What happens if you need to make a 457 visa holder redundant?

Employers often find themselves scratching their heads when it comes to making a 457 visa holder’s position redundant, or terminating their employment. Below is a quick refresher of the rights and obligations for employers (sponsors) when ending a 457 visa holder’s employment.

Firstly, if the position held by the 457 visa holder is required elsewhere in the sponsor’s business, the 457 visa holder can work in an associated entity of the sponsor - if the sponsoring business was a lawfully operating business in Australia at the time it was approved as a standard business sponsor. Under this arrangement, the sponsor retains ultimate responsibility for the 457 visa holder, including all sponsorship obligations, not the associated entity. Note that the 457 visa holder cannot be on-hired by the sponsor or associated entity to any other non-associated business.

If redeployment isn’t an option, and the 457 visa holder is either made redundant or has their employment terminated, the 457 visa holder should be treated in the same way that Australian citizens or permanent residents are treated under Australian workplace and industrial laws. Sponsors aren’t required by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) to help 457 visa holders find alternative employment, although they can if they want to.

Notifying the Department of a redundancy or termination

An employer is obligated to inform the Department within 10 days of ending a 457 visa holder’s employment that the 457 visa holder’s employment has ceased. 

The same notification requirements apply if the 457 visa holder decides to change his/her place of employment, and it would be the visa holder’s responsibility to arrange sponsorship with the new employer. 

Return travel costs

If a 457 visa holder can’t find a new employer willing to sponsor them in Australia, or wishes to return home following the end of their employment with their existing sponsor, the sponsor is obliged to pay the return travel costs for them and any sponsored family members to their country of intended travel. The 457 visa holder must ask the sponsor in writing to pay the costs, or the Department can make a written request on their behalf. Travel costs must be paid by the sponsor within 30 days of receiving a request, and the sponsor must notify the Department of any payment for travel being made within 10 working days.

Sponsors/employers must meet their sponsorship obligations to avoid exposing themselves to the risk of sanctions being applied by the Department. More information about these obligations can be found on the Department’s website.

What does all this mean for 457 visa holders?

If a 457 via holder stops working for their sponsor, he/she must do one of the following within 90 days of their resignation, redundancy or termination:

The 457 visa holder is responsible for looking after their own welfare arrangements during this time and for finding other employment.

For more information please read our Plain English Guide to Sponsoring Skilled Staff Overseas and our Plain English Guide to Sponsoring Family Members for Migration to Australia.

For any other visa-related enquiries or assistance, please contact our Employment Law team on 02 9895 9200.