The 457 visa is the most commonly utilized program under working visas and is designed to enable Australian or overseas employers to address labor shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian. There are three processing stages to sponsorship under the subclass 457 visa programme, the first two of which requires effort on the sponsoring employer’s part and the final step being the visa application which allows applicants to bring dependent family members.
The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) allows skilled workers to come to Australia and work for an approved business for up to:
- four years after it is granted – if your occupation is listed on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL)
- two years after it is granted – if your occupation is not listed on the MLTSSL.
On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. The implementation of the reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.
Step 1. Sponsorship by Approved Standard Business Sponsor
Businesses wishing to sponsor overseas workers must first apply to become a standard business sponsor (SBS). The general requirements are:
- you are a lawfully operating business in or outside Australia
- you meet prescribed training benchmarks
- there is no adverse information known to the department about you, or a person who associated with the business
- you attest, in writing, that you have a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, employing local labor
Being a standard business sponsor carries with it also a myriad of obligations which are in place to ensure that overseas skilled workers are protected from exploitation. The obligations are also designed to mitigate the 457 program being used to fill non-genuine skills shortages and to undercut local labor wages and conditions.
The Department of Immigration & Border Protection have dedicated 457 Monitoring Team which is tasked with ensuring ongoing compliance by standard business sponsors. This monitoring team undertake random or targeted audits and can either request documentation in writing or visit businesses on-site. It is crucial that standard business sponsors understand their obligations before sponsoring overseas workers and ensure their continued compliance. Heavy sanctions are in place if sponsors fail to satisfy a sponsorship obligation.
Southern Stone provides tailored compliance and monitoring service to all standard business sponsors to assist businesses with record-keeping, complying with training benchmarks and other practices important to satisfy the DIBP’s compliance measures.
Step 2 – Nominating a Position
To lodge a nomination, you must be an approved business sponsor or have lodged a sponsorship application. You can lodge a sponsorship application at the same time as a nomination (and visa application – where applicable).
This stage involves the standard business sponsor identifying a position in the business that needs to be filled by an overseas skilled worker and meet the following criteria:
- the nominated position is a position eligible for sponsorship
- the skills and experience required for the position
- Labor Market Testing (certain positions may be exempt) must be conducted to demonstrate that sufficient effort has been spent on identifying appropriate Australian staff
- evidence that the nominated position is on equivalent terms and conditions of employment as any local worker in the same position
- meet the market salary rate, “Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)”
- meet the “genuineness” criterion
Step 3. Visa Application
To apply you must:
- be nominated by an approved sponsor to work in an occupation on the list of eligible skilled occupations
- meet the skill requirements, and any registration and licensing obligations for the nominated occupation
- speak a certain level of English.
You can be in or outside Australia when you lodge your application.
Current 457 visa holders will continue under the existing 457 rules until further notice by the department. If they wish to transfer an existing 457 visa, this may then fall into the new regulations.
By March 2018, the implementation of the reforms will be complete and the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will fully come into effect.
It is one of the most popular methods of immigration to Australia given Australia’s skills shortage and we at Southern Stone International have helped hundreds of businesses and individuals in