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Employer Sponsored Visas / 457 News

457 Visa Changes - What Visa Applicants need to know! English levels up, Application Fees up, TSMIT up…

Here are some of the changes introduced from the 1 July 2013 that are important to 457 visa applicants:

English Requirements now more difficult for many

English levels of Functional English must now be proved for all levels of occupations nominated from the CSOL:

-      an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test score of at least 5 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening, or

-      a score of at least 'B' in each of the four components of an Occupational English Test (OET).

Prior to 1 July, the requiements only applied to trade level position such as cook, baker and mechanic.  Now the apply to all positions on the CSOL, nominated for a 457. For example, now Civil and Mechanical Engineers, Marketing Specialists and Software Engineers.

TSMIT Up

TSMIT is now $53,900 and all nominations must be paid TSMIT or higher.  Please note, that Market Salary is also a relevant guide for the amount to be paid to the nominated position.

Market Salary Exemption Up

Market Salary – the exemption from Market Salary requirements has been increased from $180,000 to $250,000.

More Discretion to Refuse based on Skills and Qualifications

The Department has strengthen the skills requirements for Subclass 457 visas by requiring the Subclass 457 visa applicant to have the skills, qualifications and employment background that the Minister considers necessary to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation.

In my opinion this will help make the Department feel more comfortable in refusing an application without requesting further information.

Genuine Test – More discretion to refuse

Introduction of a ‘genuineness test’ to be conducted by departmental officers to ensure that the position associated with the nominated occupation is genuinely required to address skills shortages in Australia.

Condition Requiring Licencing Post Grant

457 visa holders must seek to obtain any mandatory registration, licence or membership for their occupation within 28 days.  The licensing requirement will effect occupations such as electricians.

All Electronic Lodgement

All applications for standard business sponsorship, approval of nominations and Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visas to be lodged electronically.  The backup system to this is said to be lodgement by email. My comment, this sounds like it could be a real mess when the system crashes, like it does the last day of the program year almost every year late June.

Workers have more time to find another sponsor after ending employment

Workers have been given more time to find another sponsor after ceasing employment.  This time have been extended from 28 days to 90 days.

Fees Up

457 Sponsorship remains the same at $420

457 Nomination from $85 to $330.

457 Visa applicant – primary applicant now termed base applicant from $455 to $900

457 Visa applicant, secondary applicant over age of 18 from $0 to $900

457 Visa applicant, secondary aged under 18, from $0 to $225

New fee - Subsequent temporary application fee will apply in some circumstances, $700 per applicant.

Refer to this blog for an example of 457 fee costs post 1 July 2013.

http://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/news/entry/explanation-of-new-australian-visa-charges-system-based-on-number-of-applicants-and-the-new-subsequent-temporary-application-charge.html

Source: DIAC website

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/changes-457-program.htm

Need Help?

If you require further information regarding a 457 application or your Australian visa options you contact our offices on (08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091  

This information isaccurate on the 30 July 2013.  DIAC will changes visa requirements in an ongoing manner and all current requirements must be established prior to lodging an application. 

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457 Visa Application Fees to Rise and Labor plans advert campaign to promote recent 457 policy announcements.

It has been reported that form the 1 July 2013 the 457 visa application fee will increase from $455 to $900. See article:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-14/nrn-fedbudget-457costs/4689874

Labor has plans for Radio Adverts  to Promote a Crackdown on 457 Visas.  See article:

http://www.afr.com/p/national/labor_ads_to_promote_work_visa_crackdown_35rbIW85h1LS1vpVSYOs6I

This will be at same time as ATO Investigations of 457 Visas. See article:

http://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/news/entry/student-visa-and-temporary-work-visa-holders-are-you-currently-being-investigated-for-tax-fraud-.html

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457 changes may impact on rural Australia and other news

Changes to 457 may cause problems for rural Australia

http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2013/s3713417.htm

An explanation of what the 457 visa is used for and which industries use it the most:

http://theconversation.edu.au/explainer-457-visas-in-australia-12622?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+15+March+2013&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+15+March+2013+CID_bdc251a0c90e9bfee82a3254a362f6ef&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Explainer%20457%20visas%20in%20Australia

Kevin Rudd praises contribution of migrants and 457 changes may impact on rural Australia

Commentary on Kevin Rudd’s recent speech on the contribution of migrants

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/kevin-rudd-lauds-migration-amid-ongoing-row-over-457-visas/story-fn9hm1gu-1226592443517

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Timing of subclass 457 visa changes and other details released by DIAC

Further details of 457 changes

Further details on the planned changes for 457 visas have been released by DIAC on their website.

