AUSTRALIA: Subclass 457 Visa Update

457 Visa Processing Delays

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection”s Melbourne Office has recently provided an update on visa processing with a focus on the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 unit. Many of our clients have experienced delays in visa processing in 2016 and we would like to provide an explanation as to how and why these delays have occurred.

The Assistant Director of the Temporary Business Entry team in Melbourne has advised that 457 visa applications are not being allocated to a case officer for assessment until 8 or 9 weeks after the date of lodgement. The causes for the current delays in processing include:

  • A reduction in staff numbers within 457 visa processing units

  • Added focus and deliberation on whether nominated positions are genuine

  • Added focus on training benchmarks for Standard Business Sponsorships

 Given the current processing delays, we ask all clients to present new requests to us as early as possible. Should you require urgent processing on any existing cases you are advised to contact your migration agent for further assistance and advice.

We have made direct representation to the department for a system of preferred sponsors/agents to be implemented to affect a return to high quality applications being streamlined. We understand that the customs service use a preferred trader system and immigration authorities are looking at implementing a similar arrangement in the 457 programme. We welcome this move as we believe this will be extremely beneficial to our clients.

457 Legislative Changes

A number of changes to the Migration Regulations came into effect on 19th April 2016, including strengthening of the non-discriminatory recruitment practices legislation and simplification of the English language requirements for the 457 visa subclass.

The existing requirement for an attestation that the sponsor has a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, employing local labour has been retained. In addition to this, sponsors are now required to declare that they will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices and must also comply with a new obligation not to engage in discriminatory recruitment practices. In effect, this means that in order to demonstrate compliance with this new obligation, sponsors should keep documents on hand showing how subclass 457 visa holders were recruited as evidence that the process did not discriminate based on citizenship or immigration status.
Changes have also been made to the relevant regulation and legislative instrument in order to exempt 457 visa applicants from the department”s English language testing requirements where they have already met the same, or higher, English language requirements to gain an occupational registration or license.
The exemption will apply to all applications lodged on or after 19th April 2016, as well as all applications that were lodged prior to 19th April 2016 but are still yet to be decided by the department.

For further information on the subclass 457 visa changes, or on Australian immigration in general, please email us at

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