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Employer Sponsored Visas / 457 News

Changes announced for the 457 visa – Lower English Requirements and Changes to Training Benchmarks

Changes announced for the 457 visa – Lower English Requirements and Changes to Training Benchmarks

 

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has released a response to the 457 Visa Programme integrity review report today. The majority of the changes announced are expected to be implemented over the next 6 months.

Here is a snapshot of the changes announced:

  • English requirements for the 457 visa applicant will be changed to overall 5.0 for the IELTS exam, with no components scoring lesser than 4.5.
  • Other English exams to be accepted for the visa application will be announced next month.
  • Visa charges are being reviewed and are likely to change.
  • Training Benchmarks will be replaced by annual training fund contributions to the Department of Industry (possible implementation in 2016)
  • Severe penalties for Business Sponsors who receive payment from visa applicants/holders in return for sponsorship and nomination.
  • Validity of Standard Business Sponsorships (SBS) to be lengthened from 3 to 5 years for existing businesses; from 12 to 18 months for new businesses.

More information will be available as the DIBP gets closer to implementing the planned changes.

Comments by Chris Johnston – Principal Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent at Work Visa Lawyers

The 457 visa programme has undergone many changes as the Department tries to strike a balance between helping Australian businesses meet short-term labour needs and protecting Australian workers and their jobs. It is important for both the Business Sponsor and Visa Applicant/Holder to take note of current developments to the 457 programme to ensure sponsorship and visa obligations are complied with to avoid violation and possible sanctions or penalties.

It is noted that the changes are being implemented in the near future and the date of effect for the changes will be crucial in relation to new sponsors, nominees (position) and visa applicants.

 UPDATE

There has been plenty of responses from various parties since the annoucement was made. Here are a few of them:

"Ensuring that visa holders and sponsors are meeting their obligations will boost business and community confidence in the 457 programme."- Kate Carnell, Head of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on the announced changes

"The labour market testing regime was always flawed and we urge the government to accept the review's recommendation that it be scrapped. The testing amounts to ineffective, time-consuming red tape. Using the scheme is costly for employers and the vast majority don't recruit 457 workers unless they absolutely have to."- Innes Willox, Head of Australian Industry Group, on the Government's decision to keep the labour market testing component

"The government's proposed changes to the 457 visa scheme will improve its operation and reduce business costs, but it has missed the opportunity to do away with redundant regulation."

"It is disappointing that on Repeal Day the government has declined to support the independent review's recommendation to abolish labour market testing. This is a classic case of a regulation that adds to business costs, without improving the integrity of the scheme."- Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive of Business Council of Australia (BCA)

Scott Barklamb, Executive Director of policy and public affairs for Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) says that foreign workers played a small, but critical, specialist role in the mining industry. He too was disappointed that labour market testing was not abolished.

National Farmers Federation (NFF) president Brett Finlay welcomed the changes and mentioned that while Australian workers were the backbone of the country's agricultural sector, some farm businesses in regional and remote areas struggled to find workers with relevant skills and relied on overseas workers to fill essential roles.

Part of the announcement also mentions the re-establishment of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM), which will aid to provide labour market analysis and advice on the composition of the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).

It appears that many stakeholders welcomed the changes but were concerned about the continuation of labour market testing and the proposed training fund that will replace current Training Benchmarks.

 Source:

  1. http://www.immi.gov.au/pub-res/Pages/reviews-and-inquiries/government-response.aspx
  2. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/18/457-visa-changes-announced
  3. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/liberals-tighten-checks-on-457-visas/story-fn9hm1gu-1227267088406
  4. http://www.bca.com.au/newsroom/statement-on-the-governments-response-to-457-visa-review

 

This information is accurate on the 22 March 2015

Do you need help with a 457 business sponsorship or visa application?

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting businesses and individuals in the 457 visa application process. The process is complex with many stages of work involved and we aim to simplify the application process for you and make sure the various criteria for sponsorship and visa are met.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091

or   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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10 Things about Applying for a 457 Visa

 

Business Sponsorship • Nomination • Training Benchmarks • Nominated Position • TSMIT • Market Salary • LMT • English Requirements • From 457 to PR

The 457 visa is the most common Employer Sponsored visa for overseas workers to start working temporarily in Australia. While the 457 program has the simple objective of filling employment gaps for Australian and overseas businesses, the application process is not straightforward. Watch the video to learn more.

