TSS Process – How Temporary Skill Shortage Visa Works

The TSS visa program is designed to enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled overseas workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian. It facilitates targeted use of overseas workers to address temporary skill shortages, while ensuring that Australian workers are prioritised.

To obtain a TSS visa, three approvals are required.


Employer applies for approval as a Standard Business Sponsor.

  • Alternatively, Labour Agreements are available where concessions are warranted (see Labor Agreement infographic)
  • Accredited Sponsorship is also available, for priority processing of nomination and visa applications (see Accredited Sponsorship infographic)

Applicant must:

  1. Demonstrate active and lawful operation of a business (eg provide ABN/ARBN, financial statements, tax returns, business plan, lease, bank statements, letter from accountant etc);
  2. Have a strong record of/commitment to employing local labour
  3. Not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices
  4. Have no adverse information about the business or its officers
  5. Not seek to recover application costs from the nominated employee

Duration: 5 years


Employer nominates an occupation, in relation to a prospective or existing TSS visa holder, required by the business.

The Nomination is made in one of three streams:

  1. Short-term stream – for occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)  for up to two years (or up to four years if an international trade obligation applies), and one renewal onshore;
  2. Medium-term stream – for occupations on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to four years, with indefinite subsequent renewals and eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years; or
  3. Labour Agreement stream – where concessions are required from the regular requirements, based on a demonstrated need

Applicant must:

1. Identify the Nominee;
2. Specify the occupation;
3. Provide the location of the position;
4. Specify the proposed period of stay;
5. Certify they have not asked for, or received, any benefit to initiate a sponsorship-related event;
6. Not be the subject of adverse information, whether regarding the business or its associates
7. Nominate a position that is full-time
8. Nominate a position that is genuine (see Genuineness Infographic)
9. If in the short or medium term streams, certify that the employment contract complies with Australian laws; that the nominated position includes a significant majority of the tasks of the nominated occupation; that the nominee has qualifications and skills commensurate with the nominated occupation
10. Meet training obligations (contribution to Skilling Australians Fund)
11. If a Standard Business Sponsor, the business must:

  • Engage the Nominee as an employee or potentially (if an Australian Sponsor) employee of an associated entity, under a written contract of employment (unless exempt);
  • Meet minimum salary requirements ie no less than market rates and $53,900
  • Satisfy Immigration that employment conditions for the nominee are no less favourable than those that apply, or would apply, to an Australian performing equivalent work at the same location, or it is reasonable to disregard that information (eg evidence of payment to equivalent workers, or otherwise job ads and salary surveys)
  • Not have engaged in discriminatory recruitment practices
  • Undertake labour market testing (eg advertising) in relation to the nominated occupation unless inconsistent with international trade obligations

12. If in the Labour Agreement stream, be consistent with its terms


The person nominated to work in the nominated position applies for a TSS visa.

1. Applicant may be onshore or offshore, but must be offshore if have held more than one TSS visa in the short-term stream and last one was applied for onshore
2. Must hold a substantive visa or BVA, BVB or BVC
3. Must have complied substantially with the conditions that apply/applied to the last of any substantive visa they hold/held, and any subsequent bridging visa
4. The Nomination identified in the visa application must have been approved and not ceased
5. Case officer must be satisfied the position associated with the nominated occupation is genuine and the visa applicant’s intention to perform the occupation is genuine
6. Case officer must be satisfied that the visa applicant has appropriate ‘skills, qualifications and employment background’ (refer to ANZSCO). Some occupations/countries may also require skills assessments
7. Applicant must declare they have not engaged in “pay for visa” misconduct
8. Applicant must have adequate health insurance
9. Applicant must have 2 years of relevant post-qualification experience
10. Case officer must be satisfied that applicants in the short-term stream intend to stay only temporarily (eg have they held more than 2 TSS visas in last 5 years? Have they been in Australia for over 4 years?) unless inconsistent with an international trade obligation
11. Applicant must meet English requirements (subject to exemptions):

  • Short term stream: overall IELTS test score of at least 5.0 with no singlecomponent below 4.5 (or equivalent in other test)
  • Medium/long term stream: overall IELTS test score of at least 5.0 with no single component below 5 (or equivalent in other test)

12. No adverse information against Sponsor, or reasonable to disregard
13. Applicant to work directly for Sponsor or an associated entity
14. Various additional criteria including applicant must be of good character and in good health