Australia’s 457 visa program is the most commonly used program for Australian or overseas businesses that wish to bring overseas skilled employees to Australia to work.
As at 30 September 2016, there were 172,187 primary and secondary holders of 457 visa in Australia, with 23,486 of 457 visas granted in the first quarter of the 2016 – 2017 financial year (as per the statistical data published by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) at www.data.gov.au).
The 457 visa program provides approved employers with alternative hiring options, enabling them to bring in scarce talent from overseas that they cannot find in the Australian labour market. It also offers overseas skilled employees with a less rigid pathway of immigration into Australia for themselves and their families, whilst also providing the opportunity for a rewarding career in Australia.
What follows is an overview of the major benefits and the essential requirements of the Australia’s 457 visa program.
Benefits of the 457 Visa Program
The 457 visa program allows businesses to employ overseas employees for a period of 1 day to 4 years in the occupations listed in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL). There are currently 651 occupations listed on the CSOL that are eligible for 457 visa program.
There is no limit to the number of eligible skilled positions an approved business sponsor can nominate.
Furthermore, Australia’s 457 visa program remains uncapped for CSOL eligible occupations. They include IT roles such as software and application programmers, ICT business and system analysts, ICT managers, ICT support and test engineers, ICT sales professionals, and database and system administrators and ICT security. Such roles are currently in demand in Australia for many businesses ranging from start-ups to top ASX 100 listed companies undergoing digital transformations.
Unlike the applicants for 189 skilled independent visas, 457 visa applicants are not limited by the restrictions applying to 189 visas, including having to be under 50 years old and having to pass specific points tests.
There are two types of applicants who may be granted a 457 visa: primary and secondary. A primary applicant is an overseas employee who has been sponsored by a business who is an approved Australian or overseas employer. A secondary applicant is a primary sponsored employee’s family member: a child or a partner, including married or de facto, of the same or opposite sex.
Secondary 457 visa holders are granted unrestricted rights to work and study in Australia.
There is no limit on the number of times the holder of a 457 visa can travel in and out of Australia.
Furthermore, 457 visa holders normally have an option to transition to permanent residency in Australia if they have worked for 2 years, while holding a subclass 457 visa, in the same occupation with their nominating employer who wants to offer them a permanent position in that occupation.
A 457 visa is a sponsored visa. In broad terms, it is a 3-stage process, which includes a sponsorship application and nomination application both submitted by the sponsoring employer and then a visa application submitted by the skilled employee.
To become a sponsor, the employer must demonstrate that their business is a lawfully operating business and has no relevant adverse information against it. Australian businesses must also demonstrate they are committed to employing and training local labour as well as non-discriminatory recruitment practices.
The sponsor may also apply for accreditation by the DIBP if they have a long history of good dealings with the DIBP. This includes lodging a high volume of good quality, decision-ready applications and an excellent record of compliance with relevant laws. The advantages are that the accredited sponsor will receive priority processing of all their nomination and visa applications.
The sponsor is normally required to test the local labour market prior to lodging a nomination and must provide information with their nomination about their attempts to recruit Australian staff.
The sponsor must pay their nominated employee the market salary rate and demonstrate that the market salary rate for the position they are seeking to fill is greater than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), currently set at AU$ 53,900. If the market salary rate for the position does not exceed the TSMIT, the sponsor will not be able to access the 457 visa program.
The nominated employee has to show that he/she has the skills and experience necessary to work in the nominated occupation and have a sufficient level of English language proficiency. If requested by the DIBP’s officer, he/she must provide evidence from the relevant Australian registration or licensing authority that he/she holds, or will be able to meet, the registration or licensing requirements to work in the nominated occupation.
A primary holder of a subclass 457 visa holder must only work in his/her nominated occupation and only work for the sponsor who nominated the position he/she is working in (if the sponsor is a standard business sponsor and is an Australian business, then the nominated employee can also work for an associated entity of the sponsor).
Immigration Lawyers Sydney at Pavuk Legal can advise and assist you with the Australia’s 457 skilled visa program and many other legal aspects.
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