0:40 Number One - Three stages of the 457 application:Business Sponsor application, Nomination application (position) and Visa application.
1:17 Number Two - Sponsor must meet training requirements
1:37 Number Three - Nominated position must be on the CSOL list
2:21 Number Four - Nomination requirements include meeting TSMIT, Market Salary and LMT
3:42 Number Five - Visa applicant must have required skills and English
4:33 Number Six - There are conditions that apply to the Business Sponsor and Visa holder after grant of 457 visa
5:40 Number Seven - 457 offers pathway to Australian PR
6:03 Number Eight - Government Review and recommendations to change 457 to cut ‘Red tape’
6:38 Number Nine - Alternative visas to the 457: If your occupation is not on the CSOL
7:35 Number Ten - Do I need help to apply for a 457?

If you would like assistance with getting a visa in Australia, you can contact us via our email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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We provide migration advice to businesses and individuals.
We are committed to providing honest and accurate advice based on the current migration laws, maintaining the confidentiality of our clients' affairs and excellence in customer service.
We can help you with your plans to migrate to Australia.

 

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10 things to know about when applying for a 457 visa – Australia’s most common temporary work visa

10 things to know about when applying for a 457 visa – Australia’s most common temporary work visa

2018 UPDATE

Notice: The 457 visa is no longer being granted and was replaced by the 482 visa. 

Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About the New Australian 482 Visa

Video: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About the New Australian 482 Visa

 Introduction to the 457 visa

Subclass 457 visa is the most common Temporary Work visa. The duration of the visa is for up to 4 years. You can bring your family with you to Australia. Your family can live, work or study for the duration of your visa.

The first requirement to apply for this visa is a Business who is ready to Sponsor you to work for them. The Business should be able to satisfy the Standard business Sponsor requirements discussed later in the Blog. Secondly, you as an applicant should have the required qualifications, work experience and English proficiency.

10 things to know about when applying for a 457 visa – Australia’s most common temporary work visa

1.    Three stages of the 457 application: Subclass 457 is applied in three stages:

i.        Stage 1 - Sponsorship: The Business has to apply for approval as a ‘Standard Business Sponsor’ to DIBP. The business will need to meet a range of criteria including active operation and Training Benchmarks.

ii.        Stage 2 - Nomination: Once the business is approved as a ‘Standard business Sponsor’, a nomination application is to be lodged to the DIBP which will identify the position that is to be filled and key features of the position.

iii.        Stage 3 - Visa: This is the third and last stage of the 457 application. The applicant applies for a visa and must have the required qualification or skills and English.

2.    Training benchmark A and benchmark B: This is one of the requirements of the business to become a Standard Business Sponsor. The Business has to fulfil either of the two benchmarks at the time of applying for the Sponsorship application (Stage 1):

i.        Benchmark A – Business has paid 2% of the total wages paid to its employees in the last 1 year to an Industry Training fund. This Industry Training Fund should be relevant to the employer’s business.

ii.        Benchmark B – Business spent 1% of the total wages paid to its employees in the last 1 year to train the Australian employees. Australian employees include employees of the Business who are either Australian citizens or Australian Permanent Residents.

3.    Do you have an accepted occupation?

Nominated Occupation must be on the CSOL: The occupation of the applicant should be on the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List. This list can be found on http://www.immi.gov.au/work/pages/skilled-occupations-lists/skilled-occupations-lists.aspx

 

Top 10 occupations for a 457 visa are:

 

·         Cook (ANZSCO: 351411)

·         Cafe or Restaurant Manager (ANZSCO:141111)

·         Developer Programmer (ANZSCO: 261312)

·         Marketing Specialist (ANZSCO: 225113)

·         University Lecturer (ANZSCO: 242111)

·         General Practitioner (ANZSCO: 253111)

·         ICT Business Analyst (ANZSCO: 261111)

·         Accountant (General) (ANZSCO: 221111)

·         Mechanical Engineering Technician (ANZSCO: 312512)

·         Customer Service Manager (ANZSCO: 149212)

 

There are currently 651 occupations on the CSOL. So it is worth checking if yours is on the list.

