457 Visa Statistics Q1 2015 Update

The latest quarterly government statistics were released by the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection (DIBP). These were the first statistics that did not include trending graphs, which may indicate that these organisations did not want individuals to easily see trends in relation to the subclass 457 visa.

In order to clearly show the working visa trends, past data was tabulated and graphed to view below.

457 Visa Application Lodged Trend

There was an 15% increase in applications lodged last quarter when compared to Q1 2014.

As the graph below highlights, the first quarter (Q1) is historically the second most popular month for applications, behind the second quarter.  In 2013 Q2 there was an influx in applications lodged, as the cost of a 457 visa application was due to increase in July. There was a subsequent drop in application in the third quarter that year.

457 Visa Applications Lodged Q1 2015

457 Visa Application Granted Trend

There was a 4% decrease in applications granted last quarter when compared to Q1 2014. As discussed above, Q2 was artificially high due to policy changes which actually flowed onto Q3 2013, when 24% more applications were granted than lodged (which may be a side effect from a delay by DIBP in processing applications).

457 Visa Applications Granted Q1 2015

What Percentage Of Applications Are Successful?

A common question among 457 visa applicants is what percentage of applications lodged are successful. To answer this question the two tables above were combined, with applications granted removed from applications lodged. This resulted in the graph below.

457 Visa Granted Rate

The results of this graph can be confusing, as the first five quarters since 2013 show that more applications were granted than actually lodged. This could be due to a surplus of applications made prior to Q2 2013 which were not processed until the second half of FY14. Since the third quarter of 2014 the rate has dropped to more expected numbers, with more applications lodged than granted. This essentially means that there is a ‘failure rate’ with applications failing due to reasons such as:

  • The applicant changing their mind to move to Australia after lodging their application
  • The sponsor (employer) no longer having the position vacant/available
  • The DIBP rejecting the application as the applicant or sponsor does not meet 457 visa requirements
  • The DIBP processing times, limiting all the applications processed in that quarter

The failure rate is between 2% and 9% over the past nine months.

It is important to note that this does not mean the DIBP rejected all these applications as stated above.

What Is The Most Popular State To Work In?

The destinations of 457 visa holders generally represent the population of those regions. NSW has Australia’s largest popular and received 38% of visa holders while Victoria is the second most popular state and received 26%. WA is the exception to the rule which received more visa holders (16%) compared to QLD which is the third largest state. This may be related to the mining activities within Western Australia.

Applications By State

If we compare these statistics in 2009-10 when the mining boom was at its peak in WA, QLD and WA each received 19% of visa holders, highlighting the change in job demand across Australia over the past five years.

Three Other Key Statistics For 2014/15

1) More than 82% of primary applicants are male

The majority of applicants for the 457 visa are men, but women account for approximately 64% of secondary applications. This is due to the common pattern of men being sponsored in jobs in Australia and then bringing their partner to Australia. The reason why the percentage of females for secondary applications isn’t higher is because this class will include children (for families) which lowers the gender difference.

2) India Is The Most Popular Country Of Origin

When comparing the nationality of the primary applicant, India is the most popular with 24.3% of applications originating there. UK is second with 17.5% and China has 6.7%.

3) Most 457 Visa Applicants Lodge Their Applications Offshore

51.5% of applications for the 457 visa were made offshore. This trend used to account for most applications. However over the past decade it has become increasingly common for an individual to already be in Australia on another visa and then to apply for a 457 visa. An example is a student who has been studying on a student visa and then becomes sponsored by a local company.

Editor’s Conclusion

There is strong seasonality when it comes to the subclass 457 visa program, with the first half of the year being historically stronger than the latter half. Taking that into account, the scheme’s popularity has recently been sluggish, with the past two quarters seeing single digit declines in the number of applications granted.

This could be due to several factors including:

  • Higher unemployment and a tighter employment market
  • The end of the mining boom
  • A lower Australian Dollar making real wages lower from a global perspective

What is clear is that individuals from traditional countries such as the UK are finding Australia less appealing under the current scheme, compared to the views of developing countries such as India and China. This trend may also be the reason that such a high proportion of primary applicants are male with these countries having a higher proportion of men in their workforce.

What will be the most interesting statistic that we will see after June will be the granted rate. If this continues to drop it may highlight tougher standards by DIBP or that a higher number of applicants are not going through with their visa.

Overall, the 457 visa scheme remains steady with no plans politically to increase and decrease its popularity in Australia.