restaurant sponsorship visa

Are you thinking about how to attract foreign workers at your restaurant? 

Since COVID-19 pandemic, border closures and flight disruptions has hugely contributed to the shortage of skilled restaurant staff in Australia. One of the solutions is to offer a sponsorship visa to valuable restaurant staff. 

Summary of sponsorship visas available 

  • Training visa (subclass 407)
  • Temporary Skills Shortage visa (subclass 482) 
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) 

Not all occupations/positions can be sponsored. Generally, a restaurant are limited to sponsoring skilled positions such as Chef, Cook and Restaurant Manager. 

However, there is special program called the Labour Agreement which offers additional sponsorship benefits which can help attract valuable workers. 

Those benefits include but are not limited to: 

  • ability to sponsor trade waiters; 
  • offering pathway to permanent residency to cook and restaurant managers who are not eligible for permanent residency under the standard pathway; 
  •  a 4 year work visa is available; 
  • slightly reduced English language competency.

The labour agreement pathway is available for the subclass 482, subclass 186 and subclass 494 visa. 

For a better comparison, we prepared a summary table for the different characteristics of the standard pathway and the labour agreement pathway of sponsorship visas. 

Standard Pathway vs Labour Agreement Pathway

Key CharacteristicStandard PathwayLabour Agreement Pathway 
Occupations that can be sponsored
  • Chef 
  • Cook 
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Chef 
  • Cook 
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Trade Waiters
Visa Length 

Other than Chef, all others are only available for up to 2 years.

Chef is available for up to 4 years. 

All available for up to 4 years. 

Eligible for PR?

Chef Only

All occupations eligible for PR 

English Language Requirement


  • Overall band score of at least IELTS 5.0 with a score of at least IELTS 5.0 in each of the test components (or other equivalent test) 

Cook, Restaurant Manager

  • Overall band score of at least IELTS 5.0 with a score of at least IELTS 4.5 in each of the test components (or other equivalent test) 

All occupations 

  • Overall band score of at least IELTS 5.0 with a score of at least IELTS 4.5 in listening and speaking, and no less than IELTS 4.0 for reading and writing components (or other equivalent test) 
(for subclass 186 and 494 only) 

Must be under 45

Must be under 55

The labour agreement is a special agreement between your restaurant and The Australian Government. Previously, only fine dining establishments were eligible to access the labour agreement. Changes were made recently to provide access for ‘premium dining’ establishments. 

Such changes are expected to ease the shortages experiences across Australia in the hospitality industry. 

Click here to book in a consultation with one of our lawyers today to find out more and see if your restaurant is eligible to sponsor visas. We can also help you tailor a plan that suits your hiring needs: BOOK A CONSULTATION 

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