One of the most significant changes to Australia’s immigration flows over the last two decades has been the growth of long-term (12 months or more) temporary migration. While some of this growth can be attributed to increases in arrivals of overseas students and working holiday makers, a large proportion of it is also due to increases in the number of temporary skilled migrants. The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa is the most common pathway that employers use to sponsor skilled workers on a temporary basis. Migrants who have entered under this category visa are increasingly transitioning to permanent residency (commonly referred to as two-step migration).
The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa, introduced by the Howard Government in 1996, is an uncapped, demand-driven program designed to enable approved employers to address short-term skill shortages. As a result, applications and grants often fluctuate according to the state of the economy and the labour market.
This guide updates an earlier Parliamentary Library publication—The subclass 457 visa: a quick guide, published in 2013. It includes a brief overview of the 457 visa program and provides the statistics on visa grants.