19th September 2014
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457 to Permanent Residency

The Subclass 457 visa (Temporary Business - Long Stay) can create a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. 

In 2010–11, 41,710 people transitioned from a subclass 457 visa to permanent residence or a provisional visa with 96.2 per cent granted Australian permanent residency under the Employer Nomination Scheme, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, Labour Agreement or Skilled Independent visa programs.


Conversion options

From 1 July 2012, the transition from a 457 visa to permanent residency was substantially simplified with 457 visa holders now able to progress to Australian permanent residency in one of the following ways:

Option 

Employer Sponsored - Temporary Transition Pathway. Work in Australia on a 457 visa for 2 years with the sponsor in the nominated occupation.

Option 

Employer Sponsored - Direct Entry Pathway. Skills Assessment plus 3 years work experience in the nominated occupation. If a position in a regional area, a skills assessment may not be required (except if a trade).

Option 

Skilled Migration visas can be granted while 457 visa holders remain in Australia on a 457 visa (skills assessment, pass mark and invitation from Australian Government required under Skill Select).

Skilled Migration applications can be made as an independent or with a State or Territory Government Sponsor.

Note: The pathway from a 457 visa to permanent residency has also been further simplified by the introduction of the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) which is used for the 457 visa, ENS permanent residency and Skilled State Sponsored visas.


457 temporary work visas

There is no doubt that 457 visa holders make an important contribution to the Australian workforce, with more than 105,000 in Australia at 31 January 2013. 

Unless workers are hired under a specific labour agreement, employers can only sponsor visa applicants on 457 visas for skilled positions in occupations listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL).

The CSOL only includes skilled occupations that require qualifications at bachelor, diploma or trade level qualifications (or equivalent experience).

For positions at lower skill levels, those workers must be sponsored under specific labour agreements negotiated with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

How 457 sponsorship works

The sponsorship approval process requires an Australian business to satisfy a range of criteria to become a Standard Business Sponsor.  

Most significant among these is the requirement that intending Australian business sponsors are able to demonstrate a commitment to training Australian workers, which they must prove with evidence that they have:

  • spent at least one per cent of payroll; or 
  • made a payment equivalent of two per cent of payroll into an Australian industry training fund. 

Employers are then monitored by DIBP and required to meet stringent ongoing sponsorship obligations.

The Australian business must then nominate a position for approval.  This requires the business to demonstrate that the position is at the required skill level and that terms and conditions are equivalent to Australian market rates. High salary positions are exempt from this requirement.

It is only once the Australian business has been approved as a sponsor and the nominated position approved that a 457 temporary work visa can be granted.  

How do I get a 457 visa?

In order for an applicant to be granted a 457 visa, they must have skills at the quoted level for the position according to the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). While there is an English language requirement, it is generally only trade occupations that are required to be tested for the 457 visa.

Once granted, the 457 visa is a temporary visa that allows applicants to stay in Australia for up to four years while they are working for their sponsoring employer. This is a condition of the visa.

All 457 visa holders have the right to change employer, but if they do, that new employer must be an approved sponsor and the visa holder must hold an approved position at all times.


What's the best way to transition from a 457 to PR?

Generally the best pathway from a 457 visa to permanent residency status is via the Employer Sponsored scheme or through Skilled Migration.

Close to four out of every five holders of 457 visas who transition to permanent residency are granted a permanent employer-sponsored visa, most commonly through the ENS/RSMS program with an employer offer of a further two years employment, or through the Skilled Migration visa program without direct employer sponsorship.


Employer sponsorship

The Employer Sponsored scheme requires that 457 visa holders have an Australian employer who has nominated them for an eligible position that will continue for at least two years.

From 1 July 2012, the transition to permanent residency under the Employer Sponsored scheme was substantially simplified; 457 visa holders are now able to progress to permanent residency under:

  • the Temporary Transition stream (when in Australia on a 457 for more than 2 years)
  • the Direct Entry stream (when in Australia on a 457 for less than 2 years but for ENS have completed a skills assessment and have at least three years total experience in their occupation or for RSMS have qualifications at the required level and Regional Certifying Body Approval).  
  • The stream for applicants who were brought to Australia under a specific agreement negotiated with DIAC. 

Two visa subclasses cover the above three scenarios:

Where the position is located in a metropolitan area, the application is for a subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa

OR 

Where the position is in a regional area, the application is for a subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa.

 


Permanent residency via skilled migration

The grant of a Skilled Migration visa is based on your particular skills and characteristics measured on a points test. A job offer or employer in Australia is not required.

457 visa holders can remain in Australia while they apply for their Skilled Migration visa and, once granted, the visa will cease.

All Skilled Migration applicants are required to:

  • obtain a positive skills assessment in an occupation listed on the CSOL
  • meet basic English requirements
  • pass a points test (pass mark 60 points). 

Skilled Migration applications are made under DIAC’s SkillSelect process, where an applicant lodges an Expression of Interest and awaits an invitation from the Australian Government to lodge an application.

