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Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa

Subclass 457 Temporary Work visas are flexible, relatively cheap temporary visas that are appropriate in a wide range of scenarios, including:

·         Australian businesses who are having trouble finding an Australian worker to fill a particular role and don’t want to nominate for a permanent visa

·         People who want to work in Australia and have an employer sponsor but aren’t eligible for a skills assessment as is required for a subclass 186 visa (link)

·         Overseas companies who want to sponsor one of their employees to set up an Australian branch of the company

This page focuses on the standard business sponsor stream of subclass 457. For information about the other available stream, see the labour agreement page (link).

NOTE: The subclass 457 visa is being phased out and will be replaced with a new visa subclass in March 2018. For the time being, nominations and applications can still be lodged and subclass 457 visas are still being granted. If you have any concerns about the changes, get in contact on 08 6161 9239.


Standard Business Sponsor Stream of Subclass 457

There are three steps to the subclass 457 process:

1.    The business applies to become a standard business sponsor. Standard business sponsor status is usually granted for a five-year period, unless the business is a new business in which case the period will be shorter.

2.    The employer lodges a nomination application specifying the position and the person they are nominating

3.    The employee lodges a visa application

Applications for all three steps can be lodged on the same day, but will be considered and approved or refused by the Department in the above order.


Standard Business Sponsor Criteria

The criteria that a business needs to meet to become a standard business sponsor include:

·         They must be lawfully operating a business. The business does not have to be in Australia and very new businesses that have not commenced trading yet may be eligible

·         Businesses operating for over 12 months must meet the training benchmark (link to below section on TB)

·         Businesses operating for less than 12 months must have an auditable plan to meet the training benchmark within the next 12 months

·         The business must have a commitment to employing local labour and to training Australian citizens and permanent residents

Nomination Criteria

In order to successfully nominate someone for a subclass 457 visa in the standard business sponsor scheme, the nomination must meet several criteria, including:

·         Identifying the nominee

·         If the nominee already holds a subclass 457 visa, showing that they have the skills necessary to perform the occupation in the new nomination

·         Satisfying the Immigration Department that the nominee will not be subject to worse conditions than the sponsor’s Australian employees

·         Showing that the market salary for the position is higher than the temporary skilled migration income threshold

·         Specifying an occupation for the nominated position which is on either the MLTSSL or STSOL (link)

·         Satisfying the Immigration Department that the position is genuine and that the nominee will spend the majority of their time on tasks that ANZSCO (link) lists for the occupation

·         If applicable, evidence of labour market testing to show that an Australian citizen or permanent resident could not be recruited for the role.

Visa Eligibility Criteria

The major criteria for applying for a subclass 457 visa in the standard business sponsorship stream are:

·         Achieving a high enough standard in English (average of 5 in IELTS with no band below 5 or equivalent) (some exemptions apply)

·         Satisfying the Department that you have a genuine intention to perform the work you have been nominated for

·         Showing that you have the skills necessary to perform the occupation. Skills assessments are not required in most situations, but will be required for certain applications

·         Standard health and character criteria (link to health and character page) 

The Training Benchmark

The training benchmark is designed to ensure that Australian businesses who nominate non-Australian workers are contributing to the up-skilling of Australians in the field. There are two main ways to meet the training benchmark:

·         Spend 1% of the total payroll figure of the business every year on training Australian citizens and permanent residents in the business


·         Spend 2% of the total payroll figure of the business every year on a contribution to an industry training fund.

Red Earth Migration will work with you to find an appropriate training provider and calculate the amounts required. Please note that for every year that you sponsor a worker on a subclass 457 visa you must meet the training benchmark, or risk penalties.


Sponsor Obligations

Aside from meeting the training benchmark every year, other obligations of standard business sponsors include:

·         Cooperating with any government inspectors who may wish to inspect your business’s location

·         Ensuring that your sponsored 457 workers continue to be employed with conditions no less favourable than those that would be provided to Australian workers, which includes being paid over the temporary skilled migration income threshold

·         If requested in writing, pay for reasonable return travel costs for sponsored 457 holders to the country specified in the request

·         Compensating the government if the 457 holder overstays their visa and the government takes steps to remove that person

·         Maintaining records relating to sponsorship, including details of payments made for travel, notifications to the Department, work done by the 457 holder and training provided to meet the training benchmark

·         Notifying the Department within 28 days of important events such as the 457 holder ceasing employment, changes to the legal structure of the business & payment of return travel for 457 holders

Please note it is illegal to require an applicant to pay to be sponsored or to recover costs of recruitment from the applicant.


Common Problems for Applicants and Sponsors

·         It’s important to nominate the correct occupation for the position you are nominating. The nominated occupation can be the difference between visa grant and visa refusal, and you cannot change your mind after the application has been lodged

·         Be aware that only occupations on the MLTSSL (link) will be eligible to transition to permanent residency after 3 years.

·         We recommend that visa applicants attend an English test as soon as possible after deciding to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme visa, if you have not already achieved the required level of English in the last three years.

·         If you want to apply from within Australia, always be aware of your current visa’s expiry date and conditions. Letting a visa expire without applying for a new one can have severe consequences, even if you try to apply the next day.

·         If you hold a subclass 457 visa as a primary applicant, you are not permitted to work for anyone other than employer who has most recently nominated you and had that nomination approved

o   Therefore, if you want to change jobs then your new employer must have a new nomination approved before you can start working for them.

·         If you hold a subclass 457 visa and you lose or leave your job, you have 60 days to find a new employer and have them lodge a nomination before you are at risk of your visa being cancelled.

o   Note: Your visa will not be automatically cancelled, and it may take several months for the Department to cancel your visa. The safest course is to leave after 60 days but applicants may choose to stay longer to try and find a new sponsor.

If you have concerns about your subclass 457 visa conditions or obligations as a standard business sponsor, please contact us on 08 6161 9239.

Subclass 457 Applicant FAQ

Where can I apply from?

You can apply from either outside Australia or inside Australia.

Where can I receive the visa?

You can receive the visa either outside Australia or inside Australia.

What family members can I include?

Children under the age of 23 and spouses or de facto partners. Children over 18 must be financially dependent on you.

Can the health requirement (link) be waived for this visa?

There is a health waiver available if your sponsoring employer undertakes to pay for your medical costs that the community would otherwise pay for.

How long does this visa last for?

This is a temporary visa. Occupations on MTLSSL can receive a 4-year maximum validity and occupations on STSOL can receive a 2-year maximum validity.