Changes are coming for subclass 457 visa applications starting on 1 July 2013. Announced on 23 February 2013, the changes will help the Department of Immigration detect and respond to the integrity concerns limited by current legislation.
While detailed information is not currently available, the Department has released the following list of proposed changes to the program.
- the introduction of a genuineness criterion under which the department may refuse a nomination if the position does not fit within the scope of the activities of the business
- an increase in market salary exemption threshold from $180 000 to $250 000 to ensure that higher paid salary workers are not able to be undercut through the employment of overseas labour at a cheaper rate
- the removal of English language exemptions for certain positions. Many long-term 457 workers go on to apply for permanent residence, and this change will ensure that the 457 program requirements are brought into line with the permanent Employer Sponsored program which requires a vocational English ability. This change will benefit visa holders by ensuring that 457 visa holders, who have an ongoing position with their employer and want to apply for permanent residence in the long-run are not disadvantaged because of their language ability. Applicants who are nominated with a salary greater than $92 000 will continue to be exempted from the English language requirement
- enhanced regulatory powers for the department to ensure that the working conditions of sponsored visa holders meet Australian standards and that subclass 457 workers cannot be exploited or used to undercut local workers
- amendments to existing training benchmark provisions to clarify that an employer’s obligation to train Australians is ongoing and binding for the duration of their approved sponsorship, including for newly established business
- amendments to clarify that 457 workers may not be on-hired to an unrelated entity unless they are sponsored under a labour agreement
- amendments which will allow the department to refund a visa application fee in circumstances where an employer nomination has been withdrawn.
(Retrieved from http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/strengthening-integrity-457-program.htm on 4 March 2013).
It is anticipated that most 457 visa applicants who are genuine will not be affected by the changes. In some circumstances, further documentation may be requested by DIAC to evidence claims for a visa application.
Contact UMASERVICES for an analysis of your current immigration position.