457 Review Recommendations Announced

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has released the recommendations and the report of an inquiry panel it appointed in February 2014 to review the 457 visa program.

The Minister has praised the panel’s report and AUSA Migration expects that many of its recommendations will be implemented by the Government.

The recommendations include:

–          Labour market testing (LMT) be abolished

–          The English language requirement for a 457 visa be an average IELTS score of 5.0.  Currently an applicant must score a minimum of 5.0 on each of the 4 IELTS tests

–          That employers be required to pay an annual fee to a government training fund for each 457 visa worker employed.  This would replace the current training benchmarks.

–          The current Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) (currently $53,900 pa) be frozen for up to two years

–          Where the base rate of pay is below the TSMIT, if guaranteed annual earnings are above the TSMIT when penalties, allowances and overtime are added, that a 457 visa may be granted

–          Standard business sponsors should be approved for 5 years; and start up business sponsors for 18 months

–          457 visa workers be required to provide the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) with their tax file number to facilitate better compliance with visa requirements

–          457 visa holders are currently required to work for at least two years in Australia with the same employer before the can be granted an ENS or RSMS permanent residence visa under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream.  The panel recommends that the 457 visa holder be allowed to move to a new employer if they wish during this two year period.  The 457 visa holder would only be required to work with the nominating employer for at least 12 months of the 2 year period.

–          It be unlawful for an employer sponsor to be paid by a 457 visa applicant to secure a “visa outcome”.

The Government is expected to announce its response to these recommendations over the next few weeks.

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