At True Blue Migration, we’re constantly being asked about the ever-popular 457 visa.
Applying for a Temporary Work (Long Stay) visa is often the first step on the road towards starting a new life Down Under. As such, it’s vitally important that you know all of the necessary 457 visa requirements, giving you the best chance of making a successful application and turning your dreams into reality.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to address the most common queries.
What is a 457 visa?
The Temporary Work (Long Stay) 457 visa is an employer-sponsored visa that allows the employee to work for up to four years. It’s the most popular type of employer-sponsored visa in Australia. In fact, Government data released in March 2016 shows that there are over 400,000 457 visa holders currently living in Australia. Most of these 457 holders are on the four-year visa but if a newly-established company is the sponsor, the 457 visa will be 18 months long. It can be renewed in the future.
The visa was first introduced 20 years ago as a way of enabling employers to fill skill gaps in areas where local workers are in short supply.
Am I eligible for a 457 visa?
You can only be nominated for a 457 visa if your employer is an approved business sponsor or has negotiated a labour agreement with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Becoming a standard business sponsor is the most common route.
Your employer will be required to provide evidence that they run a lawfully operating business and have the financial means to meet their obligations as a sponsor. A 457 visa holder cannot be paid less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), which currently stands at $53,900.
If you’re being sponsored by a business that’s been trading for more than a year, they will need to show that they invest in training for their Australian employees. To meet the ‘training benchmark’ for this visa subclass, the employer must spend at least 1% of their total payroll amount on training Australian citizens and permanent residents.
If an employer cannot meet the training benchmark there is an option to make a donation of 2% to a recognised training fund.
Training provided in-house can count towards the training benchmark, as well as external expenditure. Your Migration Agent can help you determine what training can be counted.
To be eligible for a 457 visa, your nominated job role must be listed on the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL).
You must also:
- Have the right skills, qualifications or experience needed for the nominated position
- Meet English language requirements or be exempt based on your passport
- Be able to obtain any licences or registration needed to carry out your work in Australia. This applies to some trades jobs.
- Be over the age of 18
- Arrange 457 visa health insurance
How do I make a 457 visa application?
Once your employer has been approved as a sponsor, they will submit a nomination. This essentially means that they’re asking the Department of Immigration for permission to sponsor someone in a certain position.
Employers are sometimes asked to prepare a ‘genuine position statement’ to confirm that they have a genuine need to sponsor someone. If this is requested, your Migration Agent will be able to assist you in putting the submission together.
Once a nomination has been given the green light, the applicant can lodge a 457 visa application to fill the position. Provided they meet the criteria, the application should be approved within around 10 – 14 weeks.
If your current visa is about to expire, the sponsorship approval, nomination and visa can be lodged all at the same time.
If you decide to use a Registered Migration Agent, they will assist you from start to finish. They can liaise with your employer on your behalf, communicate with immigration for you and manage every step of the process.
Understanding Australian Visa Jargon
Trying to get your head around the 457 visa process and understand all of the associated lingo is not easy!
We put this blog post together to explain some of the main terms you’re likely to come across.
We like to keep things simple and jargon-free, so if you have any questions about some of the terms commonly used in the 457 visa application process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
457 visa costs – How much will an application set me back?
457 visa fees vary depending on whether you add a partner and children to your application.
Generally, immigration fees are as follows:
- Standard Business Sponsorship: $420
- Nomination: $330
- Fee for main applicant: $1,060
- Fee for partner: $1,060
- Fee for children under 18: $265
Please note, an additional charge of $700 will apply for applicants who have previously applied for certain temporary visas in Australia such as a second Working Holiday or a student visa. This $700 applies to family members included in the visa.
If you use a Registered Migration Agent to manage your application, their professional fee must be paid on top of this.
Are there any special requirements and conditions I need to know about?
There are too many requirements to list individually here, for both the sponsor and the applicant. We have already listed the main ones above.
In our experience, 457 visa health insurance is one of the requirements that surprises (and annoys) applicants the most! It’s a requirement that the applicant and their dependants have a health insurance policy that provides adequate cover during their time in Australia.
As part of the application process, you’ll be required to produce a letter or insurance certificate confirming that your cover has been arranged.
