week/month in multiple locations.

c) non-executive directors and senior specialised managers – that is, highly paid board members appointed by Australian-listed companies who are required to regularly attend board meetings in Australia for short periods. They may only work in Australia four or five times a year, rather than a specific number of hours per week.

d) existing 482 TSS visa holders who are temporarily reducing their hours to return to work part-time following a period of parental leave and/or in other circumstances consistent with condition 8607 on their visa.

The TSS 482 visa is designed to enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian. It facilitates targeted use of overseas workers to address temporary skill shortages, while ensuring that Australian workers get priority.

There are three streams available under this visa program:

  • Short-term stream – this stream is for employers to source genuine temporary overseas highly skilled workers to fill short-term positions in a range of occupations for a maximum of two years (or four years if an international trade obligation [ITO] applies);
  • Medium-term stream – this stream is for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills for up to four years, with eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years; or
  • Labour Agreement stream – this is the temporary visa product utilised where an employer has executed a labour agreement with the Commonwealth to source skilled overseas workers, where there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and the standard 482 TSS visa program is not available.

While their visa remains in effect, 482 TSS visa holders:

  • can work in Australia for their approved sponsor in their approved occupation (unless exempt);
  • may bring any eligible dependants with them to Australia — dependants can work and study; and
  • have no limit on the number of times they can travel in and out of Australia while the visa is valid.

Strong worker protection measures are also in place to ensure that overseas skilled workers are afforded the same workplace rights as Australian citizens and permanent residents, (referred to as ‘Australian’ in this document as per Glossary table) and the program is used to meet genuine skill shortages.

Part-time work

The 482 TSS visa program is designed to fill genuine skill shortages in the Australian labour market where appropriately skilled Australians cannot be sourced.

As a result, it is a TSS nomination requirement that the visa holder is employed in a full-time position and under policy, such employment arrangements would generally be expected to continue for the entire period of the 482 TSS visa.

While a 482 TSS visa holder is not considered to have ceased work if they commence part-time work arrangements and hence, would not be considered to be in breach of condition 8607 on this basis alone, sponsors must ensure that they are able to continue to meet their sponsorship obligations where part-time arrangements are put in place for an individual primary visa holder.

For information on how part-time work is considered in the context of sponsorship obligations and the limited circumstances in which such arrangements are considered see: Sponsorship compliance and obligations.

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