Supporting the WA workforce

As an employer, are you seeking to build and retain a skilled workforce to help reach your business goals?

Skilled migration is a fantastic option to build your workforce, for now and into the future.

Here we have compiled some information to help local employers in Western Australia find out which visa pathways they can support, and provided some helpful hints on how to attract skilled overseas workers.

WA Migration Services

Connect with talent

The new Skilled Migrant Employment Register is a free initiative that can link employers with job opportunities and skilled migrants who have indicated they are seeking employment, to build WA's workforce.

Construction Migration Office

The State Government has announced a range of new initiatives to build a skilled workforce for Western Australia's in-demand building and construction industry.

We know that navigating Australia’s skilled migration system can be complex and expensive, so we’ve created the Construction Migration Office to help guide you through our services.

Support for employers

The Jobs and Skills WA website offers useful information, templates, links and resources for employers, businesses and industry around key areas such as workforce planning, recruitment, training and retention as well as financial support and incentives that are available.

What visas can I support?

Depending on your requirements, you may be able to sponsor workers on either a temporary visa or a permanent visa. 

Employer nomination scheme (subclass 186)
This visa allows employers to nominate skilled workers for a permanent residence visa. You must be able to offer a position that is full time and ongoing for at least two years. 

Visit the Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab) for more information.

The following temporary visas may be an option to meet your business needs.

Skilled employer sponsored regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
WA Migration Services is a regional certifying body for this visa. Visit our Certification of regional visas section for further information.

Temporary skill shortage visa (subclass 482)
This visa allows employees to work in Australia temporarily. They may also be able to bring in eligible family members. Visit the Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab) for more information.

Labour agreements are formal arrangements between an employer and the Australian Government which allow for the recruitment of an agreed number of overseas skilled workers.

This program allows you to employ overseas workers on temporary or permanent visas. 

Visit the Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab) for more information.

Eligibility requirements and criteria differ widely from visa to visa, but generally the applicant worker must have:

  • proficiency in the English language;
  • good health and good character;
  • their skills assessed or already possess relevant qualifications to the position; and
  • meet any age restrictions.

Check the Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab) to find out:

  • how each visa works;
  • eligibility requirements;
  • your obligations and the worker's obligations; and
  • how to apply. 

Information and assistance

The visa finder on the Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab) shows a range of visas which may be available to your potential worker.

Talking to a migration agent could also be helpful.

Finding workers to fill your vacancies

Employing workers from overseas or attracting expatriates back to WA may be the best answer to filling skilled job vacancies in your business.

Here are some tips to boost your recruitment process. You could also browse through the For employers section of the Jobs and Skills WA website(opens in a new tab), for information and resources on developing your workforce.

It is important to do your research. Here are some questions for you to think about.

  • Is the job that you want to advertise globally recognised by the same name?
  • Are similar qualifications required?
  • Which countries have the best qualified people for your industry/job vacancy?
  • Does your website (if you have one) have a section for recruitment? If so, do you make it clear that applications are welcome from potential migrants?
  • Have you prepared a comprehensive job description?

Depending on which visa program is suitable for your requirements, you can start the process before you find your worker.

You can find a brief overview of the various employer sponsored visa programs on the What visas can I support section above.

For more comprehensive information on Australian immigration, visit the ​Department of Home Affairs website.(opens in a new tab)  

It can be a little daunting to go through the process of attracting and hiring an overseas worker, but there are groups and organisations that can help you along the way. Some organisations can help you with very specific things and others can take the whole process out of your hands by:

  • ​​​​​​promoting your business and vacancies in appropriate markets or countries;
  • finding and assessing suitable candidates;
  • assessing those candidates for migration to Australia;
  • handling the immigration process for both you and your worker/s; and
  • providing settlement services for your new employee and their family.

Such organisations are usually large migration agencies with recruitment and settlement services attached.

If you decide to use a migration agency to assist you in your search, you must use a company that is registered with the Department of Home Affairs Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). You can search for registered agents, on the MARA website(opens in a new tab).

