If your employer has complied with its obligations as a subclass 457 sponsor, then the good news is that the Government has actually been quite kind! A lot of people who currently hold a subclass 457 visa will find that their pathway to permanent residence has been protected.
Do either of these scenarios apply to you?
- You held a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 AND you still hold that visa or a related 457/TSS visa/bridging visa
- You applied for a 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017 AND that visa was granted?
If the answer is yes, then you may still have a pathway to permanent residence. The following special rules apply to you:
- Your occupation does not need to be on any particular occupations list (or any list).
- You must be under 50 years at time of PR application rather than 45 (unless an exemption is available).
- You must have held the 457/TSS visa for at least TWO years rather than three.
- You must lodge your PR application by March 2022
The Department of Home Affairs has also confirmed that if you can answer “yes” to questions 1 or 2 above, then your ability to access these special rules isn’t dependent on you:
- Continuing to hold the same subclass 457 visa that allows you to access these rules (i.e. if you need to apply for a new TSS visa to meet the two years working for the same employer requirement, then that new visa will still allow you to access the special rules).
- Continuing to work for the same employer (i.e. if you change employer, that doesn’t stop you accessing the special rules. It will still “re-set” your two years working for the same employer requirement, so you will need to work for that new employer for two years before potentially being eligible to apply for permanent residence).
Having said that, if you are thinking about changing jobs, it is sensible to get advice on how that will affect your permanent residence pathway BEFORE you change jobs as some things can affect your ability to access these special rules. One very important hiccup is if your new employer nominates you in a different occupation. For example, if you are currently employed as a cook, but your new employer nominates you as a chef because you have the qualifications and/ or work experience for that role, then that new nomination will stop you accessing these special rules. If in doubt, get advice BEFORE changing jobs!
Skilling Australians Fund Levy (“SAF Levy”)
The Skilling Australians Fund Levy will replace the current Training Benchmark requirements going forward. Training Benchmarks are the requirement for a subclass 457 sponsor to spend a certain percentage of gross payroll on training Australian citizens or permanent residents. Your employer will still need to show it has met this requirement for the previous years it has been a subclass 457 visa sponsor. It is really important that you are sure that your employer has met this requirement BEFORE you proceed with any form of Temporary Residence Transition application. The rules and calculations around the Training Benchmark can be complicated, so consider getting professional advice on this at an early stage.
The latest news is that the SAF Levy will not be introduced before late May 2018. When it is introduced, it MUST be paid by your employer.
For both the subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme and subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas the SAF Levy is:
$3000 – for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million
$5000 – for businesses with annual turnover of $10 million or more.