The Government has made changes to the Temporary Skilled (Subclass 457) visas. These changes action the recommendations in the 457 Integrity Review. Assistant Minister Cash announced the Government Response to the 457 Integrity Review on 18 March 2015.
- has expanded the list of English language providers, to include test of English as a Foreign Language internet – based test (TOEFL IBT), Pearson Test of English (PTE); and Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) test (conducted on or after 1 January 2015);
- will accept an overall test score with minimum scores of each test component (reading, writing, speaking and listening); and
- will grant an exemption when an applicant can provide evidence of five cumulative years of study in English at the secondary or tertiary level, rather than proof of five years consecutive secondary or tertiary study in English.
- has extended the term of standard business sponsorship to 5 years commencing from the date of approval.
- has extended the sponsorship period for start-up businesses from twelve (12) months to eighteen (18) months.
- has reduced the market salary exemption threshold from $250,000 to $180,000, this is now in line with the marginal tax rate.
- has extended the notifiable period for sponsors from 10 working days to 28 calendar days.
These changes will increase flexibility and reduce restrictions on 457 programme users while maintaining integrity in the programme. In particular, amending the English language requirements to an average test score will benefit both applicants and sponsors, without diminishing the English language standards of 457 holders. This change will support 457 programme users by allowing applicants to score more highly on the test competencies that they will need in their jobs and daily lives in Australia.