457 visa

As a news flash, the previous Skilled Occupation List ( SOL) has been replaced by the new Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List ( MLTSSL) and the previous secondary Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List ( CSOL) has been replaced by the Short Term Skilled Occupation List ( STSOL).

Some occupations have been removed from the MLTSSL but the greatest impact is in relation to 457 visas . The 457 visa program been split into 2 streams , viz occupations on the MLTSSL – up to 4 years + a pathway to permanent residence and occupations on the STSOL only, which are restricted to 2 year visas + 2 years extension only with no PR pathway.

New 457 list for 4 year visas with PR pathway and 2 years + 2 year ext only

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.

This page is currently being revised for more significant changes and the comments to date are interim only to the changes foreshadowed on the 1 July 2017. The 457 temporary visa program will undergo more dramatic change in March 2018 when the visa will be re-named the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. Sponsorship aspects will continue largely the same until March 2018 when a series of additional levies will be imposed upon employees wishing to sponsor overseas workers. More on this will be advised when the nature of the changes become clearer.

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 meeting 1% (Training Benchmark B -with local employees) or 2% (Training Benchmark A- if they have no local workers) of their payroll spend, (including super)  per year from the anniversary of the sponsorship grant (see training benchmarks below);
  • Second stage: the employer must nominate the ANZSCO position from either the MLTSSL or the STSOL , they must pay the nominee ‘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
  • 18 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.

‘Self Sponsorship’ for a 457 visa

We often receive queries from persons wishing to know about ‘self sponsorship’ for a 457 visa. There is however no such thing as ‘self sponsorship’. The sponsorship regulations require an employer- employee relationship, so a sole trader cannot sponsor himself as there will be no separate legal relationship between them. What is required is that a separate legal relationship must be established between themselves and the sponsor. A company and a partnership can be a sponsor as they are both a separate legal entity and a sole trader can sponsor other workers if the employer- employee relationship exists.

‘Self sponsorship’ scenarios are also looked at critically by the DIBP to ensure that the sponsoring company is not being used solely as a vehicle to create a visa opportunity. A potential start up company will have to provide the usual financial and market documentation , including business plan and financing and market/ production projections to establish itself – together with an auditable training program- to prove its bona fides as a sponsor. Start up companies are limited to a 12 month sponsorship period, after which time they must re-apply presumably with some market form and evidence to show performance and capacity to discharge its primary obligations to the visa holder and dependents.

This arrangement is very much considered at arms-length , so any intending applicant wishing to be sponsored by such a company must ensure that the sponsor can establish that the position is genuine and that the visa applicant can meet the occupation requirements in terms of skills and qualifications and also can provide sufficient evidence to show the sponsor’s financial capacity for at least the next immediate 12 months is satisfactory relative to the proposed (market) salary.

Signet has assisted self sponsored applicants to a successful outcome so, depending always on the quality of evidence provided, we are confident that – suitably assessed- your application will be successful.

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