The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily. The full title of this subclass of visa was Temporary Business (Long Stay) and was introduced soon after John Howard became Prime Minister in 1996. The title of the visa was changed to Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa on 24 November 2012. Applications are processed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Holders of this visa may be employed for a period of up to four years and may bring any eligible family members, including same-sex partners, who have unrestricted work and study rights in Australia. Holders of the subclass 457 visa have no limit on the number of times they travel in and out of Australia.
Employers must be approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as an approved sponsor. Primary subclass 457 visa holders are restricted to working for their sponsor and may not work (or volunteer) for any other organisation (other than associated entities as defined by the Corporations Act). In order to change employer and sponsor, the "new employer" must become an approved 457 sponsor, if they are not one already, and then lodge a 457 nomination. Once the nomination is approved the employer obligations will shift to the new employer and the visa applicant is restricted to only working for them. There is no need to apply for a new 457 visa within the validity of the visa.
Employees must also meet minimum levels of skill and English language requirements, in addition to character and health requirements. For these requirements see the 457 visa checklist. Some trades occupations and passport holders from certain countries may be required to do a skills assessment (see the TRA website).
It is common for 457 visa holders to apply for a permanent Australia residents visa with a view to permanently settle in Australia and become Australian citizens.
Restrictions on the 457 visa
The visa conditions state that the 457 visa holder is confined to working for the nominated occupation and sponsor. The worker also must not have ceased employment for more than ninety consecutive days.
457 visa update
The Australian Government has reviewed the 457 skilled immigrant visa and has made some provisions that will fast track the transition to permanent residency starting on 1 July 2012. Starting in 1 July 2012, non-resident workers on the 457 skilled immigration visa will be able to transition to permanent residency if they have two years with the employer who has sponsored them and if the employer provides a full-time position in the 457 visa holder's nominated occupation.
Furthermore, the Australian Government has recognized that 457 visas deserve priority in review as they are highly responsive to the needs of the market. This includes allowing overseas workers to work in Australia on a six month short term work visa before applying for a 457 visa.
DIAC statistics at the end of December 2014 show that there were more than 200,000 primary 457 visa holders in Australia, an increase of 100% on the previous year.
An audit by the Fair Work Ombudsman conducted between Sept 2013 and June 2014 found that 40% of 457 visa holders were no longer employed by a sponsor or were being paid well below the statutory minimum wage of $53,900.
In October 2014, the Abbott government announced that it would making it easier for businesses to apply for 457 visa workers by relaxing rules for English language competency to broaden the pool of potential workers from overseas.
With the commencement of the Japan free-trade agreement in 2015, employers no longer need to offer jobs to locals or prove that none were available to fill vacancies before employing Japanese nationals eligible for 457 visas.
In December 2014, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection released recommendations to relax 457 visa requirements. The recommendations include extending the six month short term work visa to 12 months with no obligation to apply for a 457 visa. The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has criticized this change on the grounds that it avoids the 457 visa's requirement for English language and skills tests and employers would not be required to demonstrate they had first tried to fill job vacancies with Australian workers.
- Cch (2010). Australian Master Human Resources Guide 2010. CCH Australia Limited. pp. 705–. ISBN 9781921593666. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- 457 visa holders obligations
- Aston, Heath (19 October 2014). "Leaked report raises concerns over 457 visa". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Toscano, Jack (15 January 2015). "Unions claim discrimination in job ads seeking migrants on temporary visas". The Age. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Patty, Anna (7 January 2015). "Overseas workers will be allowed to work for a year without applying for 457 visas". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
PAM3: Sch2Visa457 Business (Long Stay) - Nomination & visa applications
- Temporary Business Visa (Long Stay) - Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457)
- Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List - the list of occupations eligible for a 457 visa - from the Immigration Department web site.