In Australia, the 457 visa was the most common visa for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work temporarily in Australia (it is currently in the process of being abolished by the federal government led by Malcolm Turnbull). 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). On 18 April 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the 457 visas will be replaced with two new visa categories.
Holders of a 457 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. "If your sponsor is a start-up business or has traded in Australia for less than 12 months, then the visa will be granted for 18 months." 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 be or become an approved 457 sponsor 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 working for it. 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. 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
A 457 visa holder can only work in a nominated occupation for the sponsor employer. Medical practitioners and general managers must work in their nominated occupation but they can work for employers other than their sponsor or an associated entity of their sponsor. The specific occupations to which this rule applies are listed in Exemption from the requirement to work directly for the sponsor. The worker must also not have ceased employment for more than 60 consecutive days.
457 visa update
The Australian Government reviewed the 457 skilled immigrant visa and made some provisions to quicken the transition to permanent residency starting on 1 July 2012. From that date, non-resident workers on the 457 skilled immigration visa are 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 recognised that 457 visas deserve priority in review as they are highly responsive to the needs of the market. Overseas workers will be able to work in Australia on a six-month short term work visa before they apply for a 457 visa.
As at 30 June 2016, the size of the subclass 457 programme was 94,890 Primary visa holders in Australia.
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 make 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 to prove that none could fill vacancies before Japanese nationals eligible for 457 visas are employed.
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.
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- "Temporary Work (Skilled) visa". Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- Cch (2010). Australian Master Human Resources Guide 2010. CCH Australia Limited. pp. 705–. ISBN 9781921593666. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- 457 visa holders obligations
- "457 Quarterly Report" (pdf). border.gov.au. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- 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.
- Anderson, Stephanie (18 April 2017). "Government abolishing 457 visas, Malcolm Turnbull says". ABC News. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- Karp, Paul (18 April 2017). "Australian government to replace 457 temporary work visa". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- 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.