457 Visa Changes In The Air
Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, caused a stir recently by agreeing to allow Gina Rinehart to employ over 1700 foreign workers on 457 visas at her iron ore mine in Western Australia. However, this is not the only news from Mr Bowen on the 457 visa front this year. In March, Minister Bowen announced changes to the Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa Program, proposed to come into effect on 1 July 2012.
As part of these changes, the current 6 categories of visas in the program will be condensed into 2 (Employer Nomination and Regional Employer Nomination).
Also, there are changes which are intended to allow a simplified process for eligible Temporary Business (Long Stay) subclass 457 visa holders to obtain permanent residence.
A Temporary Residence Transition Stream will be introduced, targeted at subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for an employer for two years and to whom an employer wishes to offer a permanent role. Provided the employer and applicant are able to meet certain criteria (including in relation to the role being offered and the proposed terms, the applicant’s age and English proficiency), the changes will mean that the applicant’s skills and qualifications will not need to be assessed, on the basis of their ongoing employment and continuing employer sponsorship.
A raft of other changes are being introduced, including to skill and qualification exemptions, such as for applicants who will be paid executive-level salaries, and academics employed by Australian universities.
Keep your eye out for further announcements regarding subclass 457 visas, and contact our Workplace Law section if you need more information.
Posted on 13th June 2012