Changes to the Temporary Skilled; Subclass 457

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.

The Government:

·   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.

Minimum English language test scores for subclass 476 & 485

Minimum English language test scores for the Skilled – Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) and Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visas have changed. 

From 18 April 2015, new applicants for these visas must provide evidence that they have achieved an overall score of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6, or the equivalent, and nothing below IELTS 5, or the equivalent, for each of the test components of speaking, reading, listening and writing, from one of the following tests:
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson test of English Academic  (PTE Academic)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (must have been taken on or after 1 January 2015)

Prior to the changes which commenced on 18 April 2015, these applicants could not provide an overall test score and had to provide evidence that they had achieved a minimum test score of IELTS 6, or equivalent, in each of the test components.