The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have released a long
awaited Independent Review into the integrity of the 457 programme.
**INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF 457 VISA PROGRAMME**
**Please note: As yet, no changes have been made to the legislation for 457 visas. This article is based on recommendations which were made by the Independent Review.
Overall, there were a number of recommendations with some of the most interesting highlights and suggestions including:
- Easier Process: 457 holders to apply for PR via Employer Nomination requiring them to have worked in Australia for 2 years, but only with the current employer for 12 months. Currently 457 holders must work for the current sponsoring employer for 2 years to be eligible via the Transition Stream.
- Age Restriction: Will be reviewing any 457 visa holders transitioning to PR via ENS or RSMS. As it stands at the moment, it is very difficult to qualify once the applicant turns 50 years old.
- De Facto: Allow de facto partners and dependents of primary 457 visa holders to secure PR under the Transition stream, once they have worked in Australia for 2 years.
- Reduced Fees: Fees to be reduced, especially for secondary visa applicants and visa renewal applications.
- Market Testing: Labour Market Testing to be made more objective and transparent, or completely abolished.
- Language Requirement: Ease the English language requirement for 457 applications including accepting an average score of 5 in IELTS, allowing other types of English tests, recognising 5 years of combined education in English as sufficient, and expanding the list of countries exempt from the English requirement testing.
- TSMIT Framework: The report recommends maintaining the TSMIT framework for at least the next 2 years, and allowing 457 employees situated in regional areas, to be paid up to 10% less than the set figure.
- More funding: Allocated to monitoring and compliance, allowing the Department to increase investigations and prohibit employers from seeking compensation and payment for sponsoring employees on 457 visas.
- Training Requirement: Simplify it for 457 sponsors and pay an ‘annual training levy’ for each sponsored employee, depending on the size of the business, rather than the existing Training Benchmarks requiring 1% of overall payroll of Australian employees, or 2% paid into an Industry training fund.
- Standard Business Sponsors: Should be approved for five years, and 18 months for start-up businesses. SBS is currently approved to established businesses for 3 years, and 12 months for start-up businesses.
- More Streamlined: processing arrangements for low risk sponsors, based on the operations and status of the business, and their previous history with Immigration.
**Full report of the 457 visa programme here
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