On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. The immediate change, however, is some of the occupations have been removed from the Occupations List that can be sponsored.

The Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa enables employers to address a labour shortage by hiring overseas skilled workers for an industry when no appropriately skilled worker in Australia can be found.

The subclass 457 visa is the Australian visa for skilled workers who want to live in Australia with their families and work for a maximum of two years in their skilled occupation. 457 visa holders can also bring family members to study or work in Australia, and travel by themselves or with family inside and outside of Australia whenever they like within the two-year period.

Applicants under the subclass 457 visa can choose to

  1. Find themselves an employer who is willing to sponsor them; or
  2. Establish their own company to sponsor them so long as they can show a genuine need for the position.

Applicants must nominate one of the occupations listed on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List  (STSOL). The applicant must also comply with the minimum requirements for the occupation, while employers intending to sponsor must be an approved business. When the employer attains the status of an approved business sponsor and nominates the prospective employee, applicants can now apply for a 457 visa based on the nomination of the employer.

The 457 visa holder needs to work exclusively for the sponsoring employer, but transferring to another employer is fine, under the condition that the Department of Immigration is notified of the transfer and approves the transfer.

If the 457 visa is transferred to an employer, its original period will continue to run until the original date of expiry. Processing does not take long when the new employer is already an approved sponsor. If the employer was not approved to be a sponsor, then approval must be sought first.

The new employer must lodge a new employer nomination nominating the visa holder for a position in the business which meets the general requirements for a 457 visa employer nomination.

The Advantages of a 457 Visa

  • The Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 does not take long to lodge, as well as the application to sponsor and nominate. It matters to persons whose visas are about to expire or an employer who needs to fill a void in the workplace quickly.  While the application is being processed, an applicant inside Australia is granted a bridging visa to stay inside Australia.
  • For the Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457, work experiences in the past is recognized as proof the applicant possesses the required skills to work in the nominated occupation. In the case of trade occupations and professional diploma level occupations, it is enough to prove three years of past working experience whilst for professionals, it is enough to show that five years of working experience have been gained.
  • The Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa application fee is cheaper than other Australian work visas.

The Three Step Application Process

First Step: Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS), where the prospective employer must first be approved as a standard business sponsor. Some of the approval requirements are:

–       Correct Application – the correct form is filled up and the fee is paid.

–       Lawful Operation – the business is operating lawfully in or outside Australia.

–       Positions Indicated – the number of positions for nomination is stated and the term of the sponsorship

–       Trade Period – meet the prescribed training requirement if the business has traded for twelve months or more

–       Attestation – when the business is operating in Australia, a written attestation that the employer is committed to employ local labour and also declare that discriminatory recruitment practices will not be practiced

–       Reputation – there is no adverse information about the business or person associated with the business

–       Good Record – have been previously approved as a standard business sponsor and commitments made were fulfilled

Second Step:  Employer Nomination, where the sponsor nominates an occupation from the current STSOL list.

The nominee can either be a subclass 457 visa holder, a subclass 457 visa applicant, or a proposed subclass 457 visa applicant. The nomination process is designed to record information, such as:

  • The purpose of the nomination process
  • The position under the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) to be filled
  • The experience and skills that position requires
  • The market rate for the position and the amount to be paid to the skilled overseas worker
  • The name of the overseas employee nominated

An employer’s nomination is valid if a sponsorship application is already lodged, a previous sponsorship has been approved, or the sponsorship application is made at the same time as the application for nomination.

Third Step. 457 visa application, which is the last stage of the programme.

Who can apply for a subclass 457 visa?

Applicants can be

  • Those who were nominated by an approved business sponsor to perform work in Australia and instructed by the sponsor to apply for a 457 visa
  • Those who, under a labour agreement, were nominated by an employer to work in Australia under a labour agreement and instructed by the employer to apply
  • Those who, after a switch in employers, were nominated to work in Australia and were instructed by their employer to apply for a visa
  • Family members of the primary visa applicant and are aiming for their application to be approved provided they meet the minimum requirements for a 457 visa.

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 Visa

Can a 457 Visa be converted to a permanent employer sponsored visa?

Yes. A 457 visa can be converted to a permanent residence 186 visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).

