457 Visa Changes Effective 1 July 2017

457 Visa Changes Effective 1 July 2017


Eligible Skilled Occupation List

In conjunction with the government's 457 visa announcement on 18 April, further changes will apply on the skilled occupation list from July 1, 2017. Amendments include the introduction and removal of occupations, as well as changes and caveats on some occupations.
The updated list of eligible occupations will apply to new and pending undecided subclass 457 applications. Changes are reflected on Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website.
Please note that applications for other visa subclasses will be affected by the occupation list changes, but the lists are confusing so please contact us for specific advice.
To know occupations listed on Medium to Long Term Shortage List (MLTSSL), Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and 457 Caveats, download the latest skilled occupation list. Occupations on the MLTSSL are eligible for a 4 year 457 visa, while occupations on the STSOL are eligible for 2 years initially and can be renewed for a further 2 years. MLTSSL occupations are eligible for pathways to Permanent Residency, but STSOL occupations are not at this stage. Great care needs to be taken to evaluate each case, particularly now, where there can be many pitfalls, and applying the caveat exemptions is extremely complex.

Mandatory Skills Assessment

TRA 457 skills assessment programme will be enhanced to include additional nationalities for few of the existing occupations:

Character Changes

Applications for 457 visa will no longer be exempted from the standard policy on penal verifications. The applicant is asked to present a police certificate from each country in which the visa applicant has resided for a cumulative period of at least a year or over the last 10 years since turning the 16 years of age.

If the applicant has served in the military, military service record or discharge papers for each person who is/has served in the armed forces of any country in the last 10 years will also be required - as well as police certificates for the countries of service.
The new e457 visa application form instructs additional details and attachment of police certificates. 

English Language Exemption

The English Language Salary Exemption (ELSET) has been removed for applications submitted on or after 1 July 2017.  Hence, English language results must be included in 457 visa application requirements with the following exemptions:

  • the applicant is an employee of an overseas company who is coming to Australia to work for that company or their associated entity and they have at a nominated base pay rate of $96,400 minimum
  • the applicant holds a passport of any of the following countries: UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.

 New 457 Sponsorhip Accreditation

Current Standard Business Sponsors (SBS) can apply for accredited status by lodging a sponsorship variation application.

They can request for a sponsorship accreditation online and they must provide extra evidentiary information at the time of application.

The new sponsorship accreditation has four categories:

Category 1: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors that are Australian government agencies

(Commonwealth, state, and territory)

Category 2: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors that are approved Australian Trusted Traders

 Category 3: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors categorised as "Low risk" with low volume usage

(of the 457 program) and a high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%)

 Category 4: Relates to Standard Business Sponsors categorised as "Low risk" with high volume usage (of the 457 programme) and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%).

For more information on the required characteristics and evidentiary documentation, download the updated sponsorship accreditation arrangements.

Businesses that are not Standard Business Sponsors as of 1 July 2017 must apply to become a sponsor first before they request for an accreditation assessment. Application for a Standard Business Sponsorship should register online via the Department's website.

Existing Accredited Sponsors will not be affected by the 1 July 2017 changes. They will continue to access priority allocation and streamlined processing arrangements as usual.

Training Benchmarks Modifications

Business operating for at least a year must demonstrate that they are able to meet a training benchmark to receive business sponsorship approval.

Businesses have two choices to meet the training benchmark: 

1. Payment to an industry training fund of at least 2% of payroll

2. Expenditure of at least 1% of payroll on training employees

Training includes: 

a. paying for a scholarship for formal study at TAFE or University

b. paying for formal courses of study or training provided by an RTO, which is considered a step to formal qualification

c. employing apprentices, trainees or recent graduates in the business

d. hiring a training officer

e. attending conferences for CPD purposes

f. eLearning or training software

Training excludes the following activities: 

a. on-the-job or induction training

b. undertaken by the principals of the business or their family members

c. membership fees, books, journals or magasine subscriptions

d. not releveant to the business industry 

The business must provide proof of recent expenditure at the required level, and commit to maintaining this level of funding for each 12-month period following approval of the sponsorship. 

Companies operating less than a year must show they have an auditable plan to meet the benchmarks. 

Permanent EMPLOYER SPONSORED Visa Updates 

  • Raising English language requirements to "competent" level (IELTS 6), consistent with TRT and Direct Entry requirements
  • Upper age limit of 45 for Direct Entry applicants. ENS (Direct Entry) will also be affected by the skilled occupation lists amendment
  • Upper age limit for General Skilled Migration (subclasses 189, 190 and 489) to decrease to 45.



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