Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 Visas

As previously outlined in earlier client alerts, the following changes from 1 July 2017 have come into effect:

  • Occupations lists have been revised based on advice from the Department of Employment
  • English language requirements: The English language salary exemption has now been removed. Previously applicants whose salary was over $96,400 were exempt from the English language requirement,
  • Training benchmarks: Policy changes have been amended to restrict acceptable training for 457 sponsorships and ENS nominations. Introduction of new policy now further defines how business sponsors should calculate payroll expenditure for training benchmarks.
  • Mandatory skills assessments: Formal skills assessments are now required for an increased number of trade occupations for certain passport holders
  • Character: Provision of penal clearance certificates are now mandatory

Permanent Employer Sponsorship (ENS and RSMS)

The everchanging immigration framework has been dealt another anomaly with the application of an instrument (immi 17/058) which seeks to retrospectively remove the skills and English exemptions applicable to the subclass 186 and 187 visas.

Whilst this section deals with the substantive changes, the actual effect to lodged applications is being heavily debated within the industry and the peak industry body, Migration Institute of Australia, has called for submissions from members detailing the consequences to business and applicants alike.

Below is a summary of these changes.

For the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS) the following changes have come into effect:

  • English language requirements: A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component

For the Direct Entry Stream the following changes come into effect:

  • Occupations lists have been revised based on advice from the Department of Employment
  • Age: Applicants applying under this stream must be less than 45 years old;
  • English and skills exemptions: Applicants with a base salary of at least $180,001 will no longer be exempt from meeting the English or skills requirements
  • Caveats for the subclass 186 (Direct Entry)

New Accredited Sponsorship Arrangements

Sponsorship accreditation has been expanded to accommodate certain low risk sponsors. This will ensure that gaining access to priority processing will no longer only be available to large volume users of the subclass 457 program.

From 1 July 2017, low volume sponsors will be eligible for accredited status provided they:

  • Have Australian workers comprising at least 90% of their workforce in Australia;
  • Have an annual turnover of at least $4 million for the last two years.

If you want to know more about accredited status – please contact our office for more information.

General Skilled Migration – Age Limit

From 1 July 2017 applicants applying under the subclass 489, 189 and 190 streams must be less than 45 years old at the date of invitation.

With the commencement of the new invitation rounds, the occupation ceilings for the year 2016-17 have been released online for points based skilled visas.

Visa Application Charges

From 1 July 2017, visa application charges have increased in line with the forecast consumer price index. A full list of the new visa application charges can be found here


Online Visitor visa lodgement for Indian nationals

Indian passport holders can now lodge Visitor (subclass 600) visa applications online.

Occupational Lists – Amended

Both occupational lists (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) have been amended and have been applied from 1 July 2017.

A full list of the occupations on both the MLTSSL and STSOL lists is available here:

A table of the occupations that have been added back on to the list as of 1 July 2017 follows:


A table of occupations that have changed lists or have been removed from both lists as of 1 July 2017 follows:


The STSOL will be further reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment. The MLTSSL will be revised based on outcomes from the Department of Education and Training’s 2017-18 SOL review.

Occupational caveats as of 1 July 2017

An increased number of occupations are now subject to caveats. Caveats are in place for the occupations listed below which apply to both the subclass 457 and subclass 186 (Direct Entry) stream.

Group A: caveats relating to work experience only
Caveats are in place for the occupations listed below which exclude their use under the standard subclass 457 programme for positions that do not require a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience:


Under policy:

  • two years’ relevant work experience should be interpreted as two years’ full time work experience in the same or a similar occupation;
  • unless they have significant concerns about the use of the subclass 457 programme for the nominated position, officers may be satisfied that this caveat does not apply if any job advertisements/job descriptions provided specify this as a requirement, or a visa application has already been lodged and the evidence provided clearly indicates that the nominee has at least two years’ relevant full time work experience.

Group B: caveats relating to regional location only
Caveats are in place for the occupations listed below which exclude their use under the standard subclass 457 programme for positions that are not located in regional Australia:


Group C: occupation specific caveats
Occupation specific caveat apply to the following occupations as of 1 July 2017. These occupations are listed in alphabetical order.



Naturally if you have any questions or would like to discuss how these changes may affect you or your business, please do not hesitate to contact our office.