Temporary Work (skilled) (subclass 457) Visa Application Requirements
By Blaise Alexander, Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent and Immigration Lawyer, Lovegrove Smith & Cotton
Temporary Work (skilled) (subclass 457) visa, standard business sponsorship, and visa application requirements
Who can apply?
You can make an application for a subclass 457 visa if you have been nominated by an Australian employer under standard business sponsorship and advised by them to make the application.
You can also apply if you have been advised by your employer on the basis of an intra company transfer. An application on this basis streamlines the process and can be of particular assistance to companies in the Asia Pacific region, China and New Zealand.
If you make an application under a standard business sponsorship you must include evidence that the employer is an approved sponsor and that the position is a valid nomination.
The reality of the situation is that most employers are assisting the applicant to complete the application forms and providing the relevant information. This is so especially in light of Australia’s complex and rigorous immigration system and requirements. In many cases, the applicant will struggle to complete even their own section of the application process, such as providing sufficient evidence of education, skills and language, without assistance. The employer may also find the labour intensiveness of the temporary work visa process disenchanting to say the least.
It would be prudent to anticipate issues and complications, as well as bearing in mind the constantly changing regulatory nature of Australian immigration. For example, the annual changes in the SOL (Skilled Occupation List), and current reviews of English Language Proficiency Requirements.
The upshot of this reality is that most employers engage a suitably qualified and experienced Solicitor/RMA for the purposes of a holistic approach to sponsorship, nomination, application and continued compliance. It is vital that the employer or company utilise the services of a professional migration agent with a sound knowledge of the procedural aspects of business sponsorship as well as a good working relationship with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This can be immensely valuable in facilitating a smooth, efficient and timely system of employment sourcing.
The subclass 457 visa applicant is subject to general visa health and character requirements, in addition to specific visa requirements relating to a valid and approved nomination, establishment of a genuine intention and association with the position, the necessary skills and experience for the occupation (including relevant licences and registration), and the applicant must satisfy English Language Proficiency Requirements.
The requirement to establish genuine intention and skills is onerous, including a successful migration skills assessment in the nominated occupation from the relevant authority. The area of Trade Skills requires a further successful completion of an assessment by Trades Recognition Australia. Certified qualifications, registrations, licences and references need to be of a certain standard and proved to be genuine documents.
Language requirements are assessed by IELTS; a test of English proficiency available worldwide. The level of proficiency may change according to the occupation, especially those requiring registration or licensing or membership in Australia. There may be instances where the applicant is exempt from English language proficiency, for example if you hold a UK, US or New Zealand Passport.
It is important to remember that the above requirements may be carefully scrutinised by the DIBP, and low quality or dubious applications can “throw a spanner in the works”, cause delays and additional costs and hamper the visa process.
One of the greatest quandaries for small to medium sized, and even larger established companies employing overseas skilled labour is a failure to maintain compliance with all the facets of ongoing visa sponsorship, nomination and application requirements. As stated, the regulations in this area are subject to constant change, both in terms of government policy but also because the visa class is responsive to a labour driven, economically sensitive market.
Therefore, the greatest recommendation can only be to ensure that you are engaging the services of a qualified, experienced Solicitor who is also a Registered Migration Agent to assist your organisation by facilitating “decision ready”, complete applications throughout the process. This person can also lend strong professional rapport to negotiate and communicate with immigration officials, and conduct internal reviews of currency of sponsorship, nomination and applicant requirements. In the area of immigration it is always best to take a front end approach to avoid delays, expense and possible breach of regulations and penalties.
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© Lovegrove Smith & Cotton 2014