4 Oct 2017

Subclass 400 visas under close scrutiny

While news about 457 visas continue to dominate media reports, lately the Subclass 400 temporary work visa category is also coming under close scrutiny.

Under the Subclass 400 visa, businesses are able to engage overseas skilled professionals with highly specialised skills knowledge or experience to fulfil their work requirements. Depending on the industry, this can include technical skills such as equipment installations, maintenance and relief work. Subclass 400 visa holders can be granted a 3 to 6 month stay in Australia without employer sponsorship. It is a valid option for businesses who are unable to locally source professionals with the skills and experience they require.

However, as 400 visas are intended for highly-specialised work, the visa program has come under scrutiny recently with Fairfax Media reporting that out of the 46,000 Subclass 400 visas granted in 2016-17 (and for each of the five years the visa category has existed), up to half were issued to workers in industries classified by the Immigration Department as “not specified” or “other services”.

Fairfax implied that the Subclass 400 visa category is being used by businesses for purposes other than highly-specialised work and that some visa holders are being paid below average wages. The Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers also accused multiple companies of abusing the visa program, saying that positions previously filled by 457 visa holders are now being filled by Subclass 400 visa holders.

While some companies may be high users of the visa category, the Subclass 400 Visa can be a legitimate visa option for businesses provided that the applicant and position requirements genuinely meet the eligibility criteria, including the need for highly specialised skills, knowledge and experience.

The Government is currently reviewing Australia’s work visa programs, including the role and requirements of Subclass 400 work visas. As there is currently greater Government scrutiny over the visa category, this can result in increased Government processing times and additional requests for further information. Immigracious’ migration agents will keep you updated on any developments as they arise.

If you’d like to understand more about subclass 400 visas or other work visa options, contact or 08 6263 4406 to speak to a migration agent.


Immigracious Migration Agents

Sydney Morning Herald

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Visas


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