Employer Sponsored Visas

1. General. These are visas that you can apply for if your occupation is in the current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) and you have a job offer from an Australian Employer that is also willing to sponsor or nominate you for the visa. There are basically three categories of such visas available for you to apply for:

  • The Temporary Work Skilled Subclass 457 Visa.
  • The Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 Visa.
  • The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Subclass 187 Visa

2. Temporary Work Skilled Subclass 457 Visa. This visa is available for an applicant who is sponsored by an Australian employer or an overseas employer intending to establish an office in Australia to overcome temporary skilled labour shortages by recruiting personnel from overseas. The applicant if successful will be granted a visa to work for the sponsoring/nominating employer for two to four years. The employer is required to provide evidence to show that:

  • An Australian citizen or resident cannot be found to fill the job by doing a labour market survey;
  • Adequate provision for training employees in work relevant to the business has been provided; and
  • The employee will be paid a minimum salary equivalent to the Migration Income Threshold which currently is $53,900 per annum.

3. Australian employers can also recruit overseas workers under Labour Agreements concluded with the Department of Immigration. Such agreements are only worthwhile to conclude if there are 10 or more workers identified by the prospective employer.

4. With effect from 01 November 2002, legislation was introduced to provide for the special business needs of regional Australia. The changes allow for the current skill and salary threshold requirement for the subclass 457 visa to be waived in exceptional circumstances. Generally the income threshold can be reduced up to 10% less than the normal Migration Income Threshold. The regional subclass 457 arrangement are only available to Australian businesses operating in, and seeking to nominate a position located in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area. Overseas business sponsors, recruitment agencies, and labour hire firms are excluded from these regional concessions.

5. Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 Visa. This visa is for foreign skilled workers or professionals who want to migrate and work in Australia. This visa involves a two-step process. Firstly, nomination by an approved Australian employer and then a visa application under the nominated stream. It is part of the Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa programme. You can be in or outside Australia when you apply. If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a bridging visa A, B or C.

6. This visa has three streams:

The Temporary Residence Transition Stream is for a subclass 457 visa holder who has worked for two years, while holding a subclass 457 visa, in the same occupation with his/her nominating employer (who has lodged a valid nomination with the Department of Immigration under the Temporary Residence Transition stream), and who wants to offer the applicant a permanent position in that occupation with the employing company.

The Direct Entry Stream is for an applicant who has been nominated by the potential employer under the Direct Entry stream, who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia, or a temporary resident in Australia who do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

The Labour Agreement Stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour agreement.

7. Expression of Interest. If you do not have an employer to nominate you, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. Prospective employers and state and territory governments can then view your details and decide whether to nominate you for skilled migration. Your EOI must specify which stream you want to be considered for. No supporting documents are required at this time. You can lodge your EOI while you are in or outside Australia.

8. You are able to apply for this visa if you:

  • Have been nominated by an approved Australian employer within the six months before you apply.
  • Are under the age of 50 at the time of application, unless you are exempt.
  • Have the required skills and qualifications for the position at time of application lodgement you must have the required skills and qualifications for the position you have been nominated for – you must hold any mandatory registration, license or professional membership, or you must already be fully assessed as suitable by the relevant assessment body.
  • Have the required skills and qualifications for the position.
  • Have appropriate English language skills (at the time of application lodgement), unless you are exempt.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Meet the requirements of the stream in which you apply for the visa.

9. Age Requirements. Even if you are older than 50 years of age, you can still apply for this visa if you:

  • Are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia.
  • Are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian government scientific agency.
  • Are nominated as a minister of religion by a religious institution.
  • Are a medical practitioner who has been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa or a Subclass 422 visa for at least four years immediately before applying, and the nominated position is located in regional Australia.
  • Are a medical practitioner who has been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa before becoming the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for two years in the four years immediately before applying, and the nominated position is in regional Australia.
  • Are applying through the Direct Entry stream and you hold a Subclass 444 (New Zealand citizen) or Subclass 461 (New Zealand citizen’s family member) visa and you have been working for the employer who nominated you for at least two years in the last three years immediately before making the application.
  • Are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, and you have been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least four years immediately before applying, and that employer paid you at least as much as the Fair Work High Income Threshold in each of the four years.
  • Are applying through the Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 50 to be employed. More information on these exemptions is in Classes of Persons (Exempt from the Age Criteria).

10. English Language Requirements. You can show that your English is adequate by providing the following evidence at the time of application:

  • Achieving the required minimum test scores in a specified English language test either for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream or the Direct Entry Stream in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of application lodgement.
  • Holding a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and evidence you are a citizen of that country.

11. English Language Exemptions. You might not need to show adequate English language skills if you:

  • Are to be employed by a religious institution and you were nominated as a minister of religion.
  • Have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (currently AUD$180,001), however if you are not able to demonstrate that you have functional English, you will be required to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge.
  • Are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and:
    • You have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution, and
    • All of the tuition was delivered in English.

12. Skill Assessment Exemption. You might not have to meet the skill assessment and work experience requirements if you:

  • Were nominated as an academic by a university in Australia.
  • Were nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian government scientific agency.
  • Were nominated as a minister of religion by a religious institution.
  • Have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (currently AUD$180,001).
  • Are in Australia as the holder of a Special Category visa (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa (subclass 461) and have worked with your nominating employer in your nominated occupation for the past two years (not including any period of unpaid leave) in the three years before you apply for this visa.

13. Training Benchmark Requirements. An important requirement that MUST be met by an intending sponsoring and nominating employer is the Training Benchmark requirements in order to sponsor or nominate a foreign employee or applicant. If your business has been trading in Australia for more than 12 months, you must show you have contributed your business of company funds to the training of Australians. You must meet one of two Training Benchmarks:

  • Training Benchmark A: Recent (within the last 12 months at the time of lodgement of the sponsoring or nominating application) expenditure equal to at least 2% of the payroll of the business in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same industry as the business and a commitment to maintain that level of expenditure for the term of approval as a sponsor.
  • Training Benchmark B: Recent (within the last 12 months at the time of lodgement of the sponsoring or nominating application) expenditure equal to at least 1% cent of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to employees of the business. The expenditure must be expenditure that can count towards the benchmark.
  • If your business has been operating for less than 12 months, you must demonstrate that you have an auditable plan to meet this training benchmark.

14. Market Salary Rate. Another important requirement that must be met by an intending Australian employer is to provide terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that would apply to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident doing equivalent work in the same workplace.

Terms and conditions include the nominated position’s salary, hours of work and leave entitlements (among other things). The salary paid to an Australian worker under these terms and conditions of employment is known as the market salary rate.

15. The potential employer must prove to the Department of Immigration that the skilled worker will be paid the market salary rate. Depending on whether you have an Australian doing similar work, you can do this by:

  • Reporting the terms and conditions that apply to an Australian worker who is already employed in a similar job in a similar location in your workplace.
  • Referring to an industrial award or enterprise agreement that outlines terms and conditions for Australians performing similar work in similar locations.
  • Providing relevant data from reputable remuneration surveys.
  • Providing evidence of the salaries of employees performing equivalent work in similar locations.

16. Conclusion. If an applicant is able to meet all the requirements of any particular category of visa he/she intends to apply for, then he/she is invited to contact James Tan Immigration Consultants by completing the Assessment Form in this website for a proper assessment to determine whether an application should be lodged with the Department of Immigration & Border Protection. This assessment costs only $150.00 and is credited to the applicant’s fees payable if he/she proceeds to instruct us to proceed with an application. In all instances lodgement fees (which can be quite substantial) once paid to the Australian Department of Immigration is non-refundable. Therefore the $150.00 assessment fee paid is money well spent.

17. Please note that the immigration information provided in this website is a guide only. You are advised to contact James Tan Immigration Consultants or the Department of Immigration & Border Protection for specific answers to any question affecting your case. For a prompt reply to any query with regard to your case you are invited to submit your confidential completed Assessment Form to James Tan Consultants for an accurate and quick assessment of your specific case.

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