2015 Government Changes To The Subclass 457 Visa

The Australian government has provided an information sheet on changes to the subclass 457 visa program. These changes were in response to an integrity review of the program made in mark.

457 Visa Changes In 2015

The key changes to the program include:

1) Extending standard business sponsorships to 5 years from approval. Start-up business sponsorship has also been extended to 18 months.

2) The expansion of the list of English language providers to:

  • TOEFL IBT – Commonly known as the English as Foreign language internet test
  • PTE – Commonly known as the Pearson Test Of English
  • CAE – Commonly known as the Cambridge English Advanced test

3) The English language requirements now only requires an overall score with minimum scores of each component (reading, speaking, listening and writing)

457 Visa English Requirements In 2015

4) Exemptions to English language requirements will be provided when evidence if provided of 5 cumulative years of English studies (secondary or tertiary level).

5) A reduction in the market salary exemption threshold to $180k (the same as the Australian marginal tax rate)

6) An increase in the ‘notifiable period’ for sponsors to 28 calendar days (was 10 working days prior).

Overall Thoughts

The biggest 457 visa change in 2015 is by far the changes to the English language rules. Many applicants found this a hurdle as they would not reach the threshold but the new requirements shold help reduce the stress of meeting this requirement. The other is the extension of business sponsorships to 5 years easing the paperwork burden on Australian businesses.

It should be noted that may requirements such as the requirement to have 457 health insurance, health requirements and character requirements have not been changes as part of the review.