As many readers will be aware the Federal Government’s response to the recommendation of the committee tasked with reviewing the operation of the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) scheme has been eagerly awaited.

The announcement on 18 March 2015 gives little solid guidance to business, beyond an indication that Sponsorship approvals will last 5 years (currently 3 years), the sponsorship process will be simplified, and language testing will be made a little easier.

See summary of responses below.

“Supported” recommendations

That the English language requirement be amended to an average score (currently an applicant has to pass in each component).

That Standard Business Sponsors should be approved for five years and start-up business sponsors for eighteen months (currently 3 years, and twelve months for start-up businesses)

That as part of the government’s deregulation agenda, the department should develop a simplified process for sponsor renewal.

That the timeframe for the sponsor to notify the department of notifiable events as set out in legislation should be extended to 28 days after the event has occurred. (Currently 10 days – eg visa holder has left the sponsor’s employment)

That consideration be given to facilitating access for partners of primary sponsored 457 visa holders to secure permanent residence under the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

“Supported subject to further consultation”

That the current training benchmarks be replaced by an annual training fund contribution based on each 457 visa holder sponsored, with the contributions scaled according to size of business.

That consideration be given to creating streamlined processing within the existing 457 programme as a deregulatory measure. To maintain programme integrity, streamlining should be built around risk factors including business size, occupation, salary and sponsor behaviour.



18 March 2015