Worried about your 457?
If you’re in Australia on a 457 visa and want to make it your home, and plan for your long-term future, the likelihood is you’ll want to gain permanent residency status.
Many people come to Visa Solutions Australia, especially when the economy slows down, to enquire about converting from a 457 to PR. As employers tighten their budgets and look to make savings there’s a greater risk to those on a 457 visa of losing their job and their right to stay in this country.
If your employer no longer wants to sponsor you on a 457 you only have a very limited time (its either 60 or 90 days, depending on your individual circumstances) to find another sponsored position. It can be a worrying time and there are undoubtedly risks associated with a 457 and these are greater during a downturn.
The 457 visa is under greater scrutiny than ever before, with ongoing discussions as to whether it should be changed. There are those who believe that jobs within Australia shouldn’t be offered to people from overseas especially when there are less jobs around. Others argue that skilled overseas workers make a great contribution to the economy.
Whatever your opinions and beliefs, it’s reassuring to know that there are several ways you can transfer from a 457 to PR. One substantial benefit of lodging a PR application is that you may become eligible for Medicare soon after submitting the application, which will cover you for health care costs in Australia.
Myths about transferring from a 457 to PR
There are some common misconceptions about a 457 visa. Many people automatically assume that it automatically converts to permanent residency after a two-year period, which is in fact incorrect. Likewise, people believe you must wait two years before you can apply for a permanent residency visa which is again not always the case.
It’s always best to talk to someone who has expert knowledge in this area on transitioning from a 457 to PR.
General Skilled Migration
One of the most popular ways to convert your 457 to PR is through the General Skilled Migration programme for visa classes 189 and 190. You don’t usually need an Australian employer to be granted this visa but your occupation needs to be on the Skilled Occupation List or the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List.
It is no longer possible to apply directly for the General Skilled Migration programme. Prospective applicants are asked to submit an Expression of Interest, detailing how they match the criteria if they can achieve sixty points or more.
These Expressions of Interest are placed in a pool for two years and individuals are then selected and encouraged to apply by the Department of Immigration.
Your profession must be in demand. You’ll receive points for your age, level of education, standard of English, qualifications and years worked. Your skills need to be assessed by a certified body. You’ll need to score 60 points to be successful and be aged under 50 and must meet specific health and character criteria. Your partner and family members can be included on this application.
An alternative way of securing 457 to PR through this scheme is to go through the State Sponsorship scheme where you will be committed to work in a specific state for two years. The processing time may be faster and you will gain 5 additional points if you have been nominated by the State.
Partner Migration (457 to 820)
It may be that while you’ve been working in Australia on your 457 visa, you’ve met someone and are in a committed relationship. If yours is a genuine relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you can convert your 457 visa to PR through a partner visa. If you are married, you must have been in that relationship for at least twelve months. A partner visa is usually granted as a temporary visa and then after two years the Department of Immigration will check to see if your relationship is still genuine. If this is the case, you should then be granted a permanent resident visa.
Employer Nomination Scheme (457 to 186)
Even in a tightening economy, your employer may be able to help you to transfer to permanent residency. The Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme is a permanent residency visa which requires the sponsorship of the nominating employer.
This is a common pathway. It’s a natural progression from sponsored 457 to PR and relies on your employer and is called the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).
Duty of employers for conversion from 457 to PR
For you to be able to progress from a 457 to PR, your employer should have met specific training requirements to nominate you as a candidate. This includes spending not less than 1% on training Australian employees or donating 2% of payroll to an Industry Training Fund. If they cannot satisfy this criterion, they won’t be able to help you but these conditions are usually met because of 457 employer responsibilities.
The two most common ways are Direct Entry and 457 Transition streams.
Direct Entry under Employer Nomination Scheme means the individual must obtain a skills assessment in their occupation and have a minimum of 3 years’ work experience in their occupation which has been carried out anywhere in the world. Applicants must satisfy English language requirements, medical checks and character checks. For RSMS applicants need to have a relevant qualification to their occupation.
Transition Stream under the Employer Nomination Scheme requires applicants to prove they’ve worked for the employer nominating them for permanent residence for 2 years on a subclass 457 visa in Australia. There is no formal skills assessment and lower English language requirements but medical and character check are still required. It does mean you must wait two years to go from 457 to PR.
How Visa Solutions Australia can help
We are the experts in migration. Our team here at Visa Solutions Australia can help you secure a 457 to PR. We look at your individual case and will give you a fair assessment of the best route to pursue. Come and talk to us to get some professional advice as each person’s situation is unique.