What is a “457 visa” and what is the process for obtaining one?

Lisa Qiu

The terms “working visa” and “457 visas” are well known but unsurprisingly, unless you have undergone the process yourself as an employer or migrant employee, very few understand the processes required to obtain such visas. You may be surprised at just how complex the process can be!

A working visa is the general umbrella term used to describe the two most common visas which allow people the right to work in Australia – the working holiday visa (subclass 417) and the temporary work (skilled) visa (subclass 457). 

Getting a working holiday visa is a relatively straightforward process that generally doesn’t involve the employer having to provide documentation in support of the application for the working holiday visa. The application is completed by the visa applicant and if obtained, allows the visa applicant to remain in Australia for up to 12 months, generally working up to six months with each employer. 

The 457 visa on the other hand, from the employer’s point of view, is a more involved process. The 457 visa is suitable for skilled workers who can perform certain roles which the company has difficult recruiting for domestically. 

To be able to employ overseas workers to work for an Australian company on a 457 visa, there are three stages, each one requiring an application to be lodged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). 

First stage: sponsorship application

Once lodged and approved, the sponsorship application will provide the company the status of a “standard business sponsor” which is a status the company needs to have if it is to sponsor and employ any overseas workers on a 457 visa. Once obtained, the sponsorship is generally valid for three years.

Second stage: nomination application 

The nomination application requires the company to lodge an application to nominate a particular position to be filled by an overseas worker. For a nomination application to be approved, the DIBP needs to be satisfied, amongst other things, that: 

Visa application

Once the nomination is granted it is valid for 12 months. During those 12 months, the nominated employee (visa applicant) must apply for the 457 visa. For a visa application to be approved, the DIBP, needs to be satisfied, amongst other things, that: 

Once the visa is granted, it is valid for up to four years.

If the DIBP isn’t satisfied that the above requirements are met, the visa will likely be refused. It is therefore important that your applications be “decision ready”, that is, that they are supported with the correct information and evidence that the DIBP requires when making its decision to either grant or refuse a visa. 

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