AUSTRALIA: Changes to the Subclass 457 Visa Programme

The Australian Government is implementing significant changes to the 457 visa programme, which will come into force on the 1st July 2013.

The 457 visa program is designed to enable employers to fill skill shortages by recruiting qualified overseas workers where they cannot find appropriately skilled Australians.

The 457 visa is a temporary visa, intended for filling short to medium term skill shortages to meet business needs.

Summary of the planned changes to the 457 visa programme:

  • The introduction of a genuineness criterion under which the department may refuse a nomination if the position does not fit within the scope of the activities of the business;
  • The removal of English language exemptions for certain positions.  This change will benefit visa holders by ensuring that 457 visa holders, who have an ongoing position with their employer and want to apply for permanent residence in the long-run are not disadvantaged because of their language ability. Applicants who are nominated with a salary greater than $92 000 will continue to be exempted from the English language requirement;
  •  Enhanced regulatory powers for the department to ensure that the working conditions of sponsored visa holders meet Australian standards and that subclass 457 workers cannot be exploited or used to undercut local workers;
  • Amendments to existing training benchmark provisions to clarify that an employer”s obligation to train Australians is ongoing and binding for the duration of their approved sponsorship, including for newly established businesses;
  • Amendments to clarify that 457 workers may not be on-hired to an unrelated entity unless they are sponsored under a labour agreement
  • Amendments which will allow the department to refund a visa application fee in circumstances where an employer nomination has been withdrawn.

Please follow the link further detail on the changes: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/strengthening-integrity-457-program.htm

Contact Newland Chase