Local support
Small Business Development Corporation(opens in a new tab) is a WA Government funded organisation that can advise you on various aspects of employing overseas workers including:

  • finding and recruiting candidates; and
  • your obligations as an employer.

If you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, you may also be able to get migration services assistance. There are industry outreach officers, and regional outreach officers, who specialise in the skilled migration of people with employers. They are available to help with your queries. Visit the Chamber of Commerce and Industry website(opens in a new tab) for more information. 

Your local industry training council(opens in a new tab) or other industry group may also be able to advise you with certain aspects of recruiting from overseas. 

Regional Development Commissions may also be able to provide some assistance and guidance — browse the list on in a new tab) to find yours. 

Recruiting from overseas is not the only way that you might be able to fill your vacancies.

WA is a great place to live and work, and advertising your vacancies interstate may be a good way to attract people from elsewhere in Australia. 

Social media
Finding your ideal candidate doesn’t have to be limited to advertising on recruitment sites. The power of social networking has impacted greatly on the business world in the last few years. Once you are ‘out there’, you have the potential to connect directly with your new workforce. 

​There is a huge amount of information, advice and tips for businesses on the internet on how and why you should use social media. Take the time to read through some of this information and get your business and your job requirements noticed worldwide.

Printed media
Advertising in industry journals and magazines is a great way to get exposure to candidates likely to suit your position. This can be a little more costly, but is a more targeted way to find the best candidates.

National newspapers usually have a dedicated employment and careers section on a particular day. The advertising section of the newspaper in your targeted country will be able to help you place your advertisement in the right place.

Throughout the year various organisations such as government agencies, recruitment agencies, migration specialists and industry related bodies hold expos in different countries for the purpose of attracting people to Australia. You can get your business and your vacancies promoted at an expo without having to attend yourself. You can find out about future expos by visiting the Department of Home Affairs website(opens in a new tab), contacting the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry(opens in a new tab), or searching for migration expos on the internet. 

Recruitment websites
Advertising your vacancy on a recruitment website is probably the easiest and most efficient way of getting your job requirements to those looking for work. Using an Australian website is fine, as it is likely that people already interested in moving to Australia will already be searching Australian websites. 

Most recruitment websites have useful tips and advice for attracting and hiring employees.

Recruiting directly in overseas markets is also a way to attract people who may not have yet thought about moving to Australia. An internet search for ‘recruitment websites’ in your target country will show you the most popular sites.

WA Migration Services

To find out more about employer sponsored migration options or how to lodge an employer nomination or visa application, contact the Department of Home Affairs on 131 881 or visit their website(opens in a new tab).​

The bigger picture 

Finding your potential overseas worker and navigating the visa process is not the end of the story. Research shows that the move to Australia is not just about the job but a whole range of factors.

  • Your company is probably very different from anything they may have experienced before. A proper and well-planned induction is a must.
  • The rest of the family will need a visa to migrate. Will you be able to help them with this?
  • To help your worker and their family settle into a new environment, a mentor or buddy can be really useful to make sure that the transition is smooth.
  • Can you provide assistance in finding accommodation and schools?
  • Find out some personal information about your worker and their family. What sports or other social groups are they interested in? Are they interested in theatre, music, comedy, travelling, dining out?
  • Are your current employees ‘on board’ in relation to the employment of overseas workers? Do they know what to expect? Are they ready to provide support and assistance?
  • Are your human resources processes in order? Do you need to change your processes to accommodate a worker from overseas?
  • Provide a ‘Welcome to WA’ pack for your new worker. This could include things like:
    • ​​​​public transport maps and timetables;
    • information about services and facilities in both the area they will live and work (banks, schools, medical centres, cinemas, shopping centres etc);
    • a list of public holidays in WA;
    • information about setting things up (bank accounts, tax file numbers, Medicare, driving licences etc); and
    • a list of links to useful websites (local news, entertainment sites, sporting groups etc).