Changes to 457 Visa Program with immediate effect

The Australian Government has announced major changes to the subclass 457 visa program with immediate effect. The changes will affect all standard business sponsors and visa applicants.

What’s changed?

With effect from today (19 April 2017):

  • 216 occupations are no longer eligible for sponsorship under the standard 457 visa program;
  • 59 occupations now have ‘caveats’ which are strict requirements limiting their use in the standard 457 visa program; and
  • there is a reduced visa validity period for all visa applications not yet decided, regardless of when they have been lodged, if the occupation is not on the Medium to Long Term Shortage Skills List. The reduced visa validity period is a maximum of 2 years.

The occupations that are currently available for sponsorship can be viewed in the list here.

What’s next?

The Australian Government will abolish subclass 457 visas from March 2018. The implementation schedule as announced by the Australian Government is as follows:

Implementation Timeline

  • 19 April 2017 – changes as outlined above
  • 1 July 2017 – further review of occupation lists, language exemptions, training benchmarks and character requirements
  • By 31 December 2017 – collection of Tax File Numbers for data matching with ATO records and publication of details of sponsors who have been sanctioned for breaching obligations under the Migration Regulations 1994 and related legislation
  • March 2018 – 457 visa will be abolished and new visa regime will be in place:

The new visa regime will be comprised of:

  • short-term stream with visas valid for up to 2 years and no pathway to permanent residence; and
  • medium-term stream with visas valid for up to 4 years.

The Australian Government has announced that the new visa regime will have significantly tighter eligibility requirements.

Universal Migration Advisory Services will continue to monitor the situation and issue further Client Alerts as more information comes to hand.

Want to know more?

Speak with your registered migration consultant for more information or if you have any concerns.


Disclaimer: This news alert does not constitute immigration advice or assistance and does not take into account your circumstances. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information in this alert.