If you are currently holding a 457 visa in Australia, you may have multiple options to obtain permanent residency even after the March 2018 changes.

Are you affected by the new rules for 457 visa to PR?

 

Whether you qualify for a permanent visa will depend on your individual circumstances, however, approaches to transitioning from the 457 visa to PR under the new rules will be different for :

  1. Those that held a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 (or a bridging visa associated with a 457); and
  2. Those that did not (ie. began after 18 April 2017).

 

For 457 visa holders that held a 457 on 18 April 2017 (or a bridging visa associated with a 457):

457 to PR – Transition to a Permanent Employer Sponsored visa (ENS or RSMS

Transition rules are largely the same as what they were when you first obtained your 457 visa. This is known as “grandfathering” and is designed to protect those people that became affected by the new law after they had already started:

  • Must be nominated by the same employer who is your latest 457 sponsorĀ 
  • Must be nominated in the same position to which your current 457 visa relates (some exceptions apply to this – where it is the same occupation group)
  • Must have been employed for at least 2 years in an occupation with the same 4 digit occupation unit group code as the occupation on your 457 nomination
  • Must be under 50 years old or be eligible for an age exemption
  • Must have competent English or meet the 5 years education in English rule
  • Must hold any licensing or registration as required for your occupation

 

Other requirements apply, such as employer sponsor obligations, pay rates and genuine need – these have been tightened and the department is scrutinising these aspects a great deal more these days. We have heard reports of agents receiving refusals without requests for information where the case officer is not satisfied with the evidence provided.

It is also worth getting an assessment about whether your employer has complied with training benchmark requirements during the course of their sponsorship up until 12 August 2018. This is because if the sponsor has not complied, it is open to the Department to refuse the permanent visa application.

Grandfathered 457 visa holders (that is, those that held a 457 visa on 18 April 2017) are complex cases, and it is strongly recommended you obtain advice in an initial consultation to ensure your eligibility.

 

For 457 visa holders that DID NOT hold a 457 on 18 April 2017 (or a bridging visa associated with a 457 visa:

Transition rules do not apply to this cohort – since they obtained their 457 visa after the new rules were announced in April 2017. So all of the new rules apply:

  • Must be nominated by the same employer who is your latest 457 or 482 sponsor (this may mean the employer has to apply for fresh sponsorship)
  • Must be nominated in the same position to which your current 457 visa relates (some exceptions apply to this rule)
  • Must have been employed for at least 3 years in an occupation with the same 4 digit occupation unit group code as the occupation on your 457 nomination
  • Must be under 45 years old or be eligible for an age exemption
  • Must have competent English
  • Must hold any licensing or registration as required for your occupation
  • Occupation must be on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)

 

For those whose occupation is not on the MLTSSL, other options may be available, such as state sponsorship or direct regional employer sponsorship (ie. in a regional area).To qualify for these visas, you must:

Obtain a positive skills assessment and gain state nomination

  • Your occupation must be listed on a State Occupation List and meet all other criteria for state nomination
  • Must be able to qualify for a positive skills assessment
  • Must be able to attain 65 points for General Skilled Migration

Obtain a positive skills assessment and apply for independent migration

  • Occupation must be listed on the Skilled Occupation List
  • Must be able to qualify for a positive skills assessment
  • Must be able to attain 65 points for General Skilled Migration

Obtain permanent sponsorship from a new employer under Direct Entry stream

  • May need a skills assessment
  • Will need to show 3 years work experience
  • Will need to be located in a regional area

 

For all visas, applicants must meet the health and character criteria.

Advantages of transitioning to an employer sponsored permanent visa are:

  • No need for a skills assessment
  • No points test requirement
  • No need to apply to a state government
  • No need to prove extensive work experience

Whether or not you pursue a transition stream strategy or proceed with state or independent application will depend on your circumstances and the willingness of your employer to nominate you for a permanent visa.

Talk to a migration agent about what strategy is best for you. A good agent can also help in presenting the options to your employer if you need. Or view our FAQ in the mean time.