Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016
The subclass 457 visa scheme has been the subject of much debate
in recent months. With federal parliament having now come to a
close, we take the opportunity to look at what amendments have
actually been, or will be, made to the scheme.
The Ugly – Labour Market Testing
It will soon be necessary, as part of the nomination process,
for subclass 457 visa sponsors to provide evidence of:
labour market testing; and
information about the retrenchment or redundancies of
Australian citizens or permanent residents working in the nominated
position in the 4 months before the nomination (if
A number of exemptions to this requirement will apply, with the
most relevant being where the nominated occupation is an occupation
which has been specified by the Minister of Immigration as being
exempt from the requirement. At the date of this article, the list
of occupations which will be exempt from labour market testing is
not available. It is however likely that the majority of exempt
occupations will be limited to those occupations on the
Consolidated Skilled Occupation List which fall under ANZSCO Major
Groups 1 and 2 (i.e. managerial and professional occupations
– possibly, however, with the notable exclusion of
If an exemption does not apply, sponsors will need to include,
in their nomination application, evidence of attempts to recruit
suitably qualified and experienced Australian citizens or permanent
residents to the position, such as:
any advertising of the position authorised or commissioned by
fees and other expenses paid for that advertising;
details of any research released regarding labour market trends
in the nominated occupation in the 4 months prior to the
details of fees and expenses paid for any recruitment attempts;
details of recruitment attempts.
The requirement to provide evidence of labour market testing
will commence on a date to be proclaimed or 6 months after the
Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 receives
The Bad - Visa Charges
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has introduced new
fee arrangements for the processing of visa applications effective
from 1 July 2013.
Previously, the cost of applying for a subclass 457 visa
(excluding the cost of sponsorship and nomination application
charges - which remain unaffected) was a flat fee of $455.
The amendment2 has introduced, amongst others, the
following charges for 457 visa applications:
base application fees – being $900;
additional applicant fees for secondary applicants over 18
years of age – being $900 for each secondary applicant (i.e.
family members over the age of 18); and
additional applicant fees for secondary applicants under 18
years of age – being $225 for each secondary applicant (i.e.
family members under the age of 18).
The new fees significantly increase the cost associated with
lodging a subclass 457 visa application. In a typical example, a
visa application including a primary applicant, their spouse and a
child will now cost $2,025, having previously cost just $455.
Whilst additional fees for secondary applicants were, for the
most part, introduced across all visa subclasses, the subclass 457
visa scheme has been uniquely affected because of the significant
increase in the "base application" fee.
Some Good – Period to Find New Employment
Currently, 457 visa holders who cease employment with their
sponsors (by reason of dismissal, resignation or otherwise) for
periods in excess of 28 consecutive days are liable to have their
visas' cancelled. This has led to a situation where holders of
subclass 457 visas have had to depart Australia on short notice,
because they have been unable to find a new sponsor within the 28
In a move which is beneficial to both subclass 457 visa holders
and employers (who will no longer be subject to unreasonable
timeframes in which to prepare their sponsorship and/or nomination
application[s] when sponsoring out-of-work 457 visa holders), the
28 day period will be extended to 90 days.3
If you have any queries about how these changes might impact
upon your business, please contact the authors.
The Federal Court handed down the largest-ever court fine for breaches of the Subclass 457 business sponsorship program.
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