Changing sponsors on a 457 visa is possible, but it must be done the right way.
If you’ve been sponsored on a 457 visa, you may reach a point when you no longer want to work for your sponsoring employer. Perhaps you’ve been offered better pay for the same type of work or maybe you’re just unhappy with your employer. Whatever the reason, you must ensure that the transition between sponsors is smooth or you could risk breaching your visa conditions.
Switching sponsors is not as easy as quitting your job on a Friday and starting a new job on a Monday. If you don’t plan ahead, you risk jeopardising future Australian visa applications and possible becoming unlawful.
According to an article in the Irish Echo last year, an increasing number of workers are opting to switch employers while on a 457 visa. UK, Indian and Irish workers are the most likely to change sponsors, the publication revealed. Over 7,600 457 visa holders switched employers during the last financial year, with 2,228 of these hailing from the UK, 1,317 from India and 965 from Ireland.
If you’re changing sponsors on a 457 visa, your new employer must be an approved sponsor and they must nominate your occupation. This is likely to be the same as you were sponsored in by your previous employer.
Until this nomination is approved, you must not commence work with your new sponsor. If you do begin your new job prior to the paperwork being finalised, your visa could be cancelled and this is a breach of your 457 visa conditions. The new sponsor may need to prove that the position is a genuine requirement for their business and that they are offering a ‘market rate’ salary. They may also need to show labour market testing and, depending on your passport, you may need to sit the IELTS English test.
A Registered Migration Agent can make transferring 457 sponsorship as smooth as possible for you by handling your new employer’s nomination and linking it to your visa application. True Blue Migration have successfully assisted many people in changing sponsors and know exactly what is required for a quick transition.
Becoming an approved sponsor can be a complex and time-consuming process for a business that has not gone through the process before. Using a professional to handle the lodgement for both you and your employer can be a wise move, reducing stress all round. In fact, knowing that a Registered Migration Agent is dealing directly with Immigration can be the tipping point for a small employer who may otherwise be reluctant to take on your sponsorship.
It’s important to remember that if you changing sponsors on a 457 visa, you are not granted a new 457 visa. If your visa was issued for four years initially and you change sponsors after two years, you will still have only two years remaining before your visa expires. The four years does not re-set after you get a new sponsor.
Finding a new sponsor after cessation of employment
If you’re sponsored on a 457 visa and you are made redundant or leave your job before finding a new sponsor, there are three options available to you. You can leave Australia, apply for a different type of visa (if eligible) or find another approved sponsor.
If you cease employment, once the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is notified, they will mail you a letter. You have a period of 60 days from the date on this letter to find a new sponsor or depart the country. Prior to 1 July 2013, 457 visa holders had just 28 consecutive days to make alternative arrangement, so the new time limit is relatively generous. If you act quickly and speak to a Registered Migration Agent regarding your visa options, you will hopefully have adequate time to plan.
If you’re currently on a 457 visa and plan to leave your job and change sponsors then get in touch with the experts at True Blue Migration. Our Registered Migration Agents can advise you on how best to proceed.