When we started looking into moving to Australia on a 457 visa, we were puzzled by different subtleties of the system. There are different visas with advantages and disadvantages. We researched different blogs and ‘expat’ forums trying to find information about what we would be allowed to do or not on a 457 visa, but we did not find all the answers we needed. We also gain advice from an immigration lawyer who gave us some information. I just thought I would outline in this post some key important facts about this specific visa so that the information is easily accessible. These key facts are based on our experiences so far.
- A 457 is a sponsored visa from an employer. You must gain employment before entering Australia. You then become a ‘sponsored employee’. The employer has to go through an immigration process to show that the selected candidate is the best person for the job. There are specific regulations around this process. Not all employers will be allowed to sponsor an employee.
- A 457 visa is valid for 4 years. After entering the country, within a 2 year period, you will be able to apply for permanent residency or the employer can renew the 457 visa after 4 years.
- Children and spouse of the sponsored employee come under the same visa. Children can only be under the sponsored employee visa if under 18, or demonstrate dependency to the sponsored employee, up to 21.
- If the sponsored employee lose employment, the sponsored employee/family must either leave the country or find employment within a specific period of time.
- Children are not considered as ‘foreign students’ within the education system so NO additional educational fees will apply at primary and secondary schools.
- Whilst on the 457 visa, the family is allowed to travel unrestrictedly to and from the host country.
- You are NOT entitled to any family tax credits and childcare rebates. Childcare, without rebates, costs around $110/day.
- Spouse of the sponsored employee is entitled to work.
- You can purchase a house. You must apply to the government to purchase a house. This costs $5000 and is non-refundable. You must live in the property. If the house is no longer the principal residence, you must sell the property within a specific period of time.
- You must have private health insurance. Where health reciprocal arrangements exist between two countries, such as Australia-UK, you will be entitled to claim Medicare rebates (around half of the price of a health consultation).
Overall, a 457 visa is an interesting way to get to live in a new country with guaranteed employment before leaving your country of origin. It is important to really research the visa specifics to avoid surprises and costs. Well, we have had a few surprises along the way!!!