The 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa is a temporary employer sponsored visa, which allows you to remain in Australia for up to four years, while working with your employer. It is also a pathway to permanent residency – if you work for your employer on a 457 visa for two years, you can then access the transitional stream of either the subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme or the subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
If you are looking at migrating to Australia and you have an employer willing to sponsor you, or you are currently working in Australia and your employer is looking at sponsoring you, you should consider the changes to the 457 visa program that are coming up.
What is changing for the 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa?
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has recently advised that the following changes are to be made to ‘close loopholes’ in the 457 program:
- Certain exemptions to English language requirements will be removed;
- Introduction of a genuineness criterion which will allow DIAC to refuse a nomination if the position doesn’t fit the activities of the business;
- Increasing the market salary exemption threshold to $250,000 (meaning that if you are being sponsored in a position with a wage less than $250,000, your employer will have to show they meet market rate requirements);
- Increased regulatory powers for DIAC – this is aimed at ensuring working conditions for you are to Australian standards (to avoid exploitation);
- Changes to clarify that unless you are sponsored under a labour agreement, you cannot be on-hired to an unrelated entity;
- Clarifying the training benchmark to be met by your employer – to confirm that this requirement is to be ongoing and binding for the entire sponsorship period; and
- Changes to allow DIAC to refund a visa application fee where the nomination is withdrawn.
When are the changes coming in?
DIAC has advised these changes will come in as of July 1, 2013. If you are looking at applying for a 457 visa and you would like to apply prior to the above changes coming in, you should aim to apply prior to June 30, 2013.
You can read more about the upcoming changes here.
If you need any help with your 457 visa application or you’re looking at your options – contact our Migration Team.