‘Talent crunch’, ‘brain drain’, ‘war on talent’ – there are many terms being used to describe how technological shifts in the workforce are creating unprecedented demand for new skills. Finding the right talent for existing and especially emerging jobs is a huge priority for Australian organisations and agencies in the current climate of industry 4.0. With demand outstripping supply – particularly for digital skills – organisations need to consider recruitment beyond domestic borders to mobilise the talent they need to prosper both now and into the future.

The 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey revealed that 61% of organisations reported that finding qualified, experienced hires was the biggest challenge in the talent acquisition process. As such, sourcing talent from overseas when it’s not available in Australia is a natural step that businesses can take in reclaiming talent. Government policy is increasingly acknowledging the role skilled migrants play in the growth of Australia’s economy, and access to skilled workers is easier than you may think. Let’s recap your options within Australia’s current migration framework so you can better understand the benefits of acquiring talent through skilled migration.


400 Visas

400 Visas issued by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) are an excellent option for fast, short-term workforce requirements. Ideal for project work, the key benefits are that they are inexpensive, offer speedy approvals and don’t require your business to obtain a business sponsorship. The provision of a 400 Visa to an eligible candidate will allow for a maximum of 6 months of work.

Processing times by DOHA are quicker than you might expect. Here are their benchmarks:

  • 75% of applications processed in 14 days
  • 90% of applications processed in 21 days

400 Visas are intended as a short-term solution, however in the event that your workforce needs change and you would like to retain them for longer, remember that a worker can begin work on this Visa in the nominated position and apply to transition to a 482 Visa.


482 Visas

TSS 482 Temporary Visas are an option for organisations that hold a standard business sponsorship (SBS) and are looking to hire from the eligible skilled professions list. This list is split between two categories, with occupations on the STSOL (Short-Term Skilled Occupation List) eligible for a two-year 482 Visa and occupations on the MLTSSL (Medium and Long Term Skilled Occupation List) eligible for a four-year 482 Visa. It permits the worker to live in Australia on the basis that they are working full-time for their sponsoring employer in the same nominated position.

There is an extensive range of occupations on the Skilled Occupations/ ANZSCO list, making skilled migration an accessible option for many industries. Obtaining your own standard business sponsorship has never been easier and processing times have improved over recent times.

Furthermore, when engaging someone whose occupation is on the MLTSSL, you can provide a seamless transition to Permanent Residency (PR) via the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream pathway. This then acts as a retention lever for organisations as the individual needs to work for their sponsor for three continuous years.


482 Visa via an On-Hire Labour Agreement (OHLA)

Securing a worker on a 482 Visa requires a business sponsorship, and for organisations without one, it may appear like a dead-end. Fortunately, there is another way for organisations to recruit overseas workers on a 482 visa. Entity Solutions is one of few businesses with approval from the Australian government to act as an official sponsor and on-hire the employment of skilled overseas workers to an organisation under the 482 Visa program. We employ the overseas worker on your behalf, and you can offload the compliance obligations and employment risk to us.

In a nutshell, we engage them as contractors but you treat them as regular employees without any disruption to the employee experience. This method provides businesses a hassle-free way to engage global talent by taking advantage of our capacity and experience in fulfilling sponsorship obligations. Furthermore, we manage the entire process – one manager for successful connection of a candidate to a project.


Global Talent – Employer Sponsored (GTES)

The ‘Global Talent – Employer Sponsored’ is a scheme under the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa program. Formerly named the ‘Global Talent Scheme (GTES)’, it was launched as a 12 month pilot on 1 July 2018 to cater for niche, tech-based roles that do not fit the skilled Occupation list. The pilot has since been extended until further notice, with the government intending to refine the scheme in consultation with industry to ensure it achieves its purpose. As such, there is a continuing scope with this visa option and we should see greater uptake.

The significance of this program is its mobilisation of tech talent and impact striking a better balance in Australia’s talent investment – both in the short to long term. It is comprised of 2 qualifying streams – Established business and Startups. The visa is valid for up to 4 years and allows access to a permanent residence pathway which is not normally available to the candidate on a standard 482 Visa.

In evaluating the role of skilled migration in satisfying tech talent needs, a 2018 study revealed that almost eight in 10 (78%) CIOs/CTOs agree contract assignments provide an immediate solution to Australia’s IT skills shortage[i]. Plenty has been written about the ICT skills shortage in Australia and it really cannot be understated. Here are some sobering statistics that point to the value of skilled migration in mobilising resources and addressing Australia’s brain drain:

  • The demand for ICT workers is expected to grow by 100,000 between now and 2023[ii]
  • Currently there are still less than 5000 local graduates from ICT degrees each year[iii]
  • It’s been revealed that Australia had a shortfall of 2,300 cyber security workers in 2018 and projected almost 18,000 new workers would be required by 2026[iv]
  • Australia is already falling behind the global leaders such as the US, the UK, and Singapore, ranking 7th out of 16 countries in terms of national digital performance[v]


 Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA)

A DAMA allows employers in a defined geographic region to sponsor overseas workers in a broader range of occupations than are available through the standard skilled migration program. DAMAs are granted for 5 years. There are currently seven DAMAs in place, which apply to the following regions: Northern Territory, South Australia (Adelaide City and Regional SA), Orana (New South Wales), the Goldfields (Western Australia), Great South Coast (Victoria) and Far North Queensland.

  • Allows employers streamlined access to a broader range of overseas workers than available through the standard subclass 482 visa program
  • Retention incentive such as pathways to permanent residency for DAMA visa holders (including transitional arrangements for existing visa holders
  • One overarching agreement means streamlining the hiring process and cutting down on individual employer visa worker hiring costs
  • Supplement the workforce strategies of states, territories and regions, to support economic performance and help them adjust to economic change



The reality is that Australia needs to better harness overseas talent in order to remain competitive. We’ve found that the reluctance to source abroad is more often than not related to the perceived complexity of engaging these workers. Hopefully this article has served to dispel some of the confusion surrounding talent acquisition via skilled migration and demonstrated that it is well within your organisation’s grasp. Whether skilled migration is already a part of your talent sourcing strategy or you are yet to harness its potential in filling gaps in your talent pool, we welcome you to get in touch for a no-obligation discussion.


[i] https://www.roberthalf.com.au/press/it-employers-praise-global-talent-scheme-address-australias-it-skills-shortage

[ii] https://www.brennanit.com.au/australias-it-skills-shortage-is-getting-worse-not-better/

[iii] https://www.afr.com/technology/acs-digital-pulse-australia-needs-200000-more-tech-workers-in-five-years-20180627-h11x07

[iv] https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australian-cyber-sector-sacrificed-400m-in-revenue-last-year-from-workforce-shortfall-516177

[v] As above