As the 457 visa is the most commonly used program for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily, we thought it would be useful to provide an overview of this popular visa class.

The full title of this subclass of visa is Temporary Business (Long Stay) – Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457) and in a nutshell, the 457 program allows employers to hire skilled overseas workers where experienced Australian workers are not available. It’s the simplest and fastest option that helps businesses deal with skill shortages.

Starting on the 1st July 2012, non-resident workers on the 457 skilled immigration visa will also be able to transition to permanent residency if they have 2 years with the employer who has sponsored them and if the employer provides a full-time position in the 457 visa holder’s nominated occupation.

What are 457 Visa workers entitled to do?

As a 457 visa holders, your entitled to:

  • work in Australia for a period of between one day and four years
  • change employers, providing the new employer is an approved sponsor
  • bring any eligible family members, who can work and study, with them to Australia
  • travel in and out of Australia as often as they like.

What occupations are eligible under the 457 program?

The 457 program is for skilled occupations only. This means that for some industries many typical occupations will not be eligible under the 457 program.
The Australian department of immigration uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of  Occupations (ANZSCO) to determine which occupations are eligible.

ANZSCO classifies occupations according to five ‘skill levels’. Generally,occupations that are classified as skill level one, two and three are eligible under the 457 program.

Put another way, occupations that have a skill level equivalent to at least an AQF Certificate III and two years of on the job training and above are eligible under the 457 program.

What types of occupations are eligible under the Australian 457 Visa program?

The top 10 most common occupations in the 2010-11 financial year were:

  • Developer Programmer
  • Management Consultant
  • Program or Project Administrator
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec
  • Accountant (General)
  • Specialist Managers
  • University Lecturer
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Civil Engineer
  • ICT Business

What can I do if the vacancy in my business is not in an eligible 457 occupation?

Sometimes, the vacancy within a business is not an eligible occupation under the Australian 457 Visa program. Where this is the case then the business will not be able to use the standard program.

In these instances, the only option available to employ a 457 visa holder for ineligible occupations is to negotiate a ‘labour agreement’ with the department for those workers.

A Labour Agreement is a formal arrangement negotiated between an employer and the Australian Government and will only be considered where a genuine skills shortage exists and there are no suitably qualified or experienced Australians
readily available.

A Labour Agreement allows an employer to recruit skilled overseas workers for occupations approved under the agreement. However the employer must be able to demonstrate, among other things, that it has genuinely attempted to recruit Australian workers for the positions and that there are no appropriately qualified Australian workers readily available.

Using the 457 program

So How do businesses sponsor overseas workers?
Well, there  are three steps to ‘sponsoring’, or employing, an overseas worker on a 457 visa. These are as follows.

  • Sponsorship  : The employer applies for approval as a standard business sponsor.
  • Nomination  : The employer nominates an overseas worker to fill a position in their business.
  • Visa application  : The person nominated to work applies for the 457 visa.

The employer is responsible for the sponsorship and nomination stages. The overseas employee is responsible for the visa application, although the sponsor may wish to assist them to ensure that they complete the process successfully.

How long will it take to process a 457 Visa application?

Its safe to say that the Australian Government has recognized that 457 visas deserve priority in review as they are highly responsive to the needs of the labour market. With this in mind, the 457 Visa is becoming one of the most attractive Visa options for wannabe Australian migrants as visa’s can be processed in a matter of weeks.
Like any visa application however, it’s important to note that in order to achieve the fastest possible processing time, businesses should make sure that they lodge complete applications as Applications with missing information may take longer to process.

Additional Resources:

As always, we can’t provide an overview of everything associated with the 457 visa however we hope you found this overview of use.

Please find below some additional resources which you may find of interest.  Note that all the the links will open in a new page.

Our Free online Visa Assessment  – Click here to see if you’d qualify.

The Australian department of immigration has a full list of the occupations that are eligible on the website. Click Here for the list

The Australian department of Immigration also provides a booklet (Booklet 9) that comprehensively covers all aspects of the 457 program. If there is something that you would like further information on, then please look at the booklet. You can find the booklet here

Details of the Australian Labour Agreements can be found by Clicking Here

If you have any further questions then please feel free to post a comment below