For EmployersAustralia, visa, immigration, work visa, 457 visa

The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa is designed to enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in skilled workers where they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian.

Which employers can use the program?

Employers lawfully operating a business inside or outside of Australia can use the program once they have been approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as a ‘Standard Business Sponsor’.

To qualify, businesses in Australia must demonstrate they are operating as a lawful business. The firm is required to demonstrate or meet minimum training benchmarks based on the length of time that the firm has traded (under or over 12 months).

Firms must also attest in writing to a record or commitment to the employment of local labour and a commitment to non-discriminatory recruitment practices.

A standard business sponsorship is valid for up to three years. Employers can be accredited for up to six years before needing to re-apply as a sponsor.

Overseas employers can also use the program if they are operating legally and actively seeking to establish a business operation in Australia. Whilst overseas firms would not need to demonstrate the same training commitments, their initial sponsorship term is limited to 12 months in which time they would be expected to make headway towards Australian operations.

Who Can you Sponsor?

There are regular updates to the Skilled Occupations Lists which target high-value skills over the next three to five years. There are currently 188 occupations on the Skilled Occupations List including occupations as diverse as restaurant managers, motor mechanic, locksmith, software engineer, graphic designer and registered nurse.

What are employers obliged to do under the scheme?

  • Businesses must make a commitment to meet the prescribed training benchmarks for the program, which require an ongoing commitment to training activities for Australian citizens and permanent residents, and that at least 75% of their workforce are Australian residents or citizens.
  • Employers must attest to having a strong record of, or commitment to, employing local labour and non-discriminatory employment practices.
  • Employers must pay employees a rate equivalent to comparable local wages, and must not underpay their employees or deduct money without the employee’s consent for such purposes as rent or board.
  • Employers must also provide a clear understanding of the skills and experience required for the position, and identify where the employee will be working.


Workers under the subclass 457 scheme are governed by the same minimum conditions of employment as Australian workers. These conditions include working hours, overtime payments, rest breaks, sick leave and holidays.

All temporary workers have the right to join and be represented by a trade union. In addition, workers have the right to be treated fairly which includes not being dismissed unfairly or discriminated against for reasons of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability or for trade union membership.

How is the rate of pay determined?

As at 1 July 2013, the lowest wage acceptable under the scheme, known as the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), is $53,900 in order to best ensure that all subclass 457 visa holders have sufficient income to independently provide for themselves in Australia.
TSMIT is indexed in line with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report on average weekly earnings. For each occupation, employers are required to show that they are providing equal pay and conditions of employment as for Australian workers performing equivalent work in the same location, known as the market salary rate. This process may involve employers identifying relevant collective agreements, awards and award conditions, common law contracts, remuneration surveys or earnings data.
Employers are not allowed to make deductions from workers’ pay (other than for tax and superannuation) without the worker’s permission.
Employers remunerating positions in excess of $250,000 are exempt from market salary testing.
If you are looking to sponsor someone from overseas or want assistance to find a suitable overseas employee, please contact our specialists.

For Employees

If you are a skilled worker – a teacher, a painter, a carpenter, a tailor, or you work in any of the hundreds of occupations that are approved for a work visa in Australia, this is the suitable visa subclass for you. A list of occupations that are eligible under the subclass 457 visa programme is here.

The Basic Requirements

  • You are offered a full time position to work with an Australian employer.
  • Your occupation is approved for sponsorship
  • You have the required skills for this occupation
  • You have the relevant work experience in your occupation
  • You have functional English
  • You pass a health and medical examination

What does this visa let you do?

  • Work in Australia with your sponsoring employer
  • bring your family to work or study in Australia
  • travel in and out of Australia as often as you want
  • You may be eligible for permanent residence at a later stage

The Process

There are 3 processing stages in sponsoring an employee from overseas under the subclass 457 visa programme:

1. Sponsorship

The employer applies for approval as a standard business sponsor. This is required to nominate an occupation for a subclass 457 visa.

2. Nomination

The employer nominates an occupation for a prospective or existing subclass 457 visa holder.

3. Visa application

The person nominated to work in the nominated occupation applies for the subclass 457 visa. This is the final step to obtaining a subclass 457 visa.

English Language Requirements

Temporary workers are required to demonstrate a level of English language proficiency unless their income is in excess of $96,400 per annum.

Although many primary visa applicants are required to have basic English, there are no requirements for dependents.

Changing Employers

As with Australians and permanent residents, subclass 457 visa holders and their families are free to move between employers, states and regional or non-regional locations. This is, however, on the proviso that their new employer is approved to sponsor and nominate under the program.

Under recent migration amendments, subclass 457 visa holders now have 90 consecutive days once employment has ended with one employer to seek sponsorship with a new employer, rather than the prior arrangement of 28 consecutive days.

Health Requirements

You and all people included in the application will have to undergo medical exam checkups. When it is time to do the tests, we will tell you what type of tests you need to do and the authorized doctors in your country.

Health Insurance

Subclass 457 visa holders are required to maintain private health cover for the duration of their stay in Australia. At a minimum, this cover must be at least comprehensive for themselves and accompanying family members.

You may be exempt from this requirement if you are eligible for enrollment in Medicare under reciprocal health care arrangements. Employers may choose to cover this cost, but are not required to do so.

We can advise you on the appropriate health insurance plan for you and your family members.

Character Requirements

You will have to provide a police certificate declaring your good character. This applies to all members older than 18 included in the application

Do temporary work visa holders receive the same benefits as Australians?

No. Temporary workers do not have access to a range of government support available to Australian citizens and permanent residents, such as Centrelink payments and Medicare (unlessreciprocal health agreements exist).

In addition, states and territories may charge fees for the children of workers on subclass 457 visas to attend public schools. New South Wales (NSW) charges $4,500 for kindergarten, $4,500 for junior high schooling and $5,500 for senior high schooling of subclass 457 visa holders.

The Australian Capital Territory charges $9,320, $12,500 and $13,900 respectively, although subclass 457 visa holders can apply for an education fee waiver if they are involved in a job that appears on the Skilled Occupation Lists.

In 2013, Western Australia announced a $4,000 per year public school tuition fee for children of subclass 457 visa holders but reports suggest this has been revised down to $2,000 for each additional child from the same family, with implementation postponed until 2015.

Subclass 457 visa holders in other states and the Northern Territory are exempt from international student fees, but may contribute minor administrative fees as do domestic students.

Am I Eligible?

To see if you are eligible for Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), please contact us.