Moving from a 457 Visa to Permanent Residency: What You Need to Know
Many people working in Australia on 457 visas decide that they want to make Australia their home. There’s a common misconception that if you are on a 457 visa you have to wait a minimum of two years to apply for permanent residency. The reality is that there are often many different pathways to becoming a resident and you won’t always have to wait two years.
The following are the most common pathways to permanent residency for people already holding a 457 visa:
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS):
This pathway exists for people whose current employers are willing to sponsor (nominate) them to become an Australian permanent resident. Applicants must be working in an occupation listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List, which includes a very broad range of occupations. The job can be based anywhere in Australia.
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS):
RSMS is very similar to ENS but your nominated position must be in a regional area, which can include Perth and some other Australian cities. Although a wider range of occupations can be used with the RSMS visa, the process is more complicated.
The application requirements for the Employer Nomination Scheme and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas can vary quite a lot according to how long you’ve held your 457 visa and what job you do.
Direct Entry Stream:
Most ENS applicants need to undergo a migration skills assessment with one of the assessing bodies listed on the CSOL. A large number of RSMS visa applicants don’t need a migration skills assessment. There are lots of variables!
ENS applicants must have a minimum of three years of experience in their field (gained anywhere in the world). They must undergo medical checks, obtain police clearances and there are specific English language requirements. Passport holders from Ireland, USA, Canada, NZ and the UK automatically meet the English language requirements. The requirements are very similar for RSMS, but the applicant might not require significant work experience and qualifications to qualify for this visa. In some instances, work experience can be enough. Direct entry permanent residence applications can be applied for at any time – as long as you can meet the visa requirements. You don’t always have to wait 2 years!
There is a special set of rules for our Kiwi friends and the holders of 461 visas that can help them secure Australian permanent residence even though they may be 50 years or over and have no qualifications.
457 Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRT):
Applicants applying under this stream must have worked in the same (or a very similar) position they were nominated for – for at least two years – on a 457 visa – with the same nominating employer. A migration skills assessment is not required under this pathway, but medical and character checks still apply and a certain level of English language competency is required. It’s worth knowing that the TRT pathway may still be available if a sponsoring employer is bought out by another company or if someone is sponsored under a Labour Agreement.
General Skilled Migration (GSM):
Lots of people on 457 visas apply for GSM visas – 189/190/485 visas. These visas are points tested. If you meet the visa requirements, you can lodge an Expression of Interest in something called Skill Select. If you can score at least 60 points on your EOI, the government may invite you to apply for a GSM visa. If you get an invite to lodge a visa application, is it very important to make sure that the documents you provide to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection show how you achieve the points score shown on your EOI. If you don’t have the documents required to support your points score … your visa application could be refused. Points can be a tricky area for people not used to dealing with GSM applications on a regular basis. A little bit of professional advice can often go a long way with the GSM visas. Many people discover that they don’t need that employer nomination after all and that they can get PR totally independently!
If you hold a 457 visa and are in a steady, long-term relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident it is worth considering the available partner visa options. Partner visas can be applied for by people who are married or in a defacto relationship, including same sex couples. Partners of NZ Citizens have their own “partner” type visa pathway too!
Migration law is complex and the visa rules all the time. This blog provides a very brief overview of some of the visa pathways available to 457 visa holders. The visa rules may change tomorrow or next week! It’s a good idea to get up to date advice on your visa options before making a decision to apply for a visa.
We can help you to work out what your options are.
Our team of experienced migration professionals provides migration advice and assistance to lots of 457 visa holders. We also help Australian and overseas businesses; young people (and not so young people! J) seeking to study in Australia as well as to individuals and families seeking to make Australia their home. EasiVisa is dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible migration advice and doing all we can to ensure we meet their needs. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can make the visa process easier for you or your company. Call us on +61 (08) 9429 8860.