For anyone wanting to set up a business in Australia, the Temporary Business Work Visa (457), is one route that can definitely be used. The 457 Visa is one of the most popular visas for entry to Australia.

In general, Australia offers a number of possibilities of setting up and running a business. There is a very diverse economy. Agriculture and mining are very strong, but there is also a very developed service industry. Tourism is also very important, as is manufacturing and Information Technology.

Temporary Business Work Visa (457)

There are two ways to look at this visa. You can either work for an existing Australian business, or set up your own enterprise using self sponsorship. The assumption here, is that you are primarily interested in setting up your own business.

However, you will still have to be accepted under the general criteria and requirