According to the Immigration Department there are over 80,000 people working in Australia on 457 visas. But what is the 457 visa and how do people receive one?
Also known as the Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa, the 457 is a subclass of visa for skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily, provided they are sponsored by an Australian or overseas employer.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR A 457 VISA?
The 457 visa was introduced in 1996 and allows skilled workers to be employed in Australia for up to four years. Applicants must be sponsored by a local business for a specific job, relevant to their skillset.
In most cases, visa holders are permitted to bring family members with them.
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's 2012 State/Territory Summary Report most 457 visas are granted to managers, professionals, technicians and trades workers.
Most new workers come from the United Kingdom, India and the Republic of Ireland and most find employment in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.
APPLYING FOR A 457 VISA
Before a business can sponsor an overseas worker they must first confirm there are no appropriately skilled Australian citizens or permanent residents who could do the job.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship updates a Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List each year, which records occupations that have a low skilled labour force in Australia.
Applicants for these jobs must then contact a relevant assessing authority to obtain a skills assessment and various necessary application forms.
Visa holders must also show that their salary while working in Australia will be above $51,400 and certain passport holders may need to pass an English language proficiency test.
RESTRICTIONS ON 457 VISAS
Holders of the 457 visa cannot be unemployed for more than 28 days.
Because most 457 visa holders are in Australia for long-term employment, and many even become permanent residents, holders have unlimited re-entry into Australia and can borrow from Australian banks.
In July 2012, the Australian Government revised the 457 visa, allowing non-resident workers to transition to permanent residency visas if they have worked with the sponsoring employer for two years in a full-time position.
Under the new scheme, employers can sponsor employees for a fast-tracked pathway, called the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, to permanent residency.