Australian businesses can sponsor workers from overseas or who are in Australia on a temporary basis via the Subclass 457 visa.
It involves a three-step application process:
1. Sponsorship – the employer needs to apply to become a sponsor and provide the following evidence:
- The sponsor is a lawful, operating business
- The sponsor has the financial ability to meet its sponsorship obligations
- That the business meets certain training benchmarks, or is a startup company which has an auditable plan to meet the training benchmarks.
2. Nomination – Once approved as a sponsor, the employer is required to identify the position to be filled and the skills and experience required for the position. The main criteria are:
- The position is in an occupation on the Employer Sponsored Occupations List; and
- The applicant is to be paid a base salary of at least the TSMIT (currently $53,900); and
- Terms and conditions of the employment are no less favourable than for an Australian in an equivalent position – for example, the salary paid is at least at the market rate.
3. Visa Application – the employee would then apply for a visa to work in Australia to fill the nominated position. To lodge a visa application the sponsorship and nomination must have been lodged with or prior to the visa application. The main criteria for this visa are:
- the employee has the required skills to fill the position and is eligible for any required licensing or registration
- the employee meets the 457 English requirement
- that the employee meets the health requirements for the visa and holds suitable health insurance.
Duration and Conditions
The 457 visa is valid for up to:
- four years after it is granted – if your occupation is listed on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL) or this period is required due to international trade obligations.
- two years after it is granted – if your occupation is on the Combined List of eligible skilled occupations for subclass 457 and 186 but is not listed on the MLTSSL.
457 visa holders may be able to apply for extensions onshore.
The 457 visa is subject to a condition 8107 work restriction and can only work for the sponsoring employer, unless a different employer lodges a new nomination for the employee. The visa can be cancelled if the employee ceases employment for more than 60 days, and the employee must maintain their health insurance cover.