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Think immigration before completing your tender

by | Jun 19, 2023 | Migration

Before submitting a tending for an Australian project it is important to consider immigration requirements so that these costs and timeframes can be built into your finalised tender document. Failing to do so can result in the below negative outcomes:

  • Budget blow out
  • Delays in completing the project
  • Inability to complete the project

The above carry both financial and reputational risk.

Scoping your requirements

When reviewing a tender document we recommend you ask yourself the below questions in order to scope your Australian immigration requirements:

  1. What human resources will I need to complete the project and where will I get these from?
  2. If my human resources will come from overseas:
    1. How long will each person be needed in Australia for?
    2. What is the timeframe to start the project once a contract is signed?

Once you have the answers to these questions you can start to confirm your employees’ visa requirements and cost these into your tender.

Australia visas used in project work

Assuming you answered Yes to Q1 above, most businesses make use of a mixture of three visa types when completing projects in Australia. When each visa is used depends on activities the employee is undertaking in Australia and the length of time they need to be here. Below is an overview of the visas used for projects in Australia.

Visa TypeVisa NameProcessing times to obtainVisa DurationAllowable ActivitiesGovernment application charge (AUD)
Visitor visaETA/ evistior/subclass 600 visa

(country of passport dictates visa applied for)

ETA/evisitor = auto grant within 24 hours


Subclass 600 visa = up to 21 days

12 months from visa grant. Entry of 3 months allowed on any one visitBusiness visitor activities. These include:

– making general business or employment enquiries

–  investigating, negotiating, entering into or review a business contract

–  conducting activities as part of an official government visit

–  taking part in a conference, trade fair or seminar. The organisers can’t pay you to take part


Business visitor activities to do not include:

–  working for or provide services to a business or organisation based in Australia

–  selling goods or services directly to the public


ETA/evisitor = NIL


Subclass 600 visa  = $150

Short-term work visaSubclass 400 visa2 weeksUp to 6 months from date of entry to AustraliaHighly specialised work


Work is limited:

–  To the position described in the application

–  To the company outlined in the application

Long-term work visa+Subclass 482 visa2.5 – 3 months1 – 4 years from visa grant (dependent on occupation stream)Work


Work is limited to:

–  Occupation listed in the application

–  The company outlined in the application.

Business Sponsorship: $420



Nomination: $330

SAF:  $1,200 – $1,800 per year of the visa (dependent on company turnover)


Visa: $1330 – $2770 (occupation dependent)


+ Long-term work visas requires 3 stages

  1. Business sponsorship (done once every 5 years)
  2. Nomination of the visa (done for each employee)
  3. Visa application (done for each employee)

These 3 stages can be completed together.

On overview of when each visa is used

In the pre-engagement / contract review phases of a project the visitor visa is most often used. Business meeting to scope work, negotiating, entering into or reviewing a contract all fall squarely into allowable business visitor activities.

As the above table explains, the long-term work visa (subclass 482) is both costly and takes time to process. It is therefore typically used for staff that will remain in Australia on long-term projects.

For those in the oil and gas/renewable energy markets where short burst project work is common the subclass 400 visa is the preferred option.  A unique feature of this visa is that it allows employees to hold it ‘on reserve.’ In this situation a subclass 400 visa is obtained in expectation of the potential need to come to Australia. This is used often when the project start date is within 2 weeks of contract signature or companies wish to show potential business partners that they have the capacity to undertake project without immigration complications.

How we can help

At Nevett Ford we have significant experience advising businesses pre and post tender on Australian immigration requirements. We work with clients across a wide variety of industries including engineering, oil and gas, renewable energy, aquiculture and agriculture. We know that time of the essence and are able to work quickly to advise and obtain visas for your people.

Our Migration Team can assist you and can be contacted on 03 9614 7111 or emailed at melbourne@nevettford.com.au