Streams that convert a 457 visa to an ENS 186 visa:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition Stream is for holders of a 457 Visa who have completed two years of work in the same occupation and nominated by their employer who is offering a permanent position.

There are specific qualifications for an applicant to be eligible for an ENS visa via the Temporary Residence Transition Stream:

  • Be a holder of a subclass 457 visa;
  • Have worked in the nominated position in the nominated business as a primary applicant of a 457 visa at least two years before the nomination was made;
  • Have an occupation that is listed on the STSOL and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL);
  • Have been nominated by the employer to hold a permanent position in the nominated occupation via this stream within the six-month period prior to the lodgement of the visa application;
  • Possess vocational English ability, unless exempt;
  • Must not be 50 years, unless exempt;
  • Be the holder of any mandatory licence, registration, or professional membership required; and
  • Pass the character and health requirements
  1. Direct Entry Stream is for visa applicants who have not previously worked on a 457 visa for a nominating employer but who are formally qualified in their occupation and have worked for at least three years at a skilled level in their occupation which is listed on the STSOL. One of the advantages of this stream is that applicants do not have to spend two years with their employer on a 457 visa to qualify for ENS 186 visa.

To qualify for an ENS 186 visa through this stream, the applicant must

  • Have an occupation that is listed on the STSOL and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL);
  • Have been nominated by the employer to hold a permanent position in the nominated occupation via this stream within the six-month period prior to the lodgement of the visa application;
  • Possess at least three years relevant work experience at a skilled level in the nominated occupation;
  • Get a positive skills assessment in the nominated occupation which, unless exempt, must not be more than three years old;
  • Demonstrate competent English ability, unless exempt;
  • Must not be 50 years, unless exempt;
  • Be the holder of any mandatory licence, registration, or professional membership if required; and
  • Pass the character and health requirements.

How to Convert your 457 visa to an RSMS 187 visa

If the employer operates a business in Regional Australia, then an employee can be nominated for a 187 RSMS visa.

Streams that convert a 457 visa to a 187 visa:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition Stream applies to holders of a 457 visa, who have worked for two years in an occupation and is offered by the nominating employer a permanent position in the same occupation. This stream allows the holder to qualify for Australian permanent residence through the RSMS Transitional Residence stream although not formally qualified in the occupation.

To qualify for the RSMS subclass 187 visa through this scheme, the applicant must

  • Be a holder of a 457 class visa;
  • Have an occupation listed in the RSMS occupation list;
  • Have continually worked for two years for the same position for the sponsoring (under 457) and the nominating (under 187) employer who is one and the same;
  • The nomination for a permanent position must have been approved by the Department of Immigration; and
  • Demonstrate vocational English (IELTS score of 5 or OET B) unless exempted.
  1. Direct Entry Stream applies to those who are either qualified in their occupation or meet the skill requirement for the visa due to previous work experience. One of the advantages of this stream is that applicants, under certain conditions, don’t have to spend two years with their employer on a 457 visa to qualify for an RSMS subclass 187 visa.

To qualify for the RSMS subclass 187 through this scheme, the applicant must

  • Have an approved nomination;
  • Have an occupation listed in the RSMS occupation list;
  • Meet the skills requirements, except when exempted;
  • Have a skills assessment that is not more than three years old on the date of visa application; and
  • Demonstrate competent English, unless exempt.

 

IELTS Requirement for the ENS 186 Transitional Stream Visa and the Direct Entry Stream

For vocational English to be demonstrated, the applicant must have a score not lower than 5 for the speaking, reading, listening and writing components of the IELTS or a score equivalent to IELTS 5 in another accepted English test.

The test must have been taken within three years from the date the application is lodged. Vocational English is also demonstrated by an applicant by holding a passport validly issued by the UK, US, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

For competent English to be demonstrated, the applicant must have a score not lower than 6 for the speaking, reading, listening and writing components of the IELTS or a score equivalent to IELTS 6 in another accepted English test.

The test must have been taken within three years from the date the application is lodged. Competent English is also demonstrated by an applicant by holding a passport validly issued by the UK, US, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

Give us a call if you have concerns on whether your IELTS score makes it, or if you failed an assessment. With simple and sure steps, we will answer all your immigration questions and deliver results. Call us for a free first consultation today!

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