Do you need help establishing the most appropriate occupation? Call us.

 

4.    Nomination requirements include meeting TSMIT, Market salary and LMT:

 TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold): This is the income threshold that is set by the DIBP. Currently the TSMIT is set at $53,900 (please check the figure before you apply as it is subjected to change). Business has to pay a yearly salary of equal to or more than this amount to the applicant to meet the TSMIT requirements.

Market Salary: Market salary is the salary that is being paid to employees with similar occupation in the market. It must be more than TSMIT. Business has to pay a salary equal to or more than the market salary to the applicant.

Please note: The salary to be paid to the applicant should be equal to or more than TSMIT and equal to or more than the market salary for the nominated occupation.

LMT (Labour Market Test) may be required: Business may be required to provide evidences that they tried to fill the nominated position with an Australian employee and that the Business advertised the position in last 1 year but could not get a suitable candidate for the position.

5.    Visa applicant must have required skill and English: The visa applicant should hold skill and work experience in the nominated occupation in some cases. If the nominated occupation is a Trade occupation, applicant may require a Skill assessment from the Trade Recognition Australia (TRA). The nominated occupation may have Registration and Licensing requirements as well.

Visa applicant will need to meet English requirements or an exemption: The visa applicant is required to score 5 bands in each module in IELTS or a score “B” in each of the four components in OET. Applicant may be exempted from this requirement if:

i.        Applicant is to be paid a base salary of more than the English-language-requirement exempt amount which is $96,400 per year at present (it may change in future), or

ii.        Applicant holds a passport from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, or

iii.        Applicant has completed at least five years of continuous full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution in English.

6.    Conditions applicable to Business Sponsor and applicant after grant of 457 visa:

There are a large number of requirements for approved 457 Business Sponsor and 457 visa holders to comply with. The conditions include:

  i.        Conditions applicable for business:

     i.    Applicant works in the nominated occupation.

     ii.    Business should retain all the records.

     iii.    Provide training to Australian citizens or permanent residents.

ii.        Conditions applicable for the applicant:

       i.     Primary applicant can only work for the approved sponsor

     ii.    Secondary applicants have no work restrictions

     iii.    There are a limited number of occupations with exemption to work rights

     iv.    Must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance

     v.    Must inform DIBP if applicant stops working.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection does undertake monitoring on approved Business Sponsor. We have expertise in helping businesses respond to monitoring requirements.

Do you need help with responding to the Department regarding Business Sponsor Monitoring.  Call us.

7.    457 offers pathway to Australian PR: After working with the approved Sponsor for two years, applicant can apply for a Permanent visa subclass 187 under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream. The Business Sponsor must meet all Sponsorship requirements for the two years the person is on a 457, if they want to be able to use the Temporary Transition pathway.

8.    Government Review and recommendations to change 457 to cut ‘Red tape’

The Government has release a review report on the 457 program titled, Robust New Foundations: A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme.

The Report contains 22 recommendations, which include the following:

·         Labour Market testing requirements be abolished;
A more flexible and adaptive approach to adding occupations to the 457 list (CSOL list), due to limitations of the current ANZSCO occupations.

·         That the English language requirement be amended to an average score. For example, in relation to International English Language Testing System, the 457 applicant should have an average of 5 across the four competencies (or the equivalent for an alternative English language testing provider)

For more details on the recommendations, please go to:

http://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/news/entry/457-visa-news-government-report-recommends-changes-including-easing-english-requirements-and-lmt.html

9.    Alternative visas to the 457:

If your occupation is not on the CSOL then your options may include:

1.    RSMS visa – this requires that the position is a Trade or Diploma level on ANZSCO but is not limited to a list.

2.    Labour Agreement – It is possible to apply for a labour agreement to get access to occupation not on CSOL or to varying other 457 condition. The Labour agreement process is usually external and would require professional assistance.

3.    Partner visa - if you have an Australian Partner.

4.    Student visa

This is not the full range of options, but just some of the most common.

