ECA recommends 457 visa amendments

04.07.2017 Heath Baker
ECA recommends 457 visa amendments

The ECA has highlighted to the government that changes to the temporary skilled work visas (457 visas) that adversely affect businesses, have the potential to disproportionately affect exporters.

Being internationally-focused, exporters need staff with international experience, and often an understanding of specific markets. They also compete internationally, so it is essential exporters can access world-class talent.

On 1 July, the government significantly increased the number of occupations eligible for 457 temporary skilled work visas. Initially, of the 651 occupations previously eligible for 457 visas, it planned to make 216 occupations ineligible. Now only 12 occupations are ineligible for 457 visas (and they would not, at face value, appear to affect exporters). See here for the final list of ineligible occupations.

However, workers in many occupations that are important to our members are now only eligible for short-term visas. This means they are only eligible for a two-year visa, with potential for one visa renewal and no pathway to permanent residency. By contrast, workers in occupations eligible for medium/long-term visas are eligible for four-year visas with multiple potential renewals and a pathway to permanent residency.

Members have highlighted the challenges that will arise from trying to attract high-quality staff on the two-year visa. Based on feedback from members, we have recommended the government move the following occupations from the short-term list to the medium/long-term list:
  • advertising manager
  • advertising specialist and marketing specialist
  • ICT: account manager, BDM, customer support, manager, sales rep, trainer, project manager, quality assurance engineer, support engineer, support and test engineer, system test engineer
  • production manager (manufacturing)
  • research and development manager
  • science technician
  • systems administrator
  • technical sales representatives (specifically industrial, medical or pharmaceutical)
  • web developer.
You can see here for the full list of occupations eligible for temporary worker visas, and whether they are eligible for short-term or medium/long-term visas.

Please also note that workers from some of Australia’s FTAs partners, in some occupations that are on the short-term list, are eligible to stay in Australia on four year visas for as long as 14 years.

ECA members are welcome to get in touch to find out more about these, and other FTA provisions, by contacting


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