The federal government has commissioned some reviews of the
Temporary Business Entry Programme and has recently announced
immediate changes taking place to the way Subclass 457
– Business Long Stay Visa (457 visa)
applications are being processed.
The programme has expanded rapidly in recent years, in light
of Australia's skills shortage. In 2006-07, 46,680
visas were issued to foreign skilled workers under the 457
DIAC has sought to address this growing demand by
restructuring the way in which 457 visa applications are
processed adopting a more streamlined approach which will have
significant consequences for future applications.
The new direction of the Temporary Business Entry section at
DIAC, may mean faster processing of applications, however the
quick turnaround times may also result in refusals if adequate
supporting documentation is not provided by a company and
applicant within DIAC timelines.
The processing begins immediately from when applications are
lodged. All 457 visa applications are now received directly by
team leaders within the Temporary Business Entry section. The
visa applications are quickly reviewed and passed on to what is
referred to as the "48 hour team" unless they are
deemed complex or can be fast-tracked.
As the name suggests, the 48 hour team will finalise
processing of applications within 48 hours of receipt, if
possible. This will not be possible if all required supporting
documentation has not been provided, in which case, a request
for further documentation is made and the application is sent
to a 'tier 2 processing team'.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the additional
documentation must be provided within 28 days from receiving
the request from DIAC, otherwise a decision will be made on the
basis of the documents that are at hand. If strong supporting
documentation is not submitted within this timeframe,
applicants and sponsors will not be further consulted with and
a refusal will ensue.
Consequently, a greater emphasis will need to be placed on
having all documentation available at the time of lodgement.
Applications that are 'decision ready" will
benefit from these changes however there will be significantly
less room for error where an application may be deemed
The Temporary Business Entry section has additional staff
members appointed in the short term to start streamlining the
processes and clear the current backlog of cases, by 1 July
As of July 2008, 'centres of excellence'
will only process 457 applications. The 'centres of
excellence' will be located in Sydney, Melbourne and
Minimum Salary Level increase for 457 visa holders
On 23 May 2008 the Minister for Immigration announced that
the Minimum Salary Level (MSL) for temporary
skilled foreign workers sponsored under the Temporary Business
Entry Programme will increase by 3.8 percent from 1 August
This increase will effect new applications to be lodged for
foreign workers as well as having retrospective application to
those already in the workforce who are currently being paid the
base minimum salary level of $41,850.
The change will increase the current standard MSL from
$41,850 to $43,440 per annum. For Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) professionals,
the MSL will rise from $57,300 to $59,480. In regional areas,
the MSL will rise to $39,100 and $53,530 for ICT
As was previously the case, if an industrial award or
agreement prescribes a level of salary that is higher than the
MSL, then this is the salary that must be paid under Australian
The Minister remains focussed on uncovering employers who
underpay and exploit migrant workers and the Government is
committed to cracking down on any abuses of the programme.
Those organisations that fail to adhere to the increased MSL
are likely to face possible sanction from the DIAC Monitoring
team who will not accept ignorance as an excuse for failing to
adhere to these amendments.
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The Federal Court handed down the largest-ever court fine for breaches of the Subclass 457 business sponsorship program.
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