Due to skills shortages in Australia, many businesses are currently sponsoring overseas workers for jobs under the 457 work visa program. This visa allows applicants to work for an Australian employer for up to 4 years.
Applications for 457 visas are lodged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Application fees range from $450 to $1000. Additional fees are incurred if a migration agent or lawyer is used to prepare the application.
Any Australian business can sponsor a worker for this visa, provided that eligibility criteria are met. The following key eligibility criteria apply in relation to a 457 visa application: the employer must pay the employee a minimum annual base salary specified by DIAC. This salary is currently $51,400; the employer must pay the employee according to market salary rates; and the employer must show a commitment to training their Australian staff.
A full list of employers’ obligations can be found at the following link: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/sbs/obligations-employer.htm
The employee must have relevant skills and qualifications and meet any licencing or registration requirements for the nominated occupation. Health and character criteria also apply. A full list of employee eligibility criteria is included at http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/sbs/eligibility-employee.htm
Depending on the occupation, workers may need a particular level of English to apply for this visa. A relevant qualification and/or work experience is also usually needed. Spouses and dependent children can be included in 457 visa applications, which can be lodged either inside or outside Australia.
Once a 457 visa is granted, employers must comply with their sponsorship conditions and employees must comply with their visa conditions. A 457 visa can be a pathway to permanent residence after two years.
457 visa holders must be provided the same terms and conditions provided to Australian workers. This includes conditions relating to employment termination.
Further information about the process of sponsoring an overseas worker is available from DIAC, which can be contacted by telephone on 131881 or their website at www.immi.gov.au. Please note that on 1 July 2013, DIAC will introduce significant reforms to the 457 visa program which are outlined at: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/strengthening-integrity-457-program.htm
The above information is a summary and is general in nature. It was prepared by Penny Dimopoulos, lawyer and registered migration agent. Penny speaks English and Greek. Her business, Orana Migration Group, also trading as Hellas Australia Visa Services, is located in Melbourne. Penny can be contacted on 03 96707738 and 0412 187 456 or visit www.oranamigration.com.au and www.hellasaustraliavisa.com.gr.