Business trip to Australia: Do I need a work visa?

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Date: 4 January 2022

A combine harvester on an Australian farm

The Australian market offers interesting opportunities for companies in the agricultural (technology) sector. If you are looking to expand your agricultural business overseas or source overseas suppliers, Australia could be the market for you.

Agricultural sector in Australia

Australia is the second largest agricultural area in the world. There are approximately 85 thousand farms in the country, which together occupy more than 372 million hectares of land for agricultural production. These agricultural farms therefore occupy 48% of Australia's surface area. In 2019, the total turnover of the agricultural industry was about AUD 282.2 billion. Thanks to the variety of climates in Australia, there is a huge diversity of products. The most important of these are livestock, meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Opportunities for foreign investors

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) aims to grow the Australian agricultural industry by AUD 100 billion by 2030. This opens up opportunities for companies supplying agricultural machinery, processing technology, water management technology or alternative energy. Of course, making an informed purchasing decision or agreeing terms of trade is likely to require multiple business trips to Australia.

Business trip to Australia: do I need a work visa or not?

Contrary to popular belief, a work visa is not always required for a business trip to Australia. In most cases, you can simply travel with the cheaper and easier to get eVisitor visa (Subclass 651), which you can apply for online. Among other things allowed on an eVisitor Australia visa are attending a trade show/seminar/conference, attending meetings, negotiating and signing business agreements and attending a course or training (except medical studies).

Selling services or products to companies or organisations is also allowed with an eVisitor visa. However, you are not allowed to sell these services or products to consumers in Australia, or to provide services to businesses if you only hold an eVisitor visa.

You need a special work visa to be able to carry out these activities in Australia. Also, with an eVisitor visa, you are not allowed to be employed by an Australian employer and you and your employer are not allowed to receive any fee, salary or other type of payment from an Australian company/consumer for your work.

Australia eVisitor Visa

The eVisitor visa for Australia is valid for one full year from the moment it is granted. During this twelve-month period, you may travel to Australia on business an unlimited number of times, as long as each stay does not last more than three months. It is important to keep in mind that the validity of the eVisitor visa Australia expires earlier if the passport with which you submitted the application also expires earlier. This is because these are linked electronically. If you acquire a new passport, you will also have to apply for a new visa to go on a business trip to Australia again.

One benefit of travelling on an eVisitor visa instead of a work visa is that it also allows you to enjoy some nice leisure time. Since you’re allowed to stay in Australia for up to 3 months at a time, you can plan your business trip with a holiday if you so wish, since both are permitted with this Australia visa.

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