Are you up to speed on recent 457 visa changes?
The most commonly used working visa, the sub 457, was recently reviewed by the government in an attempt to streamline the process for businesses and expatriates looking to start a new life in Australia.
The trusty old 457 visa has given thousands of skilled foreign workers the option to move to Australia. Businesses apply to sponsor applicants that possess certain skills transferable to their company, offering them a job position that can last up to 4 years upon arrival in the country.
The exchange works well, as due to the Australian local labour shortage, many businesses that require particular skills, such as joinery or culinary experience, have struggled to add new members to their workforce.
The 457 visa allows the Australian economy to grow, while offering overseas workers the opportunity to temporarily reside in an extraordinary country they have always dreamed of. Employers are permitted to pay the market rate, so expats could even be living on a comfortable salary of up to $53,900 per annum.
However, despite the overall success of the exchange, there have been some unfortunate cases where the 457 visa has been misused.
Vulnerable prospective workers are sometimes fooled into paying excessive fees to a fraudulent migration agent, only to find when they make the expensive pilgrimage to Australia that the job they have been sold is completely wrong for them. Or worse, they arrive to find that they no job at all.
To combat this issue, and to make the visa seem more attractive to prospective applicants, the government has set about implementing some changes.
In an attempt to stop any further exploitation, the government has stressed the importance of using an authorised migration agent.
A good migration agent can be a blessing throughout the process of relocating overseas; helping you to fill out the relevant paperwork, advising you on any extra evidence you need to support your application and speaking to the relevant people.
Be cautious when choosing an agent, as although there are many legitimate agents around, there are a small number of fraudulent ones who are just out to grab your money. Ensure that you go through a registered agency with a good website, positive customer feedback and online reviews.
A more relaxed English proficiency policy
In the past, government regulations required applicants to possess a strong grasp of the English language, scoring at least 5 on the IELTS test across the main areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
However, the government has stated that it will act with a more relaxed policy in some cases, as many of the skilled roles needed do not require a high level of English to carry out the work. Applicants should be accepted as long as they can proficiently perform the tasks that they are being employed to do.
Streamlining for low-risk applicants
The new legislation is going to make it easier for low risk applicants to gain a visa.
Low risk applicants can be categorised as having a genuine intention to work throughout their time in the country, hold a clear criminal record for the last 12 months and are in good health with medical insurance.
The government has also dedicated extra services to monitor high-risk applicants, who are those with criminal convictions, a lack of health insurance and cannot prove that they will be moving overseas to commence employment.
While relocating to Australia is an exciting time, there are obviously many things to be aware of. If you are particularly worried about the process, speak to a registered migration agency. They can ease you through the next steps and guarantee that everything is in place for you to begin your new adventure.
http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/1154.pdf – IETS test page 40
https://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/increase-income-threshold.htm – income threshold
Guest post from True Blue Migration – Thank you Fiona Mayers.