457 Visa or 187 Visa

*UPDATE: The Government recently announced plans to abolish the 457 visa program as of March 2018. To discuss your options, contact us on (WA) 08 6189 5333 (VIC) 03 9038 9070.

If you’re trying to weigh up your Australian work visa options then you might be wondering whether to go for the 457 (Temporary Work) Visa or the 187 RSMS Visa.

In this blog, we’ll be looking at the key differences between these two visa subclasses.

If you are eligible for both types, most people find that the 187 visa has the most benefits.

There is also an option for people to move from a 457 visa to a 187 visa via the Temporary Residence Transition Stream once they’ve worked on their 457 visa for the same sponsor for over two years.

The RSMS visa has three different streams:

1. The Temporary Residence Transition Stream (as mentioned above)
2. The Direct Entry Stream, for people who haven’t previously held a 457 visa
3. The Agreement Stream, for employers that have a labour agreement in place


Both the 457 visa and 187 visa are employer sponsored visas. The 457 visa is a temporary option which lasts for up to four years, while the 187 RSMS entitles the applicant to Australian Permanent Residency.

A 457 visa holder must remain with their sponsoring employer for the duration of that visa. If you’re granted a 187 visa, you can switch employers after two years. Once the initial two-year period is over, RSMS visa holders are pretty much free to go and work wherever they want.
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Employers all over Australia can sponsor employees on the 457 visa; however, the 187 visa was designed to help employers in regional areas who often find it difficult to attract skilled workers.

The RSMS visa applies to all of Australia, apart from the Perth metro area, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.

For this reason, workers in these areas often have no alternative to the 457, unless they’re eligible for a 186 visa.
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Meeting the Requirements

Each visa subclass comes with its own requirements, although there is some overlap in the case of the RSMS and 457 visa. Generally, employers nominating workers for each of these visa types must run lawfully operating businesses and have a genuine requirement for someone to work in the nominated position.

One of the major differences between these visa types is that all employers sponsoring people on 457 visas must meet the ‘training benchmark requirement’. They must spend equivalent of 1% of payroll training Australian citizens and permanent residents. Alternatively, they can donate the equivalent of 2% to a designated training fund. With the 187 visa, only employers sponsoring through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream must meet the training benchmark.

It’s a requirement of the 457 visa that employees are paid at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) of $53,900.

There is no minimum salary requirement for the 187 visa; however employees must be paid at an acceptable market rate for the work they are undertaking.

You can read about the conditions of the RSMS visa here.

457 Visa

Skills / Qualifications

Whether you apply for the 187 or the 457, you’ll need to provide evidence that you have the required skills, experience and qualifications for the position you’re nominated in.

The skill requirement depends on the occupation. Licensing and registration may also be required in some cases, for example with health professionals and teachers.

Depending on your occupation, you may also need to take a formal skill assessment with a recognised provider. Your Migration Agent will let you know exactly what’s required.

IELTS requirements are also different, with a score of 6 (in all test parts) needed for RSMS direct entry, compared to an overall score of 5 (no part less than 4.5) for the 457 visa.
Partners looking at a computer


As the holder of a 187 permanent residency visa, you’ll be able to access Australia’s Medicare system and, after a waiting period, you may also be entitled to social welfare payments.


The 187 visa is considerably more expensive than the 457 visa and processing times are much slower. For this reason, applicants who don’t plan to stay in Australia long term find the 457 visa to be a more suitable option.
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In a Nutshell

If you’re living in an area that qualifies for the RSMS visa, you meet the requirements, and you want the added security of a PR visa, then we recommend the 187 visa.

However, if the 457 visa is the only option open to you then don’t worry, you may be able to transition to PR at a later stage.

For a free assessment and eligibility check, call (WA) 08 6189 5333 (VIC) 03 9038 9070 or email [email protected]

Get in touch now to find out how we can help you contact us