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Changes to 457 visas on the cards

4 November 2011 - 5:27pm

Those looking to work in Australia under a temporary visa may have to consider additional private health insurance, under changes made by the federal government.

The minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen announced on Wednesday (November 2) that Australian businesses will able to seek accreditation qualifying them for sponsorship approval of six years rather than the current three.

The accreditation would also entitle the business to faster processing times for all future subclass 457 nominations.

Currently, 457 visa applicants must make arrangements for a minimum level of health insurance whilst in Australia, and must be maintained for the duration of the stay.

The new changes - set to commence November 7 - mean that visa holders will have the extra responsibility of increasing their private health cover for the addition 24 months.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, use of the subclass 457 visa program is growing - with an increase of almost 40 per cent recorded since 2009-10.

The UK is the most popular source country, with 11,820 primary applicants granted visas.

At present, a 457 visa takes an average of 22 days to process.