What’s new

26 February 2018

Changes to the 457 Visa Program

Changes to the 457 Visa Program 

The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), also known as the 457 visa program, is a visa for foreign citizens. It "lets a skilled worker travel to Australia to work in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor for up to four years."

Workers have to be sponsored by an Australian business, with the business having to prove they couldn't find a suitable Australian worker to fill the job.

Businesses have used the 457 visa program extensively to source labor over recent years with visa holders able to apply for permanent residency at the end of 4 years.

The 457 visa program has recently been scaled back and renamed as the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa program. Some changes are already in place with further alterations coming into force from March 2018.

The changes include:

  • There is now a 2 year visa period and a 4 year visa period
  • The number of applicable job categories has been reduced from 650 down to less than 200
  • A higher standard of English is required
  • A proper police record / criminal check will be required
  • There will be a 2 year work experience requirement
  • Mandatory labour market testing is required
  • Fees paid by employers to be part of the scheme will also increase

Current 457 visa holders will be unaffected by these changes.

Employers need to apply to become an approved sponsor. Some of the requirements for applications are:

  • Your business must be legally established
  • Your business is actually operating
  • You must show that you have contributed to the training of Australian workers by providing evidence of meeting the training benchmarks
  • Meet the training benchmarks if you have traded in Australia for 12 months or more
  • Have an auditable plan to meet the training benchmarks if you have been trading in Australia for less than 12 months.
  • Training benchmark A: recent expenditure to the equivalent of at least two per cent of the payroll of the business, in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same or a related industry as the business
  • Training benchmark B: recent expenditure to the equivalent of at least one per cent of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to employees of the business who are Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents.
  • You will be required to provide recent financial statements for your business
  • You must have advertised locally for the proposed position

As you can see there are quite a few benchmarks for a business to meet and supporting documentation and information that may need to be supplied.

We have several clients who have applied to be a 457 visa sponsor over time. You can complete the application forms and apply directly to the department of immigration (now Home Affairs) or you can use a third party lawyer who specialises in immigration matters. Our client experience has seen a less stressful, quicker process when an agent has been involved.

Some useful links are listed below:

  • Combined current list of eligible skilled occupations
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457) sponsor document checklist
  • Applications for Employer Sponsored Workers
  • Further Information for employers wanting to sponsor a skilled worker from outside Australia for a Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457)


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