Sydney

Australian visas- Sponsorship vs Independent visas

Author
Monet Hawkins

At Smart Teachers Australia, we are starting to see a trend where Australian schools are considering sponsoring overseas teachers, and we couldn't be more thrilled to open our doors to more migrants seeking a new adventure!

Monet, our International Resourcer at Smart Teachers London, answers the most frequently asked questions on Australian independent visas and Australian sponsorship visas. 

This information below is valid as of June 2019.  For official visa information, please head to the Australian border website. 

Would a school provide a visa alongside a job offer?

They are starting to! This is called sponsorship (TSS visa).  It is more common in international schools in non-English speaking countries, but Smart Teachers can definitley keep a look out for opportunities for anyone seeking sponsorship.  

Note that Australian schools will not offer relocation packages on top of sponsorship (e.g no flight included, no accommodation etc..) These are common incentives attached to job roles in international schools in Non-English speaking countries.   

What is a sponsorship TSS visa?

A sponsorship visa is a visa that relies on a job offer to secure.  For official information on the TSS visa, head here.  Another name for this visa is the 482 visa.

The advantages of this visa include:

  • It's a bit cheaper than an independent visa.
  • It can process faster than an independent visa.
  • You can bring your family over on this visa.
  • It's valid for four years with a renewal period at the two year mark.

The disadvantages of this visa include:

  • You might be waiting a while for a sponsorship opportunity to present itself.
  • You still have to pay for this visa.
  • You must have a few years teaching experience minimum, and the 2 years must have been obtained AFTER you qualified.
  • You need to be flexible on location as sponsorship is more common in regional Australia.
  • If you leave the job, the visa is no longer valid.
  • This visa does NOT lead to permanent residency in Australia so if you wanted to stay in Australia, you would need to apply for an independent visa.

What is an independent visa?

It is the opposite to a sponsored visa.  An independent visa is a visa that does not rely on a job offer to secure.  This is path most teachers we speak to tend to take.

What are the advantages of securing an independent visa?

  • Many of the independent visas are permanent residency visas that can lead to Australian citizenship.
  • You aren't attached to a job with an independent visa.
  • You have flexibility on when you want to start a job/what location you want to work.
  • You can bring your family over on this visa (not applicable to the Working Holiday visa)
  • More job options.  It's much cheaper for a school to hire a teacher holding an independent visa than a teacher seeking sponsorship. 

What are the disadvantages of the independent visas?

  • It can be expensive.
  • It usually takes 10-12 months to process, unless it's the Working Holiday Visa.  The Working Holiday takes roughly a fortnight.

The most common independent visas for UK teachers migrating to Australia are: 

How do I know if I am eligible for an independent visa?

For the Working Holiday visa, you just need to be under 31 (or 35 for some countries) and meet some other very basic criteria.  It will only take roughly two weeks to obtain this visa.

If you can't get the Working Holiday visa, you'll be waiting much longer (10 to 12 months) and you'll need to have a visa assessment with a migration consultant.  Eligibility is determined by a 'points' system. For example, your age will give you a certain amount of points, your work experience, your qualifications etc. Contact Jenny at the Down Under Centre for a free visa assessment to work out your options. 

Is there an age limit for independent visas?

Yes. The age limit is 45.  If you are over 45, you can only look at the sponsorship TSS visa. 

    Why would a teacher opt for an independent visa over a sponsored visa?

    A few reasons:

    • The teacher wants to temporarily or permanently live in Australia.
    • The teacher wants to move to a specific area of Australia.
    • The teacher wants more flexibility on starting dates and locations.

    Why would a teacher opt for a sponsorship visa over a independent visa?

    A few reasons:

    • The teacher wants to temporarily live in Australia. 
    • The teacher is over 45 and is not eligible for a independent visa.
    • The teacher is under 45 but finding it hard to meet independent visa eligibility.
    • The teacher is flexible on starting dates and happy to work in regional Australia. 

    Can I apply for jobs without having a visa?

    If you see a vacancy that is of interest, chances are that we have indicated on the ad that the recruiting school is only looking to shortlist teachers who hold the working rights through an independent visa or Aussie citizenship.

    If you are seeking sponsorship, please let us know.  Please send your email to monet.hawkins@smartteachers.co.uk and indicate you are seeking sponsorship for Australia.  

    Any final thoughts?

    If you are not eligible for an independent visa, don't lose hope! Your spouse could be- only one family member needs to be eligible for an independent visa, or sponsorship visa for the whole family to migrate (not applicable to the Working Holiday visa)

    Visas change every year and we are expecting a few positive changes to the point system in November.  If Australia is your dream, then you might have to accept there might be some waiting around, but as an Aussie and a former teacher myself, I can tell you that it is worth the wait!

    Whats the market like? What qualifications do I need to teach in Australia? Check out our other FAQ to find these answers!

    Come meet us at our Aussie migration events! We appear regularly on webinars, seminars, and expos. 

    Want to talk to Monet directly? Email monet.hawkins@smartteachers.co.uk or call the London office on 0207 065 7505