Following the election of the Coalition Government in 2013, we witnessed a relaxation by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in the processing of Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) sponsorship, nomination and visa applications. In Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s, election speech he mentioned the emphasis of the new Government on allowing Australian businesses to develop through the ability of sponsoring skilled overseas workers on subclass 457 visas.
However, we have now witnessed a complete turnaround on the processing efficiency and relative leniency within the DIBP in regards to subclass 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa applications which was present following the Coalition Government’s election.
Increased processing times
The lack of efficiency and greater level of scrutiny of subclass 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa applications has resulted from:
- The DIBP has changed the processing mechanism so that rather than once case officer assessing each application, it is allocated to a “team” which assesses the file, and therefore it is no longer possible to deal directly with one assessor personally when contacting the DIBP about specific applications;
- The DIBP has increased the amount of Request for Information (RFI’s) sent out on each application; and
- The DIBP is utilising the “genuineness criteria” to add additional scrutiny to positions nominated within a business.
The increase in processing times has led to some frustration for businesses requiring staff to commence their role and for subclass 457 visa applicants wishing to gain certainty of the Australian visa status.
In addition to greater processing times, it has been reported that there has been a greater number of subclass 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa applications refused by the DIBP. Figures released by the DIBP show that the number of subclass 457 applicant grants declined by over 4.1% since March 2015.
The 457 visa program is essential for businesses to be able to fill positions where there are local labour shortages or where an overseas employee has crucial skills to assist the business. The DIBP seems to seesaw from efficiency and leniency to inefficiency and harshness in assessment. We seem to have now reached the latter period again.
It has therefore become important that in order to maximise the chance of success of a subclass 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa application being approved that it is lodged by a person/organisation with an in depth knowledge of the Migration Regulations 1994, Migration Act 1958 and informing policy and case law.
Should your organisation, or you as an individual, require advice regarding subclass 457 eligibility criteria, we are certainly able to assist. Please feel free to contact the author by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on +61 3 9021 0986 or +61 (0)423 701 747 for instruction.
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