There’s no question that the 457 visa has served a useful purpose in boosting the Australian workforce. As of 31st January 2013, 105,000 migrants had joined the Australian labour force as 457 visa holders.
The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), as it is officially known – allows Australian business to hire skilled labour in a position where there is a shortage of qualified Australians to take up the position. However, an employer must satisfy certain criteria to qualify as a Standard Business Sponsor.
457 to PR Options
As a 457 visa holder, you can convert to Australian permanent residency in 3 ways:
#1. Employer Sponsored – Temporary Transition Pathway.
This arrangement allows you to work in Australia on a 457 visa once you are nominated by a sponsor for a nominated occupation.
#2. Employer Sponsored – Direct Entry Pathway.
To be eligible, you must undergo a skills assessment and have three years work experience in the nominated occupation. However, if the position to be filled is in a regional area, a skills assessment may not be necessary – unless if it’s a trade occupation.
#3. You can be granted a skilled migration visa as you remain in Australia, or on a 457 visa.
Similar to the direct entry pathway, you must undergo a skills assessment and have an invitation from the Australian Government. You can apply either as an independent or with a State or Territory Government Sponsor.
How 457 Visa Sponsorship Works
For an Australian business to be eligible to offer a company sponsorship visa, it must meet several criteria. Key among these is the ability to show commitment to training Australian workers by spending at least 1% of payroll for training and remitting an amount equivalent to at least 2% of payroll to an Australian industry training fund.
The business must also show that the position to be filled is at the required skill level and that remuneration compares favourably to prevailing Australian market rates.
How to Acquire A 457 Visa
For an applicant to be granted a 457 visa, they must possess skills that are of the same standard as the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). In cases where English competency is required, only trade occupations are tested under the 457 visa application rules.
Upon being granted the 457 visa, applicants can stay in Australia for up to 4 years under the company visa sponsorship of Australian business. A 457 visa holder can also transfer to a new employer, but the new employer must be an approved sponsor, and the position must also be approved.
The best pathway for transitioning from a 457 visa to a permanent residency is through the Employer Sponsored scheme or migrating as a skilled worker.
Almost 80% of 457 visa holders who transition to permanent residency is granted a permanent employer sponsored a visa, through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visa programs, or via the Skilled Migration visa program without employer sponsorship.
Acquiring Permanent Residency Via Skilled Migration
To be granted a skilled migration visa your set of skills and other characteristics should meet a certain standard as measured on a points test. It is not a must that you have a job offer or employer in Australia. As a 457 visa holder, you are allowed to remain in Australia as you apply for your skilled migration visa.
Important Australian Immigration 457 Visa Changes
Please note that the 457 to PR options laid out above will operate up to March 2018. The 457 visa program will be abolished and replaced by the new Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (TSS). More changes are expected to be made to the Permanent Employer Nomination Scheme.
From 1st July 2017 Employer sponsored permanent residence visas will also be subject to changes.
Among the key changes expected are:
- Shorter more targeted occupation lists
- A requirement that visa applicants have at least two years’ work experience in the nominated skilled occupation
- Need to undergo mandatory labour market testing
- Extension of the permanent residence eligibility period from 2 to 3 years
- Tighter requirements for English language proficiency
- More restrictive age limits
- Requirement for employers to contribute towards the Skilling Australians Fund
Given these proposed Australian immigration visa changes, it is advisable to submit your PR applications as soon as possible to avoid eventually being locked out of the process. Make a point to talk to our agents to find out if you are still qualified to apply for a PR.