457 Visa Program (Temporary Work)

The Subclass 457 temporary work visa program is designed for employers , who need to bring skilled workers to Australia on a temporary basis. This visa allows applicants to work for up to four years for an approved business sponsor.

The Subclass 457 visa is usually restricted to people employed in skilled occupations. There are three stages: Standard Business Sponsorship, Nomination and Visa application.

457 Visa Changes

NOTE: This information is current as of 1/7/2017 . Please note that at this time there is no supporting legislation for  some of these changes. It is possible that more changes will follow.

From 1 July 2017:

  • Occupation lists: The STSOL and MLTSSL have been  revised
  • English language requirements: English language salary exemption threshold, which exempts applicants whose salary is over $96,400 from the English language requirement, have been removed.
  • Training benchmarks: Details here
  • Character: Provision of penal / police clearance certificates will become mandatory.

Before 31 December 2017:

  • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders (and other employer sponsored migrants), and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
  • The DIBP will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.

From March 2018, the 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the TSS visa.

Who is affected by the Changes?

Current 457 visa applicants and holders, prospective applicants, businesses sponsoring skilled migrants and industry. Existing 457 visas will continue to remain in effect.

457 visa applicants that had lodged their application on or before 18 April 2017, and whose application had not yet been decided, with an occupation that has been removed from the STSOL, may be eligible for a refund of their visa application fee. Nominating businesses for these applications may also be eligible for a refund of related fees.

 Stage One: Standard Business Sponsorship

The employer applies for approval as a business sponsor

 To obtain approval as a business sponsor from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), you must be able to satisfy DIBP that your business meets a number of criteria that include the following:

  1. That the business is financially sound
  2. That the company is committed to training Australian citizens / permanent residents, or introducing new technology or business skills.
  3. The company must be able to prove that:
    • it spends at least 1% equivalent of its annual wages bill on the training of its Australian citizen or permanent resident employees OR
    • it pays at least the equivalent of 2% of its annual wages bill into an Industry training fund or approved scholarship fund.

There is some flexibility/elasticity built into the training benchmark requirement. This means that even if your company does not meet the training benchmark requirement today, it is often possible to take a few steps that will enable your company to meet the training benchmark requirement at the date of application. The details of what spending is eligible for the training benchmark has changed as of 1/7/2017. Contact Us for more details.

 Stage Two – Nomination

The employer nominates the position to be filled

 The position to be filled by the overseas employee must be full-time, approved by DIBP and it must be a skilled position.

The position must be paid at, or above, the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which is currently AUD $53,900.00 per annum plus 9.5% superannuation. TSMIT is based on a 38-hour working week.

NOTE: If the award rate for the nominated position is below TSMIT and your other employees doing the same job as the nominated employee earn below TSMIT, it is almost guaranteed that the nomination application will fail.

Stage Three – 457 Visa application

The prospective employee applies for a Subclass 457 visa

 To be eligible for a Subclass 457  visa, the nominated employee will need to demonstrate that he or she:

  • has been nominated by an approved sponsor
  • has the skills to match the approved nomination
  • meets health and character requirements
  • meets English Language proficiency requirements, which can vary according to the applicant’s particular circumstances
  • has suitable private health care / Medicare cover/Reciprocal health care cover

 Some of the supporting documentation can take several weeks to obtain, for example, evidence of professional registration/licensing or professional membership (if required).

Wherever possible, the supporting documents should be obtained prior to lodging a visa application.

Once the visa application is approved, the employee may only work for a 457 sponsor whilst the visa remains in effect. The employee can be nominated by a new sponsor and can start working for the new sponsor once the nomination is approved.

Note: There is no age limit for the applicant in this visa subclass.

Sponsorship Obligations

All sponsors of Subclass 457 visa holders (457 sponsors) are required to adhere to a set of Sponsor Obligations to ensure, amongst other things, that overseas workers are guaranteed equivalent terms and conditions of employment to local employees and receive a market rate salary or above. The current Sponsor Obligations are set out on the attached document headed Sponsor Obligations. To read more about Sponsor Obligations, click HERE

Translations

Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by an English translation completed by a professional translator. In Australia this is a translator who is accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. (NAATI)

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