The 457 visa allows overseas skilled workers to come to Australia and work for a sponsor. The 457 visa is valid for up to 4 years, and work experience gained in Australia on this visa may lead to permanent residency, usually after 2 years if the visa holder continues to be sponsored by the same employer. The visa applicant can bring their family members to work or study and travel in and out of Australia as often as necessary. It is a 3-stage application as below:
Stage 1 – Sponsorship
Employer looking to sponsor overseas workers needs to become a “Standard Business Sponsors”. There are minimal restrictions and most business are able to obtain a Sponsorship agreement with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). An employer must lodge an application to become a business sponsor. Once approved, the sponsorship is usually valid for 5 years. An employer must:
- Demonstrate that it is a lawful and actively operating business
- Satisfy the training benchmark by demonstrating recent expenditure, equivalent to 1% of the total gross payroll, allocated to training Australian employees; or contributing 2% of the total payroll to an accredited institution.
Stage 2 – Nomination
Only an Approved Sponsor or a business that has lodged a sponsorship application can lodge a Nomination application. At this stage, the DIPB will determine if the Employer genuinely requires the nominated occupation within the business. The occupation has to be listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL) and must provide an employment contract, and job description with the application. The process involves Labour Market Testing, showing that the occupation being nominated is eligible under the 457 program, that the employee meets certain requirements, and that the salary meets the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migrant Income Threshold) which for more occupations is currently $53,900 (gross annum salary).
Stage 3 – Visa
Once a nomination is lodged, the Applicant now can apply for 457 visa. You must:
- Demonstrate the requisite skills, qualifications, experience and employment background to match the nominated position in order to perform the nominated occupation
- Most primary applicants who are sponsored by a standard business sponsor must demonstrate that their level of English proficiency is equivalent to one of the following scores:
- an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall test score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the four test components
- an Occupational English Test (OET) score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
- a Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) total score of at least 36 with a score of at least 3 for each of the test components of listening and reading, and a score of at least 12 for each of the test components of writing and speaking
- a Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic overall test score of at least 36 with a score of at least 30 in each of the four test components
- a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) overall test score of at least 154 with a score of at least 147 in each of the four test components.
- Unless the Applicant is a passport holder from the UK, USA, Canada, NZ, Ireland; or earns $96,400 or higher base salary
- Provide relevant licenses or registration required for the nominated position (if applicable)
- Have an adequate level of health insurance in Australia
- Satisfy certain health and character requirements
This visa can be valid up to 4 years after it is granted. However, if the Company is a start-up business, then the visa will be granted only for 1.5 years.