I am here in Australia on a temporary sponsored 457 work visa in a professional occupation. I have just been let go by my employer, the second time this has happened to me in the last two and a half years. There‘s plenty of work in my field so I think I can find a new job but I was banking on being nominated by my employer for permanent residence. I’ve been working here for over two years now, can I apply for permanent residence myself?
What are my options? I got my visa based on my work experience but don’t have a formal qualification.
One of the 457 visa conditions called 8107 means that ceasing work for more than 90 consecutive days is a breach of the visa, so best to find a new sponsor or lodge some other visa application quickly.
If you find a new employer who is already an approved sponsor, moving the 457 visa is a relatively fast process requiring only a new temporary nomination application by the employer. This can be processed by the department in two to three weeks. A new 457 visa application is not needed.
Moving from a temporary 457 to permanent residence visa requires a new application. Simply having worked in Australia for two or more years does not in itself give any right to permanent residence.
Those on 457 visas who have worked for two out of the last three years with their employers can be nominated by the employer for permanent residence under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS). This is the typical path for people without formal qualifications as usually no skills assessment is needed to apply for the permanent visa.
So what happens when you change employer?
Under the current rules, unless you are a general manager or medical professional, you need to complete another two years with the new employer to become eligible for the TRTS option.
The potentially faster alternatives to permanent residence, Employer Nomination Direct Entry (DE) or Independent 189 or State Nomination 190 visas all require a formal migration skills assessment.
Currently, Vetassess, the skills assessors for most professional occupations, insist on a formal qualification to meet eligibility.
For anyone looking at the Employer Nomination TRTS pathway, there may be changes coming to the two year work rule.
A recent independent review of the 457 visa scheme commissioned by the government has resulted in a number of recommendations including allowing people who have worked for two years on a 457 and at least one year with an employer to access the TRTS.
Other positive recommendations include allowing partners of primary 457 visa holder’s access to the Employer Nomination TRTS. These recommendations, if implemented, may take several months to come into law.
If you haven’t found a new sponsor within 90 days you are in breach of conditions and the visa may be cancelled, however this is not an automatic process. Immigration will write to you sometime after the 90 day period as elapsed to ask what is happening before they take any action.
It’s really important not to miss this so best to make sure the department and your employers have your current address and email details.
If you decide to leave Australia you can ask sponsoring employers to pay your airfare back home. Sponsors are obliged to pay this where the request is made in writing.
Consider asking a registered migration agent for assistance.
This Migration Column is intended to provide general information on migration issues and does not constitute legal or migration advice. While all care is taken, no responsibility is accepted by the Irish Echo or John McQuaid for the accuracy of material in the column.
People seeking advice on migration law should seek advice from a registered migration agent. Send your immigration questions to John at firstname.lastname@example.org.