Western Australia, the state of which Perth is the capital, is the mining and resources hub of Australia and contributes 46% of the nation’s exports. As such, employment opportunities exist for skilled migrants in both these primary industries and the supporting service industries.

Of course, in order to legally gain employment in Perth you’ll need an appropriate visa. Australian visas are granted by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and different ones may apply to your situation.

Along with visas granted on humanitarian grounds and those designed to reunite Australian citizens with family members, there are several types of visa for skilled workers.

The most reliable route to obtaining a visa to live and work in Perth is through the sponsorship of a Perth based employer.

Employer-sponsored temporary visas

The temporary work (Skilled) visa allows an employer to sponsor an employee to live and work in Australia for up to four years but the company has to prove it cannot find an Australian citizen to do the work. The employee can bring a spouse and dependents.

The company has to become an approved sponsor prior to submitting the application.

Employer-sponsored permanent visas

Employers which are approved sponsors can also sponsor an employee to live and work in Australia permanently. This visa allows the holder and family to access social security and Medicare programs and can lead to citizenship.

It’s also possible to apply to upgrade a temporary employer sponsored visa to a permanent one. This application can be lodged after two years with your employer when they want to make your position permanent.

Regional sponsored visas

There are also regional variants of the above two types of visa where sponsorship comes from a regionally based employer (in this case, one based in Perth).

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SkillSelect visas

What is SkillSelect?

The SkillSelect scheme is a new initiative by the Australian immigration authorities designed to make sure immigrants with the right skills are migrating to the right parts of Australia. Visas obtained through the SkillSelect programme can be temporary or permanent.

How to apply for SkillSelect

You can apply for a visa on the basis of your skills with a nomination from a state or territory or with a sponsorship from a relative in Australia or with neither.

The application is points-based and those applicants with nominations or sponsorships receive more points towards their target.

In order to apply for this scheme you must submit an expression of interest and take the points test. If eligible you will then receive an invitation to apply for a visa for one of West Australia’s skill shortages.

Occupation shortage list

States, territories and employers are able to nominate applicants on the basis of their skills which can help you pass the visa application process if you’re prepared to move to that region. Western Australia has its own list of occupations in demand, which include everything from medical roles to farmwork and community service. It also requires that nominees live and work in the state for two years and bring with them sufficient funds to support themselves for three months.

Sponsorship by a relative in Western Australia can, in the first instance, only lead to provisional visa which lasts for four years and which permits you to live and work only in WA.

Fees and charges

The temporary visas are slightly less expensive, ranging from 175 AUD for short stays to 3,800 AUD for sports and entertainment industry professionals.

You can also apply through your partner, parent or even child, if you are of a certain age and they are an Australian resident.

To find out more about the different working permits you can get to take up work in Perth, read our guide to visas for Australia.