27th April 2018
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Government changes 457 skilled migrants visa program


The Australian Government has announced changes to the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa program. The changes affect English language testing, processing times, and compliance monitoring.

The government says it wishes to streamline administration of the program, while still protecting the rights and conditions of Australian and foreign workers.

The changes are intended to:

  • streamline the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications. The system should reward low-risk applicants, while focusing compliance and monitoring activities on high-risk applicants.
  • increase the sponsorship approval period from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses. This should give start-ups more time to make their businesses sustainable.
  • make English language testing and skill requirements more flexible. The language standard should be appropriate for a particular visa applicant’s industry and occupation.
  • retain the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold at $53,900, ahead of a review within the next two years.

The Prime Minster says the 457 program must be a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market, while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business.

Protecting workers’ existing rights

The government says that safeguards will remain in place to ensure that the 457 visa program is not rorted. A foreign worker must still receive at least the same market rates and conditions as an Australian doing the same job in the same workplace.

More information …

These changes are in response to an independent review of the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa program, released in September. 

As explained in our blog, that report was titled Robust new foundations: a streamlined, transparent and responsive system for the 457 programme – an independent review into integrity into the Subclass 457 programme.

For more information on how these changes might affect you, contact Haag Walker Lawyers.

More changes to come?

The changes just announced do not implement all of the review’s recommendations. The government says it will soon announce further changes to the 457 program. 



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