The 457 visa is the main visa used to sponsor employees to work in Australia. The employer can either be a business operating in Australia or overseas.
Most employers will apply for approval as a Standard Business Sponsor. The approval generally lasts for 3 years and there is a limit to the number of employees who can be sponsored over this time.
The application for a company sponsorship visa consists of 3 parts:
Applying for approval as a business sponsor would require the business to provide details to show:
- The sponsor is a lawful, operating business
- The sponsor has the financial ability to meet its sponsorship obligations
- That the business meets certain training benchmarks, or is a startup company which has an auditable plan to meet the training benchmarks.
The employer must then apply for permission to sponsor an overseas resident to fill certain nominated position(s). The main criteria here are that:
- The position is in an occupation on the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List); AND
- The applicant is to be paid a base salary of at least the TSMIT (currently $53,900); AND
- Terms and conditions of the employment are no less favourable than for an Australian in an equivalent position - in particular, the salary paid is at least at the market rate.
3. Visa Application
The employee would then apply for a visa to work in Australia to fill the nominated position. This would involve providing the following evidence:
- That the employee has the required skills to fill the position and is eligible for any required licensing or registration
- The employee meets the 457 English requirement
- That the employee meets the health requirements for the visa and holds suitable health insurance.
- Duration and Conditions
The 457 visa is valid for up to 4 years, and extensions are possible. The 457 visa is subject to a condition 8107 work restriction and can only work for the sponsoring employer, unless a different employer lodges a new nomination for the employee. The visa can be cancelled if the employee ceases employment for more than 60 days, and the employee must maintain their health insurance cover.
The main issues to be aware of in applying for 457 visas are:
- Understanding the requirements for approval as a business sponsor. Many employers attempt to get approval, but are refused because they do not understand the criteria;
- Sponsorship obligations are increasingly policed by the Department of Immigration. It is crucial to ensure that all obligations are complied with, otherwise the employer can be locked out of the 457 program or face serious fines and penalties;
- In obtaining 457 visas, speed is of the essence to make sure that employees are able to work in Australia as soon as possible.
Harmony Immigration has a significant amount of experience in assisting employers to sponsor for 457 visas and to ensure ongoing compliance with sponsorship obligations. If you would like to discuss sponsoring employees for 457 visas, please contact us.