What is the Australia 457 Work Visa?
The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), popularly referred to as the “457 visa” is the most common temporary work visa for Australia. You can apply for the 457 visa if you are sponsored by a company to work in Australia. Here is an overview of what the 457 visa allows you (and your family – partner and children) to do in Australia:
Live in Australia for a period of up to 4 years
Work for the sponsoring company for up to 4 years
Travel in and out of Australia repeatedly for a period of up to 4 years
Study in Australia for the period of the visa validity
You (and your family) must have your own private health insurance for your stay in Australia
While it sounds straightforward, the 457 visa comes with its strict requirements and obligations on both the sponsoring business and the sponsored 457 visa applicant. As such Work Visa Lawyers is pleased to provide an updated “10 Things You Need to Know for the 457 Visa”.
The 10 Things You NEED to Know to Apply for a 457 Visa
The Three Stages of the 457 Visa Application
There are three stages to the 457 visa application, namely:
Company applies to be an Approved Business Sponsor
The Approved Business Sponsor Nominates a Position for Sponsorship
The visa applicant applies for the 457 visa to work in the Nominated Position
What are Training Benchmarks? How do you meet the requirements?
Training Benchmarks are requirements that need to be fulfilled by the company who is applying to be a business sponsor. The requirements were introduced to ensure local Australian workers are provided training to perform the work required by the company, thus reducing the dependency of the company on overseas workers.
The Training Benchmarks are as follows:
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 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.
If the business is new (operating for less than 12 months), an auditable training plan is required instead.
If you are unsure how to demonstrate that you have met the Training Benchmarks, please contact Work Visa Lawyers for a more detailed discussion.
Is your occupation SUITABLE for Sponsorship under the 457 visa programme?
Not all occupations are suitable for the 457 visa programme. Only occupations on the Skilled Occupation List and the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List can be nominated for a 457 visa. You can view the occupation lists here.
The most popular occupations for 457 visa sponsorship for the year 2014-2015 to 31 March 2015 are as follows:
Café or Restaurant Manager
ICT Business Analyst
Resident Medical Officer
Sales and Marketing Manager
Mechanical Engineering Technician
ICT Project Manager
If the occupation to be nominated is not on the Skilled Occupation Lists then a Labour Agreement will be required. You can always speak to Work Visa Lawyers if you need to clarify the occupation or to learn more about Labour Agreements.
How does a business qualify to nominate an applicant for the 457 visa?
There are a number of criteria to be fulfilled by the business to become a sponsor for a 457 visa. The requirements include:
Meeting the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
This is the minimum annual salary you must pay for the sponsored 457 visa worker. The TSMIT is currently A$53,900.
You need to note that if the average market salary for the position is lower than the TSMIT, you cannot simply overpay an overseas worker to enable sponsorship under the 457 visa programme.
Fulfil the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirements
This requires the business to test local labour markets to demonstrate effort to recruit local workers before deciding to sponsor an overseas worker for the required position.
Providing Employment Terms that are equivalent to terms offered to an Australian employee
The sponsored worker must work directly for the business
The work and position must be genuinely available and relevant to the operations of the business
The requirements are complex and may vary according to different industries. Please contact Work Visa Lawyers if you need a more detailed explanation that is relevant for your business or industry.
What are the requirements for a 457 visa applicant?
The applicant needs to be nominated for a position that corresponds to an occupation listed of the Skilled Occupation Lists.
Additionally the applicant will also need to meet skills, registration, English, health and health insurance requirements for the visa application.
Applicants need to demonstrate that they have the necessary qualification (and work experience, if applicable) to perform the duties required for the nominated occupation. Many trade level positions on the CSOL will require the visa applicant to have successfully completed a TRA 457 skills assessment
Registration and Licensing
If the nominated occupation requires licensing or registration in Australia, the applicant needs to obtain the registration or licence, or demonstrate that they meet the requirements for registration or licensing in Australia.
Unless otherwise stated, 457 visa applicants can demonstrate meeting the English requirements for the 457 visa application with the following:
an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall test score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the four test components
an Occupational English Test (OET) score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
a Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) total score of at least 36 with a score of at least 3 for each of the test components of listening and reading, and a score of at least 12 for each of the test components of writing and speaking
a Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic overall test score of at least 36 with a score of at least 30 in each of the four test components
a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) overall test score of at least 154 with a score of at least 147 in each of the four test components
you are a passport holder from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America
you have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where instruction was conducted in English.
You may need a higher English score if it is necessary for your registration or licensing.
An exemption to meet the English requirements is possible if the overseas worker is paid an annual salary that is more than the English language requirement exempt amount. The amount is currently A$96,400.
Health and Health Insurance
The applicant and family members will need to be in good health and also arrange for health insurance for the duration of the stay in Australia.
What are the obligations of the 457 business sponsor and visa applicant after the visa is granted?
It is critical that the 457 visa holder and business sponsor adhere to the obligations and conditions of the 457 visa when it is approved. Failure to meet the conditions will result in visa cancellations and/or removal of sponsorship status for the business.
457 visa holder obligations
You are only allowed to work for the business that sponsored you
Must start work within 90 days or arrival to Australia
Must not stop working for the employer for more than 90 consecutive days
Obtain registration or licences if necessary
Maintain adequate health insurance for you and your family in Australia
457 business sponsor obligations
To prevent exploitation of overseas workers and to ensure skill shortages are genuinely met the sponsor will need to do the following:
Cooperate with the Department for checks on compliance
Ensure employment conditions are fair
Keep and maintain records of employment for the 457 visa holder
Ensure that the sponsored 457 visa worker does not perform duties other than what is required for the nominated occupation
Do not obtain payment from the sponsored worker for the costs of the 457 visa application
Continue to meet the Training Benchmark requirements
Pay the travel costs for the sponsored worker to leave Australia when the visa validity expires
As shown there are more to the 457 visa than the initial visa application requirements. You can check with Work Visa Lawyers if you need more information about your obligations or situations such as when employment ceases, or if the business is being monitored by the Department.
Can you apply for Permanent Residence after obtaining a 457 visa to work in Australia?
After working for the business sponsor for at least 2 years, you can apply for permanent residency under the 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or the 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) pathway. The requirements and process of these visa applications will be discussed in a separate blog.
The 457 Visa Programme Integrity Review and the recommended changes
On 10th September 2014 the Department a final report on the review of the integrity of the 457 visa programme by an independent panel. A total of 22 recommendations were made and some of the recommendations are in fact already in place. More changes are to be expected towards the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016.
To ensure that you are informed on the ongoing changes for the 457 visa programme, check our News section and search “457” for the collection of news relevant to updates for the 457 visa programme. Alternatively you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter to receive the updates.
What are the other employer-sponsored Australian work visas?
The consideration for applicants whose occupations are not on the Skilled Occupation Lists would be as follows:
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
Sponsorship by a Labour Agreement
There is an occupation list for the RSMS Direct Entry stream and the list is long. You can check with Work Visa Lawyers to determine the suitability of the occupation for the RSMS Direct Entry.
Labour Agreements are usually a complex process and will require external and professional assistance to get one in place.
Do you need help or more details about your situation?
At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as Migration Review Tribunal, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.
If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:
(08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091