A Skilled Migration independent application is made under subclass 189 or Skilled Migration with a State Government sponsor under subclass 190.

  • The subclass 189 visa is for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer, a state or territory, or a family member.
  • The subclass 190 visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory government.

Read more about state sponsorship.


Get 457 to PR ready

If you have been in Australia for less than two years on a 457 and want to apply under the Employer Sponsored scheme or if you want to apply for Skilled Migration, you will need to start with a skills assessment for your nominated occupation and obtain evidence of your employment experience.  Contact us for advice on the skills assessment and visa criteria.

If you have been on your 457 visa for two years, speak to your employer to find out if they have a long-term position available for at least two years – then you can start the process now. Contact us to confirm your eligibility today.


Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) & Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visas

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) allows Australian employers to sponsor employees from overseas for a permanent visa to work in Australia.

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) allows employers in regional or low population growth areas of Australia, to sponsor employees from overseas for a permanent visa to work in Australia.

Sponsorship under an ENS or RSMS visa requires an eligible sponsor (the employer) an eligible nominated occupation, and an eligible visa applicant (the employee).

Both the ENS and RSMS visas enable Australian employers to sponsor skilled workers for a permanent visa to work in their Australian business in an eligible nominated position. The sponsored worker can be from overseas or currently in Australia if they hold an eligible visa. 


Permanent Residency Via the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)

The Employer Nomination Scheme can be used to sponsor overseas workers for permanent residency in all parts of Australia. Applying for permanent residency under the ENS is a two- step process:

1. Nomination Application By The Australian Business

2. Visa application by the prospective employee

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Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) - Nomination Application

Employer (sponsor) requirements

The requirements for the employer differ depending whether an applicant will be sponsored under the Temporary Transition or the Direct Entry pathways.

Typical criteria includes that the employer must:

  • be actively operating a lawful business in Australia
  • demonstrate a genuine need for a paid, skilled employee to fill a position in their business, comply with all relevant Australian laws and demonstrate a satisfactory record of meeting immigration laws (if applicable)
  • demonstrate a commitment to training Australian citizens or residents in their business
  • be able and willing to provide the employee with an offer of permanent employment

Nominated position requirements

In order to be eligible for the ENS visa, the nominated occupation for which the employer intends to recruit the visa applicant must:

  • be a full-time position which is available for at least two years from the date of grant of permanent residence,
  • provide working conditions which are equal to those provided for under the relevant Australian legislation and awards,
  • be at market salary rates for the nominated occupation
  • If direct entry application, be a highly skilled occupation which is listed on the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL).

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Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) - Visa Application

Employee (visa applicant) requirements

In order to be eligible for the ENS visa, the employee (visa applicant) must:

  • have an eligible employer who is willing to sponsor them for permanent residency to Australia
  • be under 50 years of age at the time of the application (unless exempt)
  • meet English language requirements (temporary transition scheme IELTS 5.0, direct entry scheme IELTS 6.0), unless exempt
  • meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements for the nominated occupation, and+
  • satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
    • have received a positive skills assessment by an approved assessing authority and (unless exempt) have at least three years full-time work experience in the nominated occupation before lodging an application for an ENS visa.

      OR
    • have worked full time in Australia for 2 years on a 457 visa for the sponsoring employer, in the nominated occupation.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme can be used to sponsor overseas workers for permanent residency in designated regional areas of Australia. 

The RSMS includes all areas in Australia except Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne. In these regions sponsors must apply under the Employer Nomination Scheme.

Applying for permanent residency under the RSMS scheme under the Direct Entry Pathway is a three-step process:

1. Application for Regional Certifying Body approval of nomination.

2. Nomination application by the Australian business

3. Visa application by the prospective employee

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Application to Regional Certifying Body & Nomination Application

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme enables employers in regional areas to sponsor overseas workers for permanent residency for a broader range of occupations.

The role of the Regional Certifying Body in an RSMS application is to verify the genuine need in the particular regional area for the nominated occupation and the appropriateness of the nominated salary level and terms and conditions being offered.

Each regional area has an approved Regional Certifying Body authorised to consider and certify Nomination Applications in the area. The various RCBs each follow processes and requirements specific to their particular regional area. These are distinct from the requirements of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship requirements to approve a Nomination or Visa Application.

Once the Regional Certifying body has certified the nomination, the employer lodges a nomination application with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

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Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) - Visa Application

In order to be eligible for the RSMS visa, the employee (visa applicant) must:

  • have an eligible employer who is willing to sponsor them for permanent residency to Australia
  • be under 50 years of age at the time of the application (unless exempt),
  • meet English language requirements (temporary transition scheme IELTS 5.0, direct entry scheme IELTS 6.0), unless exempt
  • meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements for the nominated occupation
  • have qualifications at the required level for direct entry or 2 years on a 457 in the nominated occupation under the temporary transition scheme

 
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