457 Visa Process
This visa is a temporary business visa, valid for up to four years after it is granted. If your sponsor is a start-up business, then the visa will be granted for only 12 months.
The 457 visa allows you to:
- work in Australia for up to four years
- bring your family to work or study in Australia
- travel in and out of Australia as often as you want.
There are 3 processing stages in sponsoring an employee from overseas under the Subclass 457 visa program:
Sponsorship Your employer applies for approval as a standard business sponsor. This is required to nominate an occupation for a subclass 457 visa.
Nomination Your employer nominates an occupation for a prospective or existing subclass 457 visa holder.
Visa application You apply to work in your nominated occupation under the subclass 457 visa. This is the final step to obtaining your subclass 457 visa.
To become a sponsor, you must be able to show that your business:
- is a lawfully operating business
- meets training requirements (Australian businesses only)
- agrees to the number of subclass 457 workers to be nominated
- have no relevant adverse information against your business.
Australian businesses must also demonstrate their commitment to employing local labour as well as non-discriminatory recruitment practices.
There are two ways you can become an approved sponsor:
- Option 1: Apply to be a standard business sponsor
- Option 2: Negotiate a labour agreement.
Option 1: Apply to be a standard business sponsor
The standard business sponsorship arrangement is the most common way to sponsor a skilled worker using the subclass 457 visa program. You must lodge an application to become a standard business sponsor.
You can have only one standard business sponsorship approved at any given time (that is, one sponsorship approval per Australian Business Number if your business is in Australia) which is usually valid for three years. You can apply to extend your sponsorship at any time during this three-year period by lodging a variation application.
The requirements for approval as a standard business sponsor differ for businesses that are outside and in Australia.
Business in Australia
You must attest that you have a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to employing local labour. You must also declare that you have a strong record of, or demonstrated commitment to non-discriminatory work practices.
Make the attestation and the declaration about your workplace record in your sponsorship application form.
You must also meet training requirements. This means you must either:
- meet the training benchmarks if you have traded in Australia for 12 months or more
- have an auditable plan to meet the training benchmarks if you have been trading in Australia for less than 12 months.
Business outside Australia
You must be seeking to employ a skilled worker to either:
- establish, or help establish, a business operation in Australia
- fulfil obligations for a contract in Australia.
If your business does not yet have an operating base in Australia, you are not required to satisfy the training requirement.
A labour agreement is a formal arrangement negotiated between an Australian employer and the Australian Government. You might be able to enter into a labour agreement if you are in one of the following situations:
- the occupation of the workers you want to employ is not listed on the Skilled Occupation Lists (Formerly Known as Form 1121i) or the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)
- you are a recruitment company seeking to sponsor skilled workers to be on-hired to another businesses, and the occupations requested are on the Consolidated Occupations List (CSOL)
- standard immigration options are not suitable.
You must be able to provide evidence that:
- there is a genuine and systemic shortage of skilled workers
- there are no suitably qualified Australian workers available
- you have a commitment to training Australians.
A labour agreement comes into effect when it has been signed by all parties involved in the negotiations. A labour agreement is typically valid for three years.
How to propose a labour agreement
You need, among other things, to:
- identify the relevant skills shortage in the business and why these vacancies cannot be filled by Australian workers (you need to show you have tried to recruit in Australia)
- specify the number of skilled workers needed from outside Australia
- specify the skill and English language requirements that relate to the nominated occupations. Semi-skilled occupations can be considered provided they are specialised and in demand
- include copies of correspondence showing that relevant stakeholders have been consulted.
You might be able to use a template labour agreement if there is one for your industry or your worker’s occupation. A template labour agreement is a set of standard parameters for similar employers: it does not guarantee an agreement will be approved.
If the template does not suit your needs, you may be able to negotiate an individual agreement.
Labour agreements include a requirement to provide training to Australian employees.
When you have a labour agreement in place, you are an approved sponsor for the term of operation of the agreement. You can then nominate skilled workers from outside Australia under the terms of the labour agreement.
You will also need to meet your sponsorship obligations and any other terms and conditions specified in the agreement. If you breach the terms and conditions of your agreement, the Department of Immigration could suspend or terminate it.
The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) ensures that your workers will have enough money to be self-reliant while they are in Australia.
You must demonstrate that the market salary rate for the position you are seeking to fill is greater than the TSMIT. If the market salary rate for the position you want to fill does not exceed the TSMIT, you will not be able to access the subclass 457 visa program.
From 1 July 2013, the TSMIT is set at AUD53 900. It is indexed annually on 1 July.
The current TSMIT level is listed at Temporary Skilled Income Threshold (TSMIT) and market rates exemption level, you can check it before lodging a nomination application.
Labour market testing (LMT) in the Subclass 457 programme was introduced by the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Act 2013 which was passed by Parliament in June 2013 and commences on 23 November 2013.
Standard business sponsors are required to test the local labour market prior to lodging a nomination for certain occupations and, on implementation of the LMT condition, must provide information with their nomination about their attempts to recruit Australian workers and how they have determined on the basis of these attempts that there is no suitably qualified and experienced Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible temporary visa holder available to fill the position.
The LMT requirement does not apply to nominations lodged by parties to a labour agreement.
To apply you must:
- be nominated to work in an approved occupation on the Skilled Occupation Lists (Formerly Known as Form 1121i)
- meet the skill requirements for the nominated occupation
- meet registration and licensing obligations
- speak vocational English
- have been nominated by an approved business
You must work in a skilled occupation that has been approved by the Australian Government.
The list of eligible occupations is available on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). This list includes a number (an ANZSCO Code) next to each occupation title.
You can use this code to find a more detailed description of the qualifications and experience required for each of the eligible occupations from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
You need to show that you have the skills and experience necessary to work in the nominated occupation. The evidence that you can provide is listed in the Document checklist for visa applicants
You are responsible for all your health costs while you are in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.
If your nominated occupation is a trade occupation, you might need to do a skills assessment. The Trades Recognition Australia website has more information on which occupations require an assessment.
If your nominated occupation is 'Project and Program Administrator or Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified', you will need to a skills assessment for migration purposes. TheVETASSESS website has more information. You cannot use a VETASSESS skills assessment that you have had for a Skilled General (Temporary) visa (subclass 485) in your application for this visa.
Registration and licensing
If requested by your visa processing case officer, you must provide evidence from the relevant Australian registration or licensing authority that you hold, or will be able to meet, the registration or licensing requirements to work in your nominated occupation.
Your approved sponsor should be able to provide you with the necessary licensing and registration information.
It is important that you can speak, write and understand a sufficient level of English while you are in Australia. DIBP use the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Occupational English Test (OET) to determine your level of English language proficiency.
If you are sponsored by a standard business sponsor, you must show that you have English language proficiency that is equivalent to:
- an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test score of at least 5 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening, or
- a score of at least 'B' in each of the four components of an Occupational English Test (OET).
You do not need to show that you meet this requirement if your nominated occupation does not need a level of English language proficiency for a grant of registration, licence or membership and any of the following apply to you:
- You are to be paid a salary that is more than the English-language-requirement exempt amount. This amount is set at a gross base salary excluding all deductions. The current amount is listed on the gazetted list of English language exemption.
- You hold a passport from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America.
- You have completed at least five years of continuous full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where instruction was conducted in English.
If your nominated occupation needs a level of English language proficiency for a grant of registration, licence or membership, you need to provide evidence that you have the required level. You can do this by providing evidence that you have the relevant registration, licence or membership.
If you are sponsored by a party to a labour agreement, you must meet the English language ability specified in the agreement.