10.Do I need help?

The 457 process is complicated and the requirements are regularly changed by the Australian Government. Currently 73% of 457 visa applications are lodged by Registered Migration Agents. This is based on figures for April to June 2014.

In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). If you choose to use a migration agent, you should use a registered migration agent.

Registration gives you protection and helps ensure people working as migration agents are aware of current laws and procedures and give correct advice.

https://www.mara.gov.au/media/337494/MAAR_Apr_Jun_2014_Web.pdf

If you require assistance with a 457 visa process then Work Visa Lawyers has a team of Migration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents that can assist you.

Sources:

Australian Government Report:

http://www.immi.gov.au/pub-res/Documents/reviews/streamlined-responsive-457-programme.pdf

News release by Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash:

www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/mc/2014/mc217716.htm


Warning -This information is accurate on the 28 November 2014.  

DIBP will change visa requirements in an ongoing manner and all current requirements must be established prior to lodging an application. 

 

Do you Need Help with the 457 process, to be approved as a business sponsor or to get an Australian Visa for an employee?

 

If you require further information regarding an employer sponsored visa applications, either as an employer or an applicant, we can help you.

Our contact details are:

 (08) 7225 5091 (if calling from within Australia)

+61 8 7225 5091 (if calling from outside Australia)

Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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457 Visa - Review and Planned changes to the work visa program - Minister Michaela Cash speech to MIA

457 Visa - Review and Planned changes to the work visa program - Minister Michaela Cash speech to MIA

 

457 Visa - Review and Planned changes to the work visa program - Minister Michaela Cash speech to MIA  

Minister Michaela Cash comments on review and planned changes to the 457 visa program in speech  to the Migration Institute of Australia conference on 31 October 2014, stating following:

“Extensive review of the 457 programme

As you know, Government regulatory activity can significantly impact business and Australia's reputation for doing business - in either a positive or negative manner.

And migration policy is one of the suite of regulatory levers available to Government to enhance our social and economic wellbeing.

The 457 programme continues to make a valuable contribution to Australia's economy and society.

The Abbott Government's migration programme and immigration policies serve to support employers in addressing skill shortages, grow productivity, create jobs for all Australians and keep Australia secure through well managed border controls and integrity in visa programmes. 

To ensure we remain an economically strong and competitive nation, it is critical that appropriate migration policies are implemented to provide us with a workforce that is capable of ensuring Australia's strong growth and continued economic success into the future.

Australia has one of the most well managed skilled migration programmes amongst developed countries. 

This Government recognises that our skilled migration programme must be run in the national interest.

It recognises the need for Australian business and industry to access a wide range of specialist competencies, skills, futuristic ideas and technology from overseas in order to be competitive and continue to grow in an increasingly global economy. 

The skilled migration programme helps to build economic growth by attracting the best and brightest migrants to address skills shortages, prevent labour force decline and improve our declining worker-to-retiree ratio.

Skilled migration fills genuine skills shortages with skilled migrants who complement, and do not displace, Australian workers.

Where an Australian worker with the right skills is available, this person is the right choice. However, if an Australian worker with the right skills is not available, the process for employing an overseas worker should be streamlined, efficient, transparent and robust.  

It is critical that future changes to the 457 programme are based on evidence and analysis.

This is why I announced an independent review earlier this year to ensure that the programme continues to respond to economic conditions in order to facilitate the entry of globally skilled persons to address skills shortages in the local labour market.

You would be aware that the final report for the independent review, titled, Robust New Foundations, was released by Minister Morrison in September and is currently available on the Department's website.

It is clear from reading the report that the recommendations are formed as a result of extensive consultations and considered discussions with stakeholders.

The panel met with more than 150 stakeholder groups across the country including with representatives from the MIA in early May.

The panel also invited public submissions and received nearly 200 responses from a variety of stakeholders, including a very comprehensive submission from the MIA.

The panel found no evidence to support claims of widespread rorting of the 457 programme, and identified a number of reforms that will improve the 457 programme. The report's 22 recommendations will make it easier for businesses to access skilled workers where there is a genuine need, and ensure a robust integrity framework is in place for the future of the 457 programme. Some of the key reforms from the panel's report were announced as part of the Industry, Innovation and Investment Competitiveness Agenda earlier this month.

These reforms include:

  • simplifying sponsorship requirements for employers to reduce the time and cost involved for business;
  • increasing the sponsorship approval period for start-up businesses for 12 to 18 months;
  • streamlining the processes of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications to reward low risk applicants and re-focus compliance and monitoring activities on high risk applicants;
  • providing greater flexibility in relation English language testing and skill requirements for 457 applicants; and
  • retaining the current Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold at $53, 900.

Reforms such as these highlight the Government's work to create conditions for business to prosper by supporting growth and removing unnecessary regulation.

These changes to the programme demonstrate our commitment to evidence based productivity reform and I will be able to provide you with further information on a timeframe for implementation and a fulsome Government response to the report, in the coming months.”

Sources:

Migration Institute of Australia

News release by Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash:

http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/mc/2014/mc218908.htm


Warning -This information is accurate on the 06 November 2014.  

DIBP will change visa requirements in an ongoing manner and all current requirements must be established prior to lodging an application. 

Do you Need Help with the 457 process, to be approved as a business sponsor or to get an Australian Visa for an employee?

If you require further information regarding an employer sponsored visa applications , either as an employer or an applicant, we can help you.

Contact us on (08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091

or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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457 changes announced including greater flexibility for English language and streamlining process for low risk businesses

457 changes announced including greater flexibility for English language and streamlining process for low risk businesses

 

457 visas changes Announced by Australia Government:

 

The Australian Federal Government has announced on 14 October 2014 that the following changes will be made:

“The Government will reform the 457 visa programme for skilled migrants, while maintaining strong safeguards against abuse.

The 457 programme must be a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business.

An effectively managed skilled migration programme ensures foreign workers supplement rather than substitute Australian workers. A business that is forced to close because it is unable to access the labour that it requires employs no-one.  That is a lose–lose situation for both employers and employees.

Following an independent review of the 457 programme, the Government will:

·         streamline the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications to reward low risk applicants and refocus compliance and monitoring activities on high risk applicants;

·         increase the sponsorship approval period from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses, to give start-ups more time to make their businesses sustainable;

·         provide greater flexibility in relation to English language testing and skill requirements for 457 applicants, to ensure that the standards required are appropriate for the industries and occupations being sought; and

·         retain the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold at $53 900, ahead of a review within the next two years.

Safeguards will remain in place to ensure that the 457 visa programme is not rorted. It will continue to be a requirement that a foreign worker receives at least the same market rates and conditions that are paid to an Australian doing the same job in the same workplace”

Comment by Chris Johnston, Principal Solicitor with Work Visa Lawyers:

The announced planned changes will be welcomed by businesses and by potential visa applicants.

The area of greatest interest for visa applicants will be in relation to the proposed greater flexibility in relation to English language requirements.

The 457 Report recommended the English language requirement be amended to an average score. For example, in relation to International English Language Testing System, the 457 applicant should have an average of 5 across the four competencies (or the equivalent for an alternative English language testing provider).

So this averaging system mentioned in the 457 Report could be the greater flexibility, but we will have to wait until the actual changes are enacted.

The date of the 457 changes has not been provided.  The Federal Government has said that there “will soon make further announcements on the recommendations of reviews”.

Work Visa Lawyers will keep you posted in our news section.

Sources:

Joint media release with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Minister for Industry Ian McFarlane and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison.:

http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/sm/2014/sm218547.htm

Warning -This information is accurate on the 18 October 2014.  

DIBP will change visa requirements in an ongoing manner and all current requirements must be established prior to lodging an application. 

Do you Need Help with the 457 process, to be approved as a business sponsor or to get an Australian Visa for an employee?

If you require further information regarding an employer sponsored visa applications , either as an employer or an applicant, we can help you.

Contact us on (08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091

or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Student Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business visas, Employer-Sponsored visas, Partner, and other Family Migration visas, as well as Migration Review Tribunal, Judicial Review, and Ministerial Intervention. Based in Adelaide South Australia, our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents provide migration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

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