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Employing Overseas Vets & Vet Nurses – May 2021 Update

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There’s been significant media interest in workplace shortages in the veterinary profession in Australia recently, and the AVA held a well attended virtual forum on the problems facing the profession on 6th May. That forum and chatroom was recorded and is being compiled in order to be published soon on

One important development is that the occupation of Veterinarian has been added to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) as of 11th May 2021.
Information below has been sourced from the Department of Home Affairs website in May 2021.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies 19 occupations which fill critical skills needs to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The list is temporary and priority occupations may change as Australia recovers from the pandemic.

Employer sponsored nomination and visa applications with an occupation on the PMSOL will be given priority processing.  All other skilled occupation lists will remain active, but the PMSOL occupations will take priority.

Priority processing for PMSOL occupations applies to these visa subclasses:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)​
    • See extra information below
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
    • Regional areas – all areas of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
    • Length of stay – up to 5 years
    • Under 45 years of age (some exemptions exist)
    • 3 years’ experience
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)​
    • This is a permanent visa
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)
    • This is a permanent visa, for workers transitioning from a 457 or 482 visa & continuing to work for their sponsoring employer

Addition of Vets to the PMSOL means that vets who will have Employer Sponsored nomination as above can now also apply for a Travel Exemption in order to enter Australia while the Borders are controlled due to COVID. Without evidence of a travel exemption it is not permitted to board a flight to Australia. However, flight numbers into Australia are still strictly controlled and it can be difficult to secure a seat on a flight. Quarantine requirements still apply to all travellers even with travel exemptions. A valid Visa must be held in order to travel, but an applicant doesn’t need to hold a visa at the time of applying for the travel exemption.

Employers – Standard Business Sponsor

Before an employer is able to nominate a vet to sponsor in the TSS 482 or Regional 494 visa categories, they must be, or have applied to become a standard business sponsor. Once approved, this status lasts for 5 years.  ( Further eligibility requirements exist in order to be an Accredited sponsor, including NOT being a sole trader or partnership ). As of 13th May 2021 this is the direct link for information on the procedure:

Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)

The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa was replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) in March 2018

TSS visa holders can work in Australia in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor under one of three streams:

Short-term stream

  • Length of stay – up to 2 years
  • Vet Nurses are currently on the Short term Skilled Occupation list (STSOL)
  • Requirements for eligibility include English language requirements, skills assessments (by VETASSESS for VNs), nomination by an employer, health and character requirements.
  • Must have worked in the nominated occupation, or a related field, for at least two years
  • There is no age requirement

Medium-term stream

  • Length of stay – up to 4 years
  • Vets are currently on the Medium term Skilled Occupation list (MLTSSL)
  • Requirements for eligibility include English language requirements, skills assessments (by AVBC for Vets), nomination by an employer, health and character requirements.
  • Must have worked in the nominated occupation, or a related field, for at least two years
  • There is no age requirement

Labour Agreement stream

  • This stream is available if your employer wishes to sponsor you (as an overseas worker) and has entered into a labour agreement with the Department

Application for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) involves a three-step process:

Step 1: a sponsorship application by the employer

Step 2: a nomination application for a skilled position by the employer

Step 3: a visa application by the proposed employee

Labour Market Testing requirement –  Subclass 482 (TSS) and Subclass 494 (Regional)

For a nomination to be approved, the Department must be satisfied that a suitable qualified and experienced Australian worker is not available to fill the nominated position.

For most nominations, advertising must be done within the 4 months immediately before lodging a nomination application. Advertising must meet all of the below (further requirements may apply – please see for up to date information – the direct link is currently  as of February 2021):

  • the nominated position has been advertised in Australia
  • the advertisement was in English and included the following information:
    • the title, or a description, of the position
    • the name of the approved sponsor or the name of the recruitment agency being used by the sponsor and
    • the annual earnings for the position ( unless the annual earnings will be greater than $96,400 ) It is acceptable to publish a salary range.
  • at least two advertisements were published:
    • on a national recruitment website. Note: a general classifieds website is not an acceptable method
    • in national print media
    • on national radio or
    • if the sponsor is accredited – on the business’ website.
    • advertisements, including on websites, are expected to have run for at least 4 weeks

Kookaburra Veterinary Employment can supply a statement on request with information regarding your job advert, the period that it was listed, and the total cost of advertising.

Additional Requirements for nominations lodged on or after 1 October 2020

In September 2020, the Australian Government introduced new labour market testing measures for employer sponsored applications. 

In addition to the 2 advertisements mentioned above:

  • the nominated position must be advertised on the Government’s jobactive website ( )
  • the jobactive advertisement must have included all of the information required to be included in the other 2 advertisements mentioned above
  • jobactive advertisements are expected to have run for at least 4 weeks
  • applications or expressions of interest for the advertised position must have been accepted for at least 4 weeks

Note: advertising may have been undertaken by a third party if authorised to do so by the sponsor (for example, an associated entity or a contracted party, such as a recruitment agency) – there is no requirement that the sponsor placed the advertisement themselves

Evidence of a total of 3 advertisements, including an advertisement published on the Government’s jobactive website, must be provided at the time the nomination is lodged.

Meeting TSMIT requirements

Both the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) for the nominated occupation and the guaranteed annual earnings that will be paid to the nominated overseas worker, excluding any non-monetary benefits (for example, accommodation or car provided to them as part of their salary package), must not be less than the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold).

TSMIT is currently AUD 53,900 as specified in the relevant legislative instrument (April 2018)

The requirements and process for visa application can be very complicated and there are more conditions than are listed in this article – you can find more information at


Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

13/05/2021 |
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