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457 Visa Changes

17.07.2013 23:35 Age: 4 yrs
Category: 475 Visa

Changes to the 457 visa process affecting both employers and applicants came into force on 1 July 2013. If you are seeking employees from outside Australia or if you are making an application for a 457 employer-sponsored visa, there are quite a few changes you need to know about. Learn about a few of them below.


457 Changes 2013

New 457 obligations for employer sponsors

Specified number of genuine workers

Employers must now specify the number of workers they wish to sponsor over a 1, 3 or 6-year period, and you can only change this number by applying for a variation. Also, a nomination can be refused if it does not match the tasks and duties specified by ANZSCO (Australian Standard Classification of Occupations) definitions at the required skill level. You’ll need to do some careful forward planning to cut the red tape.

Direct relationship

Employers can no longer act as ‘independent contractors’: employees sourced under 457 visas must now have a ‘direct relationship’ with the employer, meaning workers can only be engaged under approved Labour Agreements. Sponsors must now keep a record of employment contracts with primary sponsored persons.

Restrictions for start-up businesses

All subclass 457 visa holders sponsored by start-up businesses are limited to an initial 12-month visa, and the term of sponsorship approval is 12 months.

90-day work commencement

A 457 visa holder now must commence work with their sponsor within 90 days of arriving in Australia.

Market salary rate assessment

For the purposes of determining market salary, it used to be that the employer only had to satisfy the Department the terms and conditions were appropriate to the location in question. This has been expanded to apply to the regional locality.

Also, the market salary assessment exemption threshold has been increased from $180,000 to $250,000.

Fair Work inspectors

In addition to the 32 DIAC inspectors who monitor compliance with sponsorship obligations, Fair Work inspectors are now empowered to ensure workers are working in their nominated occupation and being paid market salary rates.

Non-discriminatory employment practices

Employers must also attest to non-discriminatory employment practices as well as other requirements that are yet to be specified in policy guidelines. Expect there to be a number of onerous requirements that will require careful management.

Sponsorship obligations enforceable by law

The Minister now has the power to specify the kind of sponsorship obligations that must be put into the Migration Regulations.

Also, the Minister can now impose ‘enforceable undertakings’ to make sponsors meet their obligations if necessary.

One of these is the training obligation to make a contribution to an industry training fund (equivalent to 2% of payroll) or spending on training within the business (at 1% of payroll). Now these obligations are ongoing and enforceable, and you will need to maintain written records documenting the training.

Managing your 457 sponsorships

With the new obligations imposed on employers, and the greater resources the government is directing towards supervision of the 457 program, it will pay to establish good management processes early.

Talk to Haag Walker today to find out more about the 457 management process and your 457 sponsorship obligations.

New obligations for 457 visa applicants

Skills Assessments

Previously, applicants for many positions identified under the 457 visa scheme required only that a worker have work experience in the area for which they held a formal qualification, although many were able to apply under Program and Project Administrator and Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified for generalist occupations. Applicants must now undertake a formal skills assessment for such positions.  Skills assessments for these occupations are conducted by VETASSESS and require a formal qualification and relevant work experience for approval.

You must be registered or licensed as required in your profession

Any mandatory registration, licence or membership required for your job must be sought within 28 days.

Extension of time to find a new job

It used to be that if you lost your job with your sponsored employer you had 28 days to find another one or you would have to leave the country. That period has now been extended to 90 days.

English language requirements

Before 1 July 2013, only technicians and trade workers were required to meet the English language requirement. Now the requirement applies across all occupations unless your job is paying a base salary of more than the English Language Salary Exemption Threshold amount ($96,400.00), or if you hold a UK, USA, Canadian, Irish or New Zealand passport, or if you have completed 5 consecutive years of study where instruction was delivered in English.

The English language requirement is vocational English, defined as:

  • IELTS test score of 5.0 in each of the four test components
  • Occupational English Test score of 'B' in each of the four test components
  • IELTS or OET must have been completed within 3 years prior to the date an application is lodged.

Mandatory electronic lodgement

Until now, the 457 lodgement process could be done on paper forms, but now, all subclass 457 applications must be lodged using the online facility, SkillSelect. You must make sure you have all the necessary documentation present and correct before you make your online application. Find out how to make the most efficient application.

Talk to Haag Walker

Find out more about the 457 management process and your sponsorship obligations. Book a consultation with Haag Walker today to work out your best strategy through the 457 visa application process. 


 
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