457 Visa to Permanent Residency PR (457 to 186) – Pathways to Permanent Residency

Often people are motivated to achieve a 457 to Permanent Residency PR because of the benefits it provides to them and their family members. The main benefit of Permanent Residency PR is the security that it provides. For example, should you lose your job on a 457 visa you are required to find another sponsor/employer within 60 days.

Additional benefits of Permanent Residence include:

  • Those who have applied for permanent residence (i.e. before grant) usually have access to Australia’s health care system (Medicare)
  • Those with children attending school no longer have to pay the very high and compulsory costs associated with education for children on 457 visas
  • The ability to sponsor family members to come to Australia in certain circumstances
  • The reduction in deposit required and lower interest rates on mortgages for the purchase of a property to live in.

186 Transition Stream

One of the most common pathways for people to achieve permanent residence is through the 186 Transition Stream. This requires that you have worked for your sponsoring employer for 2 years on a 457 visa and then apply for the 186 visa under the ‘transition stream’. Additional requirements include:

  • Be under the age of 50 at time of application
  • Meet English Language requirements (IELTS 6). Accompanying family members aged over 18 must have English Language ability of at least IELTS 4.5 or pay a Secondary visa application charge
  • Hold registration, licencing or membership for the Nominated Occupation (if required)
  • Meet health and character requirements. Medical tests and Police Clearances are required

Some exceptions apply to the above requirements.

Important areas that may cause problems – 186 Transition Stream

Training Expenditure
Your employer must be able to demonstrate that it has met its training obligation for every year that it has been an approved sponsor. There is an averaging provision in the legislation that allows sponsors to make additional payments to meet this requirement.

Unpaid Leave
In calculating the 2 years required, any unpaid leave cannot be included. Your employer will be required to prove that you have worked for at least 2 years not including any period of unpaid leave.

Alternative Pathways to Permanent Residence

186 Visa – Direct Entry

You may apply directly for Permanent Residence through the 186 Direct Entry Scheme. You are not required to have worked for your employer for at least 2 years prior to application.
You are required to obtain a skills assessment in your nominated occupation and demonstrate that you have at least 3 years full time post qualification employment experience.

Skill Requirement – Exceptions

There are limited exceptions to the Skill Requirement for the 186 Visa. If you fall within one of the categories below you will not be required to demonstrate that you have three years relevant employment experience and a successful Skills Assessment.

  • Nominated in the occupation as a Senior Academic, Scientist, University lectures or Ministers of Religion
  • New Zealand citizens who have worked for their sponsoring employer for at least two years in the nominated occupation
  • The Salary on offer to the visa applicant is above a certain threshold
  • The Visa applicant is applying on the basis of holding a 457 visa for at least two years (Temporary Residence Transition Stream) and is being nominated in the same occupation

Age Requirement – Exceptions

You do not have to be less than 50 years of age at the time you apply for this visa if you fall within one of the following categories;

Persons who are employed in certain occupations and industries as follows:

  • Ministers of Religion (ANZSCO 272211) who have applied for a visa under the Regulations to occupy a position as nominated by a religious institution; or
  • Researchers, scientists and technical specialists at ANZSCO skill levels 1 or 2, who have applied for a visa under the Regulations to occupy a position as nominated by Australian scientific government agencies; or
  • Senior academics who have applied for a visa under the Regulations to occupy a position as nominated by a university in Australia. A senior academic is a person to be employed at an Academic Level of B, C, D or E as a University Lecturer (ANZSCO 242111) or Faculty head (ANZSCO 134411) who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying and whose annual earnings for each year in the four year period was at least equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold; or;
  • Medical practitioners (ANZSCO MINOR GROUP 253) who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying and whose nominated position is located in regional; or
    • those who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa before becoming a holder of a Subclass 457 visa for the prescribed period of two years in the four years immediately before applying and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia; or
    • those who hold Subclass 444 or 461 visas who have been working for their nominating employer in their nominated occupation for at least two years (excluding any periods of unpaid leave) in the last three years immediately before making their visa application.
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