457 visa holders can still apply for PR via the subclass 186 or subclass 187 visas
On 18 March 2018, the Australian Government abolished the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) visa and introduced substantial changes to the process by which applicants transition from 457 to PR (Permanent Residence). The changes included generous transitional arrangements for eligible applicants wanting to move from their 457 to PR where they either: held a 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017, or applied for a 457 visa before 18 April 2017 and were subsequently granted their 457 visa after that date.
How to apply for PR from a 457 visa under the Transitional Arrangements
Applicants subject to Transitional Arrangements apply for permanent residence under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) for either a:
- Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa; or
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) (applicable where the employer is located in a Regional Area)
NOTE: As from 18 March 2018, Transitional Requirements (set out below) now attach to the ENS criteria for eligible persons.
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
The Employer Nomination Scheme is a two-step process involving a nomination application by the sponsoring business and a visa application by the temporary visa holder.
The key requirements for approval of an ENS application are largely for the business to satisfy as part of the Nomination Application, although visa applicants must also satisfy criteria for approval of the visa such as Age, English, Health and Character Requirements.
Step 1: Employer lodges a Nomination Application
Employers seeking approval by the Department of Home Affairs to nominate a 457 visa holder for permanent residence must demonstrate the following:
The position being nominated is the same occupation specified in the 457 visa approval. Under the Transitional Arrangements, the nominated occupation does not have to be included on a relevant Skilled Occupation List at the time of the nomination.
There is a genuine need for the skilled position for at least the next 2 years. Introduced on 18 March 2018, this new requirement means there is no automatic entitlement to sponsor an existing 457 visa holder for permanent residence unless a genuine and continuing need can be demonstrated for at least the next 2 years.
Payment of the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy ($3,000.00 or $5,000.00 as applicable) by the employer at the time of lodging the Nomination. SAF levy must be paid by the employer and cannot be recovered from the Visa Applicant in any circumstances.
The visa holder to be nominated has been employed with the nominating business as the sponsor, in the nominated position, as the holder of a 457/482 visa for at least 2 years in the 3 years prior to the date of lodgement of the nomination application. The transitional arrangements mean that eligible persons only need to have worked for 2 years rather the new 3 year period now in force for general ENS applications. The 2 year period excludes periods of unpaid leave.
Provide the necessary information with the application to evidence the above criteria are satisfied when lodging the nomination application.
457 to PR – Employer Nomination Costs
- Department of Home Affairs Nomination Fee: AUD$540.00
- SAF Fee: AUD$3000 OR AUD$5000 (as applicable)
Step 2: 457 Visa holder lodges ENS Visa Application
Once an employer has lodged a nomination application, a 457 visa holder may then apply for a Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme or Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa.
The Nomination Application only has to be lodged, not approved, for the associated ENS Visa Application to be submitted.
If you are lodging a Visa Application after the Nomination Application has been approved by the Department of Home Affairs, it must be lodged within 6 months of the approval.
Visa Applicants subject to transitional arrangements may be under 50 years of age (unless exempt). This transitional arrangement applies to the ENS Visa Application and applies at the time of lodgement.
Other requirements for the ENS visa application to be satisfied include English Language Ability, Health, Character and applicable Public Interest Criteria. Intending visa applicants should review the ENS Temporary Residence Transition criteria in detail prior to lodging their application.
Processing times for 457 to PR as at 30 September 2018 are between 13 to 16 months from the date of lodgement. The position must still be available at the time of decision on the visa application.
ENS Nomination Application – 457 to PR Transitional Arrangements
Transitional arrangements when applying for 457 to PR under the Employer Nomination Scheme (Temporary Transition Stream) for the nomination application are as follows:
- Transitional requirement 1 – Period of Employment: Persons who held or applied for a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 must have been employed on a temporary work visa by the nominating employer in the nominated position for 2 years in the 3 years prior to the date of lodgement of the nomination application by the business.
- Transitional requirement 2 – Nominated Occupation Exemption: Persons who held or applied for a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 can be nominated in the same occupation they were nominated for the 457 visa (regardless of whether the occupation has been removed from the applicable Skilled Occupation List for a temporary work visa or from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for the Employer Nomination Scheme).
Note: Transitional arrangements apply to nomination applications lodged before 18 March 2022.
ENS Visa Application – 457 to PR Transitional Arrangements
Transitional arrangements when applying for 457 to PR under the Employer Nomination Scheme (Temporary Transition Stream) for the visa application are:
- Transitional requirement 3 – Age Exemption: Persons who held or applied for a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 can be aged under 50 years of age at the time of application.
Where the transitional arrangements do not apply under the Employer Nomination Scheme requirements, applicants must have worked 3 years in the past 4 years and can only be nominated for permanent residence where the occupation is on the Medium Long Term Skilled Occupation list at the time of the nomination application (regardless if it was on the list at the time of the grant of the temporary visa).
Read more about the 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) application process.
FAQ’s – 457 to PR application under transitional arrangements
When can I apply for PR under the transitional arrangements?
The transitional arrangements apply to nomination applications lodged before 18 March 2022.
The nomination application by the business under transitional arrangements can only be lodged after you have worked on your temporary work visa in the nominated position, with the nominating employer for at least 2 years in the past 3 years.
Once the nomination application has been lodged, an ENS visa application can be submitted.
What does the employer need to provide for my 457 to PR application?
After you have worked for 2 years in the past 3 years, your employer must be in a position to offer you a further 2 years in the same nominated position.
Your employer will be required to demonstrate financial capacity to do so as well as a genuine need for your continued employment in the position on terms and conditions at least at the annual market salary rate for the position. Your employer must also make a number of undertakings and attestations under the Migration Act 1958 to nominate you under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) as part of the nomination application of the business.
As part of the process, we will assist your employer to provide the required information and documents to meet the requirements for a Nomination Application.
What are the employer costs of the 457 to PR application process?
Employers sponsoring for permanent residence must provide details of their Annual Turnover for the most recent financial year which will determine if they are required to pay a nomination contribution charge of $3,000.00 or $5,000.00 towards the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy. The SAF levy must be paid by your employer. It is a breach under the Migration Act 1958 to seek to recover this amount from a visa applicant.
The SAF levy is payable at the time of lodgement of the Nomination Application together with the application fee of $540.00.
Schedule an appointment to speak with our Accredited Immigration Law Specialist to start your 457 to PR application process.