The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) also popularly known as 457 visa allows overseas skilled workers to travel to Australia to fulfil the labour shortages and work for an approved business in their nominated occupation for up to four years. The visa applicant can be in or outside Australia? when the visa application is lodged.
General eligibility requirements
The main visa applicant must:
- be nominated to work in an approved occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL)
- meet the skill requirements for the nominated occupation
- be required to do a skill assessment depending on the occupation and/or country of passport
- meet registration and licensing obligations (if applicable)
- meet the English language requirement
- have been nominated by an approved business
This employer sponsored business visa can be valid up to four years after it is granted. This visa allows the nominated employee to work in Australia with the approved sponsor for the life of the visa, bring dependent family members to work or study in Australia and travel in and out of Australia without restriction.
English language requirement
It is important that the main applicant can speak, write and understand a sufficient level of English while working in Australia. The following tests are used to determine the level of English language proficiency:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – overall test score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the four test components
- Occupational English Test (OET) – Score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
- Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based test (TOEFL iBT) – total score of at least 36 with a score of at least 3 for each of the test components of listening and reading, and a score of at least 12 for each of the test components of writing and speaking.
- Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic Test – overall PTE Academic test score of at least 36 with a score of at least 30 in each of the four test components
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Test (which was conducted on or after 1 January 2015) – overall test score of at least 154 with a score of at least 147 in each of the four test components.
- Health Requirements – all applicants must meet certain health requirement. The health examinations will depend on various personal factors such as country of citizenship, period of stay, time spent in another country during the last five years and the intended activities in Australia.
- Health Insurance – all applicants must have adequate health insurance which should provide at least the level of coverage required for the purpose of the stay.
- Character requirements – all applicants must meet certain character requirements and may be requested to provide police certificate, if applicable.
The steps involved in applying for 457 visa can be categorized into three stages.
- Sponsorship – The sponsor, a lawfully operating business with no relevant adverse information against it, must take approval for sponsoring and appointing overseas employees to be posted in Australia. The validity of a sponsorship approval can be up to 6 years and an approved sponsor might appoint overseas employee as per requirement for up to four years. If the sponsor is an Australian business, it must also demonstrate its commitment to employing local labour as well as non-discriminatory recruitment practices.
- There are two ways to become an approved sponsor:
- Apply to be a standard business sponsor
- Negotiate a labour arrangement
- Relevancy of the nominated occupation to the position to be filled
- Relevancy of the skills and experience of the nominated overseas worker to the position to be filled
- The salary rate to be paid to the prospective overseas employee
Including family in the application
The main applicant, upon written consent from the sponsor, can include the following people in the visa application at the time of lodgement:
- dependent children
These family members must meet the set requirements for inclusion and documentary evidence of their relationship to the main applicant should be provided.
Visa holder’s obligations
Primary and secondary visa holders must comply with certain conditions, as failure to do so might result in the visa being cancelled.
The primary visa holders must:
- only work in the nominated occupation and for the sponsor, who nominated the position
- start work within 90 days’ deadline, as applicable
- not cease employment for a period of more than 90 consecutive days
- obtain any licence, registration or membership necessary to perform your occupation in Australia within the set 90 days’ deadline, as applicable and comply with any provision, regulation and obligation.
All primary and secondary visa holders must:
- maintain adequate arrangement for health insurance while in Australia
- report changes in circumstances including new residential address, new passport, or pregnancy, birth or death in the family.
Sponsorship obligations apply to all sponsors of subclass 457 visa holders. They are in place to ensure that overseas skilled workers are protected from exploitation, and that the subclass 457 visa programme is being used to meet genuine skills shortages. The sponsor could be liable to action if the sponsorship obligations are violated.
Some of the sponsorship obligations are as follows:
- Ensure that equivalent terms and conditions of employment are maintained and keep records that show the compliance.
- Ensure that the visa holder participates in the nominated occupation, program or activity.
- Should not recover, transfer or charge certain costs to another person.
- Inform DIBP regarding changes in relevant events and/or circumstances.
- Provide training to Australian and permanent residents as per the regulation.
- Should not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices