Quite a lot if you’re talking about Australian visas (potentially $4,500 in fact). There’s also a fairly big difference if you happen to be 31 years old or older.
A short disclaimer before we start…
This is a pretty big and potentially complicated area, so this article is designed to give you the basic information. For more detailed information on anything visa-related, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website here.
If you’re lucky enough to be 30 years old or younger, you’re likely to be eligible for the 417 Working Holiday Visa. This is the visa used by most people moving from the UK, to gain initial employment in Australia.
As well as being under 31 years old at the time of entering the country, you’ll also need to be in possession of the right passport (check to see if your nationality is eligible for 417 here). It’s important that this is your first WHV.
To get a WHV, you’ll need to be able to prove that you can support yourself (typically having $5k in the bank) – this visa will cost you about $420 and will last a year. You’re not allowed to work for a single employer for more than 6 months during this time.
Employers will normally bring you in on a 417 to cover the probationary period, and then look to move you onto the 457 Employer Sponsored Visa. Doing things this way is safe for both the employer and the employee – sponsoring an employee costs anywhere between $3-5k, so it’s a decent commitment from the employer (and another reason you’ll need to show some commitment yourself).
The 457 can last up to 4 years, but this is subjective to the employer. To be eligible for a 457, you’ll need to hold a relevant degree and have at least two years relevant experience. Without a degree (and often without a relevant degree), you’ll need closer to five years relevant experience. You’ll also need to be offered a position with a salary of $53,900 + super or above. It typically takes 6-8 weeks from application to receive the visa.
The 457 may also allow your partner to work without restriction for the duration of your visa – you don’t need to be married, you just need to prove that you’ve been together for at least a year (this is known as a 457 de facto).
Here’s the tricky bit…
If you’re 31 years old or more, it’s going to be more difficult. Sorry.
You’ll need employer sponsorship from the start, meaning that you’ve got a $3-5k price tag attached before you even leave the starting blocks. Bringing someone on from a 417 visa is a much safer investment – they’re tried and tested before the investment is made. For this reason, it can be pretty difficult to convince employers to commit to sponsoring individuals who do require a 457 from the start, and it tends to be a privilege reserved for more senior candidates.