Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold to be increased for 457 VisasThe ‘Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold’ or TSMIT as it’s also known is important for new 457 visa holders as they are generally not eligible for government benefits and support.

We provided an overview of the 457 visa program on Wednesday but one of the areas we didn’t cover was the fact that the 457 program has this minimum salary threshold to ensure that visa holders have sufficient money to support themselves in Australia.

As well as ensuring the visa holders have enough hard cash to survive, the other key purpose of the TSMIT is to ensure the 457 program is only used for positions which require skilled and experienced workers, rather than lower lying, entry-level positions.

Increases to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold or TSMIT

To ensure that this threshold keeps pace with increases in Australian salaries, the TSMIT is indexed annually in accordance with the average weekly earnings.

For the period February 2011 to February 2012, the latest available average weekly earnings increased by 4.2 per cent. For the previous financial year, the TSMIT was set at $49 330 AUD. Therefore on 1 July 2012 indexation will result in a TSMIT of $51 400.

The new TSMIT takes effect from July 1, and it is assessed at the time visas are decided. So any visa application, regardless of when they were lodged, if assessed after July 1 2012, must be paid a salary that is greater than $51 400.

The 457 program recognises that higher salaries reduce the risks that low levels of English proficiency pose for overseas workers. Therefore higher paid visa applicants are not required to meet the English language requirement. The salary level for this exemption is currently set at $88 410.

Applying the same increase of 4.2 per cent results in the English language exemption increasing to $92 000.

The new exemption level will take effect at the same time as the TSMIT increase on1 July 2012.