【Immigration】The 457 Visa Program

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The Migration Program is a vital part of the Federal Government’s economic policy which is “committed to strong and sustainable economic growth to ensure that the opportunities afforded by the Twenty-First Century are fully realised and that Australia is enhanced as an attractive destination for productive, long term investment”.

One of the inducements to invest in Australia is a skilled and competitive workforce that is essential to industry, innovation, trade and development and Australia’s future.

With no overseas migration between 1945 and 2000, Australia would have had seven million people fewer in 2000. Without overseas migration, Australia’s population would begin to decline in about 2033.

Migration has been acknowledged to be vital in overcoming skill shortages, the ageing of Australia’s workforce, and the declining workforce participation as more workers leave the workforce over time.

With unemployment at a record low, attracting and retaining talent is the biggest human capital challenge for most organisations.

The 457 Visa Program seeks to alleviate the current shortages by bringing skilled personnel from overseas on a temporary basis.

In order to qualify for the program, companies must demonstrate that:
- they require skilled overseas workers with skills or experience not readily available within the Australian labour market
- they have a satisfactory record of, and commitment to, training their Australian staff 
- they adopt non-discriminatory employment practices
- they have a record of, and will comply with, commonwealth and state laws including workplace laws. 

Only skilled occupations which are on the 457 Occupations List are eligible to be sponsored under the 457 Visa Program. Further, the terms and conditions of employment that apply to the overseas workers cannot be less favourable than those provided to Australian staff in the same position and at the same workplace.

Visa applicants must demonstrate that they have the skills relevant to the nominated position and in some instances must provide evidence that they have vocational English and must undertake a skills assessment.

Companies that are approved as sponsors under the 457 Visa Program must meet sponsorship obligations which include obligations to:

- co-operate with inspectors
- ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment
- pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia
- pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove unlawful non-citizens
- keep records
- provide records and information to the Minister
- provide information to Immigration when certain events occur
- ensure primary sponsored person does not work in an occupation other than an approved occupation
- not recover certain costs from a primary sponsored person or a secondary sponsored person.

As part of giving effect to the sponsorship obligations, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has a broad range of powers to ensure that Australia’s laws are complied with. These include taking administrative action to bar or cancel the company’s sponsorship approval or to issue civil pecuniary penalties by way of infringement notices. It may also take other action as a result of any breach or if a company no longer satisfies the requirements for approval as a sponsor.

The 457 Visa Program enables skilled temporary workers to work in Australia. It recognises the importance of human capital to economic growth. 

Leaders in the field
Maria Jockel, Holding Redlich’s Specialist Immigration Law Group Leader, has been acknowledged as one of Australia’s most pre-eminent immigration lawyers, Maria is listed in “The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers” (2010-2016) and in the Peer Review (Best Lawyers) in 2008-2016. Her book “457 Visa Law: Addressing Australia’s Skilled Labour Shortage” is considered the definitive resource for immigration advisers, government, recruiters and HR managers alike. Maria is also the author of the Australian chapter of the international publication “Client Immigration Law Strategies in Asia Pacific”. Maria’s high standing is also reflected in her appointment by Federal and State Governments to advise on sensitive policy issues relating to immigration and related matters.

Our specialist immigration law services are complemented by Holding Redlich’s Workplace Relations, Workplace Health & Safety and Dispute Resolution & Litigation Groups. We are experienced in all aspects of immigration law and has acted for a number of clients in the resources sector.

As a group, we understand international recruitment, human resources and risk management strategies. We work closely with human resource managers and others, to facilitate your recruitment outcomes, achieve visa approvals and minimise your exposure to risk.

Part of a leading national commercial law firm
Holding Redlich is a leading national commercial law firm. Our specialist National Immigration Group is complemented by our significant and invaluable network within government and the energy and resources sectors. Our team is experienced in all legal aspects of the work and also understands the wider issues that underpin management decisions. They have advised parliament, government, statutory bodies and the community on complex and sensitive legal issues. 

Contacts
Maria Jockel

Partner | Melbourne
Leader of the National Immigration Law Group
Accredited Immigration Law Specialist
Australian Registered Migration Agent Number: 9802742
New Zealand Registered Migration Agent Number: 201100929
T +61 3 9321 9735 
E maria.jockel@holdingredlich.com
W www.whoswholegal.com
Disclaimer
The information in this Article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.
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Holding Redlich
Holding Redlich is a leading national Australian commercial law firm.  We are member of LawExchange International. We have strong links to a number of  businesses and law firms in China. We have lawyers that specialise in agribusiness, property, financial services, migration and M&A, being the areas of most interest to Chinese investors. We have also assisted many Chinese companies and nationals to find investment opportunities and to establish businesses in Australia.

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