Trends in the 457 visa program have been previously discussed and there are some interesting statistics surrounding the increasing number of 457 visa holders successfully making the transition to permanent residence.
Figures released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) show that in the migration program year ending December 2013, the number of 457 visa holders granted a permanent or provisional residence visa increased by 44.2% higher when compared with the same period in the previous year. In numbers it was 24440 up from 16950.
The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) provides a transitional residence pathway (in addition to a Direct Entry pathway) and around 60% of permanent visas issued to 457 visa holders were under the ENS visa. The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) made up almost 15% while just over 14% applied through the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program.
There are some important aspects that 457 visa holders need to keep in mind when transitioning through the ENS pathway. The key things to remember are:
- Applicants in the transitional residence pathway must have worked for their sponsor for at least two years in their nominated occupation;
- Applicants applying through the direct entry pathway must complete a pre-application skills assessment in their nominated occupation and have at least three years of relevant work experience;
- Applicants must be under 50 years of age at the time they apply unless exemptions apply to their situation;
- A higher standard of English is required under the direct entry pathway for non-native English speakers;
- In all cases applicants must demonstrate they have the skills and qualifications required for the position to be filled.
It’s also important to discuss your intention with your employer as their support is critical to the success of the application. The employer must:
- Have met and maintained their training obligations under the 457 visa program for every year of the sponsorship; and
- Have a genuine full-time position available for at least two years.
This visa pathway is an excellent opportunity to gain permanent residence.Applications can be complicated by employers circumstances and family issues so ability to apply is important. Another reason for applying if you qualify and if you have a sponsor, is that the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List ( CSOL) can and does change so don’t be caught out.
It is indeed critical to ensure tha your sponsor has complied with their training obligations , because if they haven’t then they may be excluded from nominating you , which leaves only the Direct Entry in this sponsored group.
It is often the most difficult thing to clarify because employers often don’t like sharing this financial information with employees.
Without this reassurance, however , you may get the the end of your 2 years working with the proposed nominator and discover that the employer hasn’t met their obligations, and if you cannot be skill assessment ( presuming in excess of 3 years experience), then you may be stuck.