There are some exemptions from this rule. If you’re from a country that has reciprocal healthcare arrangements with Australia then you may be eligible to apply for Medicare cover instead. Chat with your Migration Agent and they’ll point you in the right direction.
For some applicants, meeting English language requirements can also be a monumental pain. Check out this guide for more details.
What’s the average processing time for a 457 visa?
There’s no exact answer to this. It depends on a whole range of factors, such as the time of year and whether a Case Officer requests further information about you or your employer.
Generally, most of our clients are approved within a 10 – 14 week period. Sometimes we’ve seen rapid approvals within 3 or 4 weeks. Your 457 visa processing time really depends on your circumstances.
How can I find a sponsor in Australia?
This really depends on your industry and your level of experience. Some of our clients were head-hunted in their home countries by Australian employers who are in dire need of their skills. Others came to Australia on Working Holiday Visas and found sponsors whilst working casually.
You can also send out speculative emails to Australian employers and recruitment companies.
We’re often asked whether we can assist clients in finding sponsorship. The answer is no, unfortunately we can’t. If you want us to manage your 457 visa application, you’ll need to have a sponsor already lined up. If your employer is keen but doesn’t know where to start, we’re happy to provide them with an overview of the process.
Can I bring my family to Australia if I have a 457 visa?
Your partner and kids can be included on your visa application.
If you want to know more about parent visa options, click here.
Can my employer cancel my visa?
The 457 visa is a great option for employers and applicants. It’s quick and relatively cheap compared to other visa subclasses. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback is that it’s not a permanent residency visa and this means that your boss can terminate your employment.
If your employment ceases, your employer must let the Department of Immigration and Border Protection know. Once this has been done, immigration will contact you and let you know that you have 90 days to either find a new sponsor or leave the country.
In our experience, most 457 visa holders who lose their jobs do manage to find another sponsor during this three-month period.
Check out our guide to changing 457 sponsors here.
How do I go from a 457 visa to permanent residency?
After two years of working for an employer on a 457 visa, many people are eligible to apply for Australian permanent residency. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.
We produced this blog article which you may find useful if you’re transitioning from a 457 to PR via the Temporary Resident Transition stream.
Some 457 holders are eligible for permanent residency well before the two years has elapsed. This depends on a few things, such as their occupation, location in Australia, qualifications and in some cases, being eligible for a skill assessment.
If you’re already on a 457 visa and wondering whether you’re eligible for PR then please feel free to get in touch with us.
Our consultations are free and we can assess your eligibility.
Who do I need to inform if I want to cancel my 457 visa?
Well, firstly you should let your employer know!
Once the awkward stuff is out of the way, you can drop immigration a line and tell them that you’re off home.
Don’t forget to cancel your health insurance policy and sort our reclaiming your superannuation.
How has the 457 visa process changed in recent years?
How hasn’t it changed?!
Much to the frustration of employers, Migration Agents and applicants, 457 visa program requirements are constantly changing. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection like to keep us on our toes, that’s for sure.
An in-depth review of the program was carried out recently as part of Government plans to improve the overall integrity of the system. The review yielded 51 recommendations and the Government says it’s keen to adopt most of them.
The recommendations range from changing English language requirements to reducing red tape.
Some changes in the last few years include an increase in the TSMIT salary threshold from $51,400 to $53,900 and an extension in the length of time a 457 visa holder can stay in Australia once their employment has ceased. Previously, a 457 visa holder had 28 days to leave Australia. Thankfully, that’s now been increased to 90 days.
One of the main benefits of using a Registered Migration Agent to manage your application is that we stay abreast of these changes so that you don’t have to.
Dispelling 457 visa misconceptions
We receive dozens of calls every week from people regarding the 457 visa program. Many of these callers mistakenly believe they aren’t eligible for a 457 visa, when in actual fact they are.
Lots of people listen to their friends or read posts on forums and take what’s being said there as a given. It’s really important that any migration advice you receive comes from a Registered Migration Agent or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. As we said earlier, the visa program is constantly changing and your eligibility may also change.
We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to seek professional guidance.
To arrange a free consultation with a Registered Migration Agent, call (WA) 08 6189 5333 (VIC) 03 9038 9070 or click here.
Remember that True Blue Migration is currently offering SMG readers a $150 discount off visa management fees so don’t forget to mention that you were referred by SMG. :-)