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457 visa to pr: a pathway to permanent residency?

 

It can be. The requirements and steps.

30 August 2015. Dessie Hristova, immigration lawyer

A 457 visa is a temporary employer-sponsored visa (as discussed here). Once the visa’s term expires, the sponsored visa holder invariably has to resign their position and, in due course, leave the country.  However, there often comes a point before this happens where some holders of the 457 visa decide that they would like to become a permanent resident  (PR) of Australia and/or the sponsoring company recognises they have an excellent employee that they wish to keep indefinitely.

The good news is that there are pathways to permanent residency for the subclass 457 visa holder. They are the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme subclass 187 visa.

Permanent residency is available to individuals who have worked full time for their sponsoring employer in the nominated position on a subclass 457 visa for a period of at least two years in the three years before the lodgement of the permanent residency application.

Both the employer and the overseas employee applying for permanent residency visa must satisfy a number of requirements. For the employers these include: financial viability of the business, compliance with all sponsorship obligations, including the provision of training as a participant in the 457 visa program, plus a broader test that the employer has a track record of compliance with Australian laws (immigration-related and others). The overseas employee will have to establish that they have worked full time in Australia for the sponsoring employer in the nominated occupation for a period of at least 104 weeks, plus meet a character and health test. They also must be under the age of 50 and meet an English language skills benchmark, although exemptions may apply in the following limited circumstances.

One of the exemptions that allow visa applicants over the age of 50 to apply via this route is for overseas national to have held a 457 visa for four years while being remunerated in each year at least at the level equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold.

Another exemption is related to specific occupations such as medical practitioners (ANZSCO minor group 253), senior academics nominated by Australian universities, as well as certain researchers, scientist and technical specialists nominated by Australian scientific government agencies.

What happens after the 457 visa holder applies for permanent residency?

The process may take up to six months from the date of lodgement of the application for permanent residency.  If during the processing the visa applicant decides to change occupation or employer or if the employer no longer has the nominated position available then the application will be refused. The application will only be successful if both the Australian employer and the overseas employee have the commitment to an employment relationship for a period of two years upon approval of the visa.

How does someone get this process started?

Ideally, the preparation for lodgement under the Temporary Residence Transition of the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme subclass 187 visa should commence at about 90 weeks of full time work on a sponsored subclass 457 visa working for the nominating employer. Both the employer and the overseas employee must state their intention to commit to the permanent employment relationship for a period of at least two years upon approval of the visa with no exclusion of further renewal thereafter.

Generally, it is up to the overseas national who wishes to remain in Australia permanently to commence the process and seek professional assistance with it. As oppose to the subclass 457 visa program where employers are required to carry the responsibility and the costs of the sponsorship and nomination process, the permanent residency is often left up to the overseas employee.

Organise a 15 minutes conversation with abode migration lawyers when both the 457 visa holder and their employer are available and we will be able to identify if the requirements are met for a successful application under this stream.

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Abode Migration Lawyers Pty Ltd

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