Australia – Changes to Subclass 457 Visas (UPDATE)

What has changed

Following our recent eAlert on March 19, 2015, the Australian Government has made changes to the Temporary Skilled (Subclass 457) visas.

Effective April 18, 2015 these changes put to action the recommendations in the Independent Review into the integrity of the Subclass 457 visa Programme report: Robust New Foundations – A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme. 

Who is affected?
What to expect

  • Current and future sponsors of Subclass visa holders.

The changes the Australian government made have lowered Subclass 457 visa requirements and will provide more flexibility for those employers wishing to sponsor individuals.

As part of the changes the Australian government:

  • Expanded the list of English language providers, to include:
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL IBT)
    • Pearson Test of English (PTE)
    • Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) Test (conducted on or after January 1, 2015)
  • Will now accept an overall test score with minimum scores of each test component (reading, writing, speaking and listening).
  • Will grant an exemption when an applicant can provide evidence of five cumulative years of study in English at the secondary or tertiary level, rather than proof of five years consecutive secondary or tertiary study in English.
  • Extended the term of standard business sponsorship to five (5) years commencing from the date of approval.
  • Extended the sponsorship period for start-up businesses from twelve (12) months to eighteen (18) months.
  • Reduced the market salary exemption threshold from $250,000 to $180,000. This is now in line with the marginal tax rate.
  • Extended the notifiable period for sponsors from ten (10) working days to twenty-eight (28) calendar days.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Once additional details are released, Emigra Worldwide can work with any clients who may be impacted and discuss the best strategies on how to benefit from the changes to the Subclass 457 visa programme.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your clients.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.

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