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The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa allows eligible employers to address skills shortages that cannot be filled from the local labour market.
The subclass 457 visa program is the most commonly used Australian visa program to sponsor overseas skilled workers on a temporary basis.
See: Fact sheet 48 — Helping Skilled and Business People
- The program is uncapped and driven by employer demand. This generally means employers will sponsor overseas workers more in times of high economic growth and low unemployment.
- Businesses can employ overseas workers for up to four years in skilled occupations only.
- Businesses must meet (or commit to meet) the prescribed training benchmarks for the program, which requires an ongoing commitment to training activities for Australian citizens and permanent residents.
- Strong worker protection measures are in place to ensure that overseas skilled workers are provided the same workplace rights as Australian citizens.
How to apply
To sponsor an employee from overseas under the subclass 457 visa program, the following three stages are required:
Sponsorship—the employer applies for approval as a standard business sponsor. This is required to nominate an occupation for a subclass 457 visa.
Nomination—the employer nominates an occupation for a prospective or existing subclass 457 visa holder.
Visa application—the person nominated to work in the nominated occupation applies for the subclass 457 visa. This is the final step to obtaining a subclass 457 visa.
To become a standard business sponsor, a business must apply to the department.
There are several requirements for employers to become an approved standard business sponsor. These include that the business:
- must be lawfully operating in or outside Australia
- must meet (or commit to meet) the training benchmarks for the program
- or persons associated with the business, do not have adverse information known to the department
- once approved, must comply with all sponsor obligations
- must attest to a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to:
- employing local labour
- non-discriminatory employment practices.
Training benchmarks—Frequently asked Questions—Sponsors for Subclass 457 Visa ( 33KB PDF file)
Sponsor Obligations—For Subclass 457 Visa
Nomination is when an approved sponsor identifies a position to be filled by an overseas skilled worker.
There are several requirements to nominate a position to be filled by an overseas skilled worker. These include the:
- business must be an approved sponsor, have lodged a sponsorship application or applied for sponsorship at the same time as the nomination application
- nominee must be an existing subclass 457 visa holder, an applicant for a subclass 457 visa holder or a proposed applicant for a subclass 457 visa
- position must relate to an eligible occupation
- position must have equivalent terms and conditions of employment that would be provided to an Australian who performs the same duties in the same location—this is known as the market salary rate.
See: Nomination Eligibility—for Subclass 457 Visa
Employees (visa applicants)
Overseas skilled workers and any dependants must apply for and be granted a visa to travel to, or remain in Australia. It’s important to note that a subclass 457 visa application cannot be processed if your application is not supported by an approved sponsor and an approved nomination.
Subclass 457 visa holders can:
- work in Australia for a period of between one day and four years
- bring any eligible dependants with them to Australia—dependants can work and study
- after entering Australia, have no limit on the number of times they can travel in and out of Australia.
There are several requirements that prospective visa applicants must meet to be granted a visa. These include:
- a demonstrated minimum English language ability (some exemptions apply)
- adequate health insurance must be arranged for the period of stay in Australia
- genuine intention must be shown to perform the nominated occupation
- standard visa requirements such as character and health checks together with a declaration concerning Australian values and laws must be met.
Note: A skills assessment may be required to demonstrate an applicant has the skills necessary to perform the occupation.
See: Employee Eligibility—for Subclass 457 Visa
A complete information booklet on the subclass 457 visa program is available.
See: Booklet 9—Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) Visa (630KB PDF file)
The subclass 457 visa program website has more detailed information about the program. This includes the process of applying for sponsorship, nomination and visa application through the eVisa system.
See: About this Visa—Subclass 457 Visa
Further information is available on the department's website.
The department also operates a national general enquiries line.
Telephone: 131 881
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.
Fact Sheet 48b. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.
Last reviewed November 2012.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2011.