Subclass 457 visa Changes

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, announced major but yet undefined changes to the Subclass 457 visa in a media release over the weekend, as follows:

  • Employers must demonstrate that they are not nominating positions where a genuine shortage does not exist
  • The English language requirements for certain positions have been raised
  • The enforceability of existing training requirements for businesses that use the program will be strengthened
  • The market salary exemption will rise from $180,000 to $250,000
  • On-hire arrangements of 457 Visa workers will be restricted
  • Compliance and enforcement powers will be beefed up to stop employers who have routinely abused the 457 system
  • Stakeholders will be consulted to ensure market rate provisions more effectively protect local employment


DIAC has provided the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) with the following further information about the changes:

More detailed information is expected on the DIAC website later today or this evening;

The Minister’s announcement is the policy – DIAC is now working on details and legislation;

Most changes are expected to be introduced on 1 July 2013;

The changes are designed to prevent many known abuses that are currently not illegal but are not in keeping with the intent of the program. Such known abuses include:

  • Companies that employ a staff consisting entirely of Subclass 457 visa holders and that have made no attempt to employ Australian citizens or permanent residents;
  • The sponsorship of a person whose nominated occupation is generic (eg, Project Administrator), but who is actually engaged in an different occupation (eg, a trade); and
  • Artificial market salary rates within a company.

Whilst the Minister does not intend to remove genuinely required generic occupations (eg, Project Administrator, Marketing Specialist) from the program, there may be an increased skills assessment or English requirement for these occupations;

The increase in the market salary exemption from $180,000 to $250,000 is designed to prevent Australian citizens or permanent residents in occupations where the market salary is $250,000 or higher from being replaced by Subclass 457 visa holders who can be paid $180,000;

Case officers are likely to be given a discretionary power to make investigations of market salary rate beyond what is paid in an individual company; and

DIAC believes that genuine users of the Subclass 457 visa program who are not trying to use if for purposes for which it was not intended will not be affected by the changes.



Source: Migration Institute of Australia