457 have been chopped for now by swiping changes; it will be abolished overtime with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa system form March 2018. Some suggest the changes are not as significant as it has been reported at the media release. They might be right in suggesting it to be political hype. It was a political move attempted to show certain character of the government and is aimed at the constituencies disgruntled with the performance of the government or the visa program as such. These individuals believe that their work (or rights over work) and benefit therein has been taken over by the 457 visa holders or otherwise, by migrant, in general.
Despite these suggestions, there are a lot of people who has or will suffer significantly. Especially, of those greatly affected by the changes are individual in the process of making a 457 application or has worked hard over the period in doing so who might not have other immediate option available. Further, a lot of people are dependent upon such an employer sponsor visa as a mean to entry, stay and gain permanent residency in Australia. I have at least 80-100 people around me that will suffer the most.
457 has been one of most popular class of visa which has assisted wide range of people in coming to Australia for work and in obtaining permanent residency therein. These range from cook to IT specialist, from hairdresser to contract administrator. The visa subclass was specifically important for individuals who were skilled but didn’t have good English ability or student who has spent years trying their options without success to continue their stay in Australia or for one who has money with less or no ability whereby you can even self-sponsor oneself. All these categories of people will suffer seriously and would not have such an easy, peaceful and anytime available option.
Further to those businesses including agent assisting individuals, migration agent assisting in visa application and multiple of business that thrive with the assistance of the 457 needful will suffer. There were a lot of business that were or has been operating in the back of the 457 program. A lot of business has open, survived and grown with the 457 applicant’s assistance. These will suffer. 457 has equally been one of most money-making option for migration agent working in assisting the client in different aspect of the visa process. It was huge and that is one of the reason even Register Migration Agent felt the pain and hurt of the visa being abolished as there will not be such big money in near future from any other program. Fortunately, for me I was able to lodge 5 application on the day of the announcement (the fate of which we are yet to learn), while a further 3 pending should not have any issue even in the new system; but a few more applications dead and dusted for now. A costly lesson learned though, as always, never leave things till the last minute.
Particular of the furore, are the caveats in many occupation and the requirement as to the sponsoring business. Caveats in occupation like cook, restaurant manager and even chef in the hospitality industry will be a big blow to many employer who have just started a business and were keen to sponsor individual in the business on those occupation for some obvious advantages. Likewise, contract administrator, accountant and other IT professional will be a big blow to many in the pipe line which were the easy option for many recent graduates. This is particularly so especially as there are a lot of people that are stuck in the middle without any valid option of continuing their stay in Australia and who had an option to lodge a 457 therein.
However, there were a lot of changes that were obvious like experience requirement or the size of the business for many occupations. For example, just a day before the changes, I had a request for a 457 as an accountant by an Indian client. My simple explanation to them was how would one justify sponsoring an accountant on a 457 unless they have at least 5-10 employee or more and unless the turnover is at least 5-10 hundred thousand. They have been thinking otherwise that any company with any sales with an ability to pay 54k can sponsor a full-time accountant. Such a misconception that has prevailed and should not have been promoted by professionals. It has been all but clearer with the changes that was obvious to some of the occupation as it is understandable that you would not need a fulltime accountant unless you are of the size and scale as I have been explaining to my clients at least.
As it has been definite to be chopped and tightened even if it comes in different form or name; we can only be positive and hope the tide will change especially in days where migrating to the western world is getting difficult day by day. Yet, we have survived and will rise again.
Hem Raj Bhatta
Registered Migration Agent (MARN: 1466471)
This is a personal, opinion piece only and is not intended to be a professional advice to any individuals. Please consult your professional Registered Migration Agent for more details and actual migration service.