Are you ready for 457 visa changes?

by Iain Hopkins25 Mar 2013

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (IMMI) recently flagged a number of changes to the subclass 457 program, and these changes are due to take effect from 1 July 2013.

One of the foremost changes includes extending powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to monitor key aspects of employers’ compliance with 457 visa conditions, namely that:

  • 457 visa holders are being paid at the market rates specified in their approved visa, and

  • The job being done by the 457 visa holder matches the job title and description approved in their visa.

According to the department, the changes are necessary in order to safeguard jobs for Australians first and foreigners second. The aim of the 457 visas is to sponsor people to fill genuine skills gaps, and IMMI stated that for employers and workers alike who are using the program appropriately, there will be no adverse effects. “There should be no adverse effects on existing visa holders if they are already doing the right thing. The 457 visa is a temporary visa, intended for filling short to medium term skill shortages, in a quick, flexible way to meet business needs,” the department stated. The vast majority of 457 visa applicants who are genuine will not be affected by the changes, but in some circumstances applicants whose applications are processed after 1 July 2013 may be required to provide further evidence to demonstrate their claims for a 457 visa.

In terms of new sponsorship agreements entered into after 1 July, employers will have to demonstrate a genuine need for skilled workers from overseas, and in such cases they will still be able to sponsor people. Employers will have to show genuine attempts have been made to open job opportunities up to Australians.

IMMI said the 457 sponsorship requirements are there to ensure that if a suitably qualified and experienced Australian is readily available to work where needed, employers will look to them first.

In addition, if a suitably qualified Australian worker is readily available and acceptable, they are the more preferable option because it is comparatively less expensive to source a local worker.

There can be significant costs to the employer when sponsoring a 457 worker. These costs include:

  • paying sponsorship and nomination fees
  • costs of recruitment
  • providing equal terms and conditions including paying market rates
  • maintaining a financial commitment to training levels
  • being liable for the cost of return travel to the person's country of origin.
  • When these costs are factored in, it can be more expensive to employ an overseas worker than a local worker of the same skills and experience.

For a full list of the changes, click here.



  • by Anne-Marie Orrock, Corporate Canary HR Consulting 26/03/2013 5:00:53 PM

    It is a difficult decision for a business to make, and many pro's & con's. Forcing businesses to search locally can add the 'hidden' costs of of recruitment and turnover to a business. Such as Cost of Vacancy to a position, when an overseas option is ready and available, and the cost of replacing a local hire who is much more likely to move on from the company sooner, than a 457 holder. 457 employees are more likely to stay around, however those with families can have a lower endurance rate. Therein is the gamble with 457 employees versus local employees. It comes down to the individual situation.

  • by ushi 27/03/2013 9:22:44 AM

    how can the union validate their recent Canberra stop work meeting in favour of 457 visa holders getting 'market rates' when -
    (a) they were ONLY building labourers; and
    (b) it is so hard for Australian citizens to get a job.

    The steady increase in Company Liquidations, especially in the Building sector, s/be a warning to Government .. bcoz more company failures means more jobs lost and more CentreLink payments required to be paid....

    457 visas SHOULD BE STOPPED
    or, Incentives to employ/train Australians need to be provided..
    Employing/ training Australian citizens provides for the future of Australia...
    .. Employing from overseas does NOT ... it is an easy cop out for some companies..
    AND, visas that consistently allow overseas students to stay in Australia s/be stopped -bcoz they are jumping the queue for people that have applied to migrate here

  • by Jo Public 27/03/2013 11:38:40 AM

    457 visas are the effect of a lack of planning and investment by businesses. They are a cheap easy solution to training and investment in Australian people and Australia. The preference is to profits and shareholders.
    Now that the mining boom is over and there is a move towards gas many companies would prefer to bring in new expertise (457) rather than retrain engineers already in Australia. I was trained as and international mechanical engineer and not an oil and gas engineer. Most of the rotating equipment used in oil and gas is used in other industries. No one wants to give me a chance to learn the differences and move me into oil and gas. Now the country has to fund these unemployed mining people that have been made permanent residents by the companies that brought them over and now they don't need. No one wants to look at the long term problems its all shortermism.

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