Assessing Travel and Visa Obligations in Australia

When traveling to Australia, your nationality, and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require a work visa. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for Business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Australia, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Make general business or employment inquiries
  • Investigate, negotiate, enter into, or review a business contract
  • Participate in a conference, trade fair, or seminar (unless paid for participation)


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Australia?

All foreign nationals are required to obtain the appropriate category of Business Visa in order to conduct ordinary business activities in Australia.

Nationals of New Zealand are eligible to obtain a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa on arrival.

Depending on nationality, other business visitors may apply for a Visitor (Subclass 600) Visa, Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (Subclass 601) Visa, or eVisitor (Subclass 651) Visa before traveling to Australia. Please consult with your immigration counsel prior to travel to determine the appropriate category for your nationality.

Working in Australia

What types of activities require a work visa?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Australian law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Australia, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Facility tours
  • Performing audits
  • Hands-on technical work
  • Activities involving the sale of goods or services directly to the general public


If I am traveling to Australia for work, what type of work visa do I need?

The requirements for a work visa depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Australia. The most common work visas for Australia are:

  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (Subclass 400) Visa (short-term work authorization for highly specialized local hires or assignees).
  • Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (Subclass 482) Visa (sponsored long-term work authorization for highly qualified local hires or assignees).
  • Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa (long-term work authorization for graduates of Australian universities).


Is it possible to be exempted from work visa requirements?

While all nationalities are required to obtain a visa to enter Australia, New Zealand nationals are eligible for a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa upon arrival, which permits holders to work, study, and stay in Australia for an indefinite period of time.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.