“The measures being brought forward include:

  • the introduction of a genuineness criterion under which the department may refuse a nomination if the position does not fit within the scope of the activities of the business
  • an increase in market salary exemption threshold from $180 000 to $250 000 to ensure that higher paid salary workers are not able to be undercut through the employment of overseas labour at a cheaper rate
  • the removal of English language exemptions for certain positions. Many long-term 457 workers go on to apply for permanent residence, and  this change will ensure that the 457 program requirements are brought into line with the permanent Employer Sponsored program which requires a vocational English ability. This change will benefit visa holders by ensuring that 457 visa holders, who have an ongoing position with their employer and want to apply for permanent residence in the long-run are not disadvantaged because of their language ability. Applicants who are nominated with a salary greater than $92 000 will continue to be exempted from the English language requirement
  • enhanced regulatory powers for the department to ensure that the working conditions of sponsored visa holders meet Australian standards and that subclass 457 workers cannot be exploited or used to undercut local workers
  • amendments to existing training benchmark provisions to clarify that an employer’s obligation to train Australians is ongoing and binding for the duration of their approved sponsorship, including for newly established business
  • amendments to clarify that 457 workers may not be on-hired to an unrelated entity unless they are sponsored under a labour agreement
  • amendments which will allow the department to refund a visa application fee in circumstances where an employer nomination has been withdrawn.”
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Changes to 457 visa program announced and reactions from business

Changes to 457 visa program announced

On the 23 February 2013 the Minister for Immigration Brendan O'Connor announced that there will be changes to the 457 visa program.

The changes announced are:

“Under the changes:

  • Employers must demonstrate that they are not nominating positions where a genuine shortage does not exist
  • The English language requirements for certain positions have been raised
  • The enforceability of existing training requirements for businesses that use the program will be strengthened
  • The market salary exemption will rise from $180 000 to $250 000
  • On-hire arrangements of 457 visa workers will be restricted
  • Compliance and enforcement powers will be beefed up to stop employers who have routinely abused the 457 system
  • Stakeholders will be consulted to ensure market rate provisions more effectively protect local employment.”

http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/bo/2013/bo193683.htm

What we still do not know?

The details of the changes to English levels changes have not been released.

The date from which the changes will be implemented.  It has been reported that the changes will be from the 1 June 2013:

http://brw.com.au/p/business/tighter_regime_needs_more_compliance_777FVeWDihQrSpqQwQ3KyM?goback=%2Egde_2950255_member_217501318

But there has not been an official release on the changes by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as yet.

Reactions to the proposed changes?

The announcement has been received negatively by Australian business:

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3697369.htm

http://myresources.com.au/news/27-latestnews/7256-business-urges-caution-on-visa-changes

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/business-warns-against-visa-changes-20130224-2ezll.html

If you want to know more?

You can contact Chris Johnston at Work Visa Lawyers.

Changes to 457 visa program announced?

On the 23 February 2013 the Minister for Immigration Brendan O'Connor announced that there will be changes to the 457 visa program.

The changes announced are:

“Under the changes:

  • Employers must demonstrate that they are not nominating positions where a genuine shortage does not exist
  • The English language requirements for certain positions have been raised
  • The enforceability of existing training requirements for businesses that use the program will be strengthened
  • The market salary exemption will rise from $180 000 to $250 000
  • On-hire arrangements of 457 visa workers will be restricted
  • Compliance and enforcement powers will be beefed up to stop employers who have routinely abused the 457 system
  • Stakeholders will be consulted to ensure market rate provisions more effectively protect local employment.”

http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/bo/2013/bo193683.htm

What we still do not know?

The details of the changes to English levels changes have not been released.

The date from which the changes will be implemented.  It has been reported that the changes will be from the 1 June 2013:

http://brw.com.au/p/business/tighter_regime_needs_more_compliance_777FVeWDihQrSpqQwQ3KyM?goback=%2Egde_2950255_member_217501318

But there has not been an official release on the changes by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as yet.

Reactions to the proposed changes?

The announcement has been received negatively by Australian business:

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3697369.htm

http://myresources.com.au/news/27-latestnews/7256-business-urges-caution-on-visa-changes

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/business-warns-against-visa-changes-20130224-2ezll.html

If you want to know more?

You can contact Chris Johnston at Work Visa Lawyers.

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