The sub class 457 temporary work visa program (457 visa program) enables Australian businesses (and in some cases overseas companies with local offices,) the opportunity as a Standard Business Sponsor to source and engage overseas skilled staff (from outside Australia or at times inside Australia if on a qualifying visa), on a sponsored visa to work in their businesses where there are existing and increasing skill shortages in occupations.

The 457 visa program is a 3 stage procedure for new employer sponsors;
  • First stage: the employer must be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS) by showing that it is lawfully operating, has the capacity to sponsor and that it meets critical criteria including an obligation to train local staff including a 1% of payroll spend requirement per year (see training benchmarks below);
  • Second stage: the employer must nominate the ANZSCO position from the new 457 skills list: Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL)- Schedule 1 & 2, the actual 457 position nominee, they must pay ‘market’ salary (which can be no less than the TSMIT -see below), and must identify skills and responsibilities of the position; and
  • Third (final) stage: the 457 visa applicant’s skills must be matched with the nominated ANZSCO occupation.

*The job title is often different from the nominated occupation.

After SBS approval

Once a an employer has been approved to sponsor, it must now confirm the number of new 457 temporary nomination for the life of its sponsorship depending on the approval given:

  • 6 years (for accredited sponsors),
  • 3 years for SBS or
  • 12 months in cases of start up companies (less than 12 months operating)

The ability to sponsor will last the length of the sponsorship approval or until the number of nominated positions runs out – whichever comes first.

After approval of the sponsorship, the usual procedure is; nomination of position and visa approval for visa periods up to 4 years, unless the nominee already has a 457 visa. If so, only a nomination will be required for the balance of the existing 457 visa.

1 July 2013 changes to the 457 temporary skilled worker program

There were many changes made both on and after 1 July 2013 including the introduction of Labour Market Testing (LMT) which commenced in November 2013 (See my 457 visa blog on LMT) and a a further 15% increase of visa application fees.

Other changes included make the training benchmarks a sponsorship obilgation and not just a commitment, the ‘genuine position” test, having to nominate a set number of positions prior to approval, skill assessment for generalist occupations, changes to English testing, restrictive rules for start up companies  and changes to the registration and licensing requirements, to name a few.

For more information on how these changes might affect your sponsorship, or how to meet these requirements, please contact us

There was also an increase to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) and the English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET)  - both indexed:

From 1 July 2013, the TSMIT and the ELSET, were increased by 4.8 per cent, in line with the Australia-wide increase in average weekly earnings. This has increased TSMIT from $51 400 to $53 900 and the ELSET from $92 000 to $96 400.

For more information on Employer sponsors, Temporary visa applicants or Labour agreements please click on the text to take you to the appropriate page.