How Does the 457 Australian Work Visa Work?

457 Australian Work Visa


Australia has long been a nation of immigration. According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection the purpose of migration is to build the economy, shape society, support the labour market and reunite family.

As a result, Australia’s migration programme is underpinned by an ever-changing legislative and regulatory framework to meet this purpose. More recently, major shifts in immigration has seen a growth in temporary migration, which now outnumbers permanent arrivals.

While quotas and limitations apply to permanent migration, temporary migration is demand driven. Many of these temporary migrants enter Australia on a 457 Australian work visa. This visa is one of 90 Australian visa categories so it’s important to understand when it applies and how it works.

What is the 457 Australian Work Visa?

Formally known as the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa, the 457 Australian Work Visa exists to support the Australian labour market. It allows eligible employers (standard business sponsors) to seek out overseas skilled workers to address short-to-medium-term skill shortages in their business that cannot be filled from the local labour market. An overseas worker can be employed for up to four years in skilled occupations only.

Which Businesses Are Eligible?

To become an eligible employer or standard business sponsor, a business must apply to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and meet the following requirements:

  • must be lawfully operating in or outside Australia
  • must meet (or commit to meet) the training benchmarks for the programme (such as training activities) and continue to meet these requirements for the term of the sponsorship
  • must have a direct employer-employee relationship
  • must not on-hire skilled workers (unless the occupation is exempt)
  • once approved, must comply with all sponsor obligations
  • must attest to a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to:
    • employing local labour
    • non-discriminatory employment practices.

The Application Process

The application process is initiated by the approved business sponsor. A 457 visa application cannot be processed if it is not supported by an approved sponsor. This means the first step in the application process for many businesses may be the application to become a standard business sponsor.

Nomination is the next step, where the approved business sponsor nominates an occupation or identifies a position to be filled by a prospective or existing 457 visa holder. A nomination must also adhere to certain requirements including:

  • the business must be an approved sponsor, or applied for sponsorship
  • there must be a genuine need for the nominated position in their business
  • the nominee must be an existing 457 work visa holder, a current or proposed 457 work visa
  • the position must relate to an eligible occupation on the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List
  • labour market testing must have been undertaken (unless the occupation is exempt)
  • the position must have equivalent terms and conditions of employment to an Australian performing the same tasks in the same location.

In the final stage of the application process, the nominated person and any dependants must apply for the 457 visa. An applicant must also meet the following requirements:

  • minimum English language ability
  • skills and experience necessary to perform the nominated occupation
  • adequate health insurance in Australia
  • genuine intention to perform the nominated occupation

In addition to these requirements, an applicant must meet standard visa requirements such as character and health checks along with a declaration of Australian values and laws.

457 Australian Work Visa Holders in Australia

Overseas workers granted the 457 Australian Work Visa can:

  • work in Australia for up to four years
  • bring eligible dependants with them to Australia (dependants can also work and study)
  • travel in and out of Australia freely, unlimited times, while their visa remains valid.

The 457 Australian Work Visa also provides a pathway to permanent residency. If a 457 visa has been held for two years with the same sponsor and that sponsor provides a full-time job in the nominated position then the visa holder is eligible for permanent residency in Australia.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

From a business sponsorship application to nomination and the 457 work visa application itself, bringing an overseas worker to Australia is an involved process. With multiple applications, the paperwork alone is a huge undertaking. Completing applications correctly, and in the right order, is essential when applying for any visa, especially the 457 Australian Work Visa.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection receive over 13,000 visa applications each day worldwide. They simply haven’t the time to assist those with erroneous applications, and an unsuccessful application can be costly.

The migration lawyers at Taylor & Scott lawyers are registered migration agents who can offer up their extensive experience and advice to ensure your visa application is a quick and cost-effective process. The legislation and regulations surrounding immigration consists of over 3,000 pages so it can be confusing to navigate. Whether you’re a business looking to employ a skilled worker from overseas, you are applying for the 457 visa or have questions relating to the rights of your family members, Taylor & Scott Lawyers can help you.

Arrange to meet with a specialist migration lawyer and enjoy a stress-free transition to Australia.

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