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Visas for ministers of religion

ministers of religion application visa australia work skilled sponsored jobs

There is only one pathway now for Ministers of religion from overseas to work in Australia. This is different to a Religious Worker Temporary Activity visa.

Religious organisations have to have in place a Labour Agreement before they can sponsor someone. The pathway allows the Minister of Religion to obtain a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) for a period of up to 4 years.

After a period of 2 years a worker can apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) which is a permanent visa.

Religious originations must satisfy the legal obligations that:

  • the activities reflect that it is a body instituted for the promotion of a religious object
  • the beliefs and practices of the members of which constitute a religion due to those members:
    • believing in a supernatural being, thing or principle
    • accepting the canons of conduct that give effect to that belief, but that do not offend against the ordinary laws
  • meet the requirements of section 50-50 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
  • their income must be exempt from income tax under section 50-1 of that Act.

A minister of religion must show that they have a leadership role within the organisation and provide a detailed organisational chart.

They must have:

  • been ‘ordained’ or have ‘professed to a religious life’ as a minister of religion (or equivalent accreditation process within the faith tradition), and
  • minimum qualifications equivalent to a relevant Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) bachelor degree, or
  • undertaken at least five years of relevant structured training or instruction. Experience does not meet this criterion.

Religious organisations must provide, with their request, details of the ordination process, training structure and minimum qualifications for the role of minister of religion.

Other requirements include when transitioning to the subclass 186 the applicant must be no more than 60 years of age. The minimum salary for both the 457 and 186 must be no less than the temporary skilled migration threshold (TSMIT) which is currently $53,900.00.

The English language requirements requires the minister of religion to

  • demonstrate an average test score of at least 5.0 in an International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or an equivalent accepted test
  • hold a valid passport from one of the following countries:
    • Canada
    • New Zealand
    • The Republic of Ireland
    • The United Kingdom
    • The United States of America
  • have completed at least five cumulative years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where instruction was conducted in English.

How to apply for an Australian visa for Ministers of religion

At Visa Australia we have assisted many Ministers of religion along with churches and religious organisations with their visa requirements. Contact Glenn Ferguson AM, Accredited Specialist in Immigration Law and Registered Migration to discuss your needs or begin your visa application.


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