457 Visa - What is going on?!
Many of us would have heard on 19 April 2017 that the Australian Government is "abolishing the 457 visa". This caused a lot of panic among the foreign workers and students who were hoping to work in Australia after graduating.
Not all hope is lost. Yes, 457 still exists at this moment and you can still apply for it. However, it will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa in March 2018. There are other pathways for those wishing to work in Australia after March 2018. Let's have a further look in to what is actually going on with the 457-visa law change.
What is 457 Visa? The simple explanation:
457 is the subclass number of the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa in Australia. What you need is an approved sponsor, an approved position nomination for the occupation and a successful visa application. If you've worked for your employer on the 457 visa for long enough, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent residency under the transition stream. The catch is, you must always work for the sponsor in the nominated occupation with the exact same condition only. But hey, you can bring your family with you and they can work or study and travel as much as they would like to!
4 years visa - if your occupation is on the Combined list of eligible skilled occupations
2 years visa - if your occupation is not on the MLTSSL
Who can be a sponsor?
Are you operating your business lawfully? Do you usually employ local Australian labour and are non-discriminatory when it comes to recruitment? You could become an approved sponsor. There are 2 types of sponsors:
Standard Business Sponsor - most common type which last for 5 years.
Labour Agreement - special sponsorship arrangement which lasts for 3 years usually.
Sponsors have obligations that they must keep. They must:
cooperate with inspectors
ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment
provide records and information to the Minister
tell us when certain events occur
ensure the visa holder participates in the nominated occupation, program or activity
not recover from, transfer or charge certain costs to another person
pay travel costs to enable sponsored people to leave Australia
pay costs to remove unlawful non-citizens
provide training to Australians and permanent residents
not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices
Be careful if you are thinking of opening up a business to sponsor yourself, your partner or family member. Talk to Sophos Migration Specialist first.
What occupations/position can I nominate?
This list is ever changing and that is why it is so important to have a registered migration agent handling your case to keep you updated with these changes. If you would like to have a glimpse of the law, feel free to click here.
As you have seen or heard that "caveats" or special conditions apply to many of the occupations too. The popular occupations that now have caveats on them are accountant, Baker, Cafe/Restaurant Manager, Chef, Cook, Customer Service Manager, Finance Manager, Graphic Designer, Hairdresser, ICT Project Manager, Massage Therapist, Mechanical Engineering Technician, Pastrycook, and Taxation Accountant. Scroll down to see more details.
Some of the things Immigration considers in a nomination application:
Who is the nominee?
Will the approved sponsor be the direct employer to the nominee?
Are the employment terms and conditions of the nominee equivalent to an Australian worker performing equivalent work? What is the market salary?
Is the position genuine?
Is the salary higher than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)? This could change year to year. It is currently $53,900.
Has the business tested the local labour market first?
Who can apply for the 457 visa?
Do you have a business that would like to hire and sponsor you? That is great! But do not overlook the final requirements which can be the difference between a visa grant and a visa refusal.
Skills - Are you qualified? Do you have enough work experience? Do you need an approved skills assessment? Do you have the license or registration required?
English - If you are not exempt, is your IELTS score at least 5 overall with nothing less than 4.5? Have you done PTE, OET or CAE instead?
Health - Do you have an appropriate health insurance? Have you organized your health examination?
Character - Do you have a criminal record? Do you have debts to the Australian Government?
Want to be sponsored as an accountant for your uncle's shop or friend's restaurant? Think again! The nomination must not include:
clerical, book keeper and accounting clerk positions
positions in businesses that have an annual turnover of less than AUD$1M
positions in businesses that have fewer than five employees.
Brumby's or Baker's Delight? Think again! The nomination must not include:
relate to mass or standardised production, including positions based in a franchise or factory, as opposed to specialist production
involve full or partial production of food product for distribution to another location
predominantly involve the use of pre-prepared food product from another location.
Cafe or Restaurant Manager
McDonald's, KFC or the takeaway fish and chips bar down the road? Think again! The nomination must not include positions in a limited service restaurant, such as:
fast food or takeaway food services
fast casual restaurants
drinking establishments that offer only a limited food service
limited service cafes including, but not limited to, coffee shops or mall cafes
limited service pizza restaurants.
Chef and Cook
Like to Cafe or Restaurant Manager, the nomination must not include positions in a limited service restaurant and must not be involved in a mass production in a factory setting.