Since our last post, on 18 March 2015 the Australian Government announced its response to the Independent Review, ‘Robust New Foundations: A Streamlined, Transparent and Responsive System for the 457 Programme’.
You can read the Government Response to the recommendations and how it will be strengthening the programme’s integrity, giving consideration to greater flexibility for certain visa requirements and protecting Australian workers in the 457 visa programme.
Some of the measures to strengthen integrity in the 457 programme include:
- the introduction of a new penalty making it unlawful for sponsors to be paid for a migration outcome
- more information for 457 holders and sponsors about their rights and obligations
- greater transparency around the Department’s sanction actions
- increased information sharing among key government agencies.
For visa applicants, one of the recommendations was to add flexibility around English language requirements while ensuring integrity is maintained in the 457 visa programme. Although the Government did not support expanding the list of nationalities that are exempt from the English language requirement (sub-recommendation 7.4), applicants will be able to provide an overall score with minimum scores for each test components and access alternative English language test providers.
Australian workers and businesses will also benefit through other recommendations including improved training opportunities for Australians, streamlining and simplifying the sponsorship process and increasing sponsorship approval periods.
A number of these recommendations will be implemented in the coming months while complex recommendations will be progressed before the end of 2015-16. You may have also noticed Recommendation 2 about abolishing the labour market testing requirement was noted by the Government. This recommendation will not be implemented at this time. More information on the recommendations is available here.
If you are a current 457 visa holder or sponsor, there are no changes to your existing visa grant arrangements and conditions, sponsorship conditions and/or obligations. If there are any changes to current processing arrangements, updates will be made available on our website.
Find out more about the 457 visa programme on our website and from the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa (649KB PDF) booklet.