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457 Visa to Be Reformed; New Premium Investor Visa to Be Created in Australia



457 Visa reform - Australia's 457 visa programme for skilled migrants is to be reformed with strong safeguards against abuse, the government has announced.Immigration News

457 Visa reform - Australia's 457 visa programme for skilled migrants is to be reformed with strong safeguards against abuse, the government has announced.

Australia's 457 visa programme for skilled migrants is to be reformed with strong safeguards against abuse, the government has announced.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Minister for Industry Ian McFarlane and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison said that the 457 programme must be a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business.

The reform follows an independent review of the 457 programme and will include streamlining the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications to reward low-risk applicants and refocus compliance and monitoring activities on high risk applicants.

  • The sponsorship approval period will be increased from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses, to give start-ups more time to make their businesses sustainable.
  • There will be greater flexibility in relation to English language testing and skill requirements for 457 applicants, to ensure that the standards required are appropriate for the industries and occupations being sought.
  • The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold will be retained at $53,900, but this figure will be reviewed within the next two years.

Safeguards will remain in place to ensure that the 457 visa programme is not rorted. It will continue to be a requirement that a foreign worker receives at least the same market rates and conditions that are paid to an Australian doing the same job in the same workplace.

Alongside, the Significant Investor Visa programme is to be expanded and improved.

  • At present, SIVs are available for applicants having an eligible investment in Australia of A$5 million, for a minimum of four years.
  • There will be a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV), offering a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those with a minimum of $15 million to invest.
  • The changes to the SIV will take effect during the 2014/2015 financial year, with the Premium Investor Visa to be introduced from 01 July 2015.

The Government said it will soon make further announcements on the recommendations of reviews into both the 457 and SIV programmes.

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