As outlined in our previous alerts, the Australian Government introduced significant reforms to the 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) Program, effective 1 July 2013.

One of these reforms related to a change to primary visa applicants who were taken to be exempt from the requirement to complete English language testing. Since these reforms were applied as part of the relevant ‘time of decision’ criteria, persons whose visa application that had been lodged prior to 1 July 2013 and yet to have been decided would also be subject to the new reforms. Primary visa applicants needed to satisfy the new English language requirements if their applications had not been decided by 1 July 2013.

Effective 1 August 2013, a new legislative instrument will commence. It will provide transitional arrangements for primary visa applicants who:

  • lodged their visa application prior to 1 July 2013, and
  • at the time of their application, would have been exempt from the requirement to complete English language testing due to their nominated occupation.

The legislative instrument also includes a provision for primary subclass 457 visa applicants who must complete English language testing. These applicants may now complete an English language test after lodgement of their visa application to evidence their vocational English language ability.

BAL Comment: BAL welcomes these transitional arrangements and the ability for primary subclass 457 visa applicants to complete English language testing after lodgement of their visa application. BAL was vehemently opposed to the retrospective application for many of the reforms introduced on 1 July 2013. We actively voiced clients’ concerns with senior departmental staff members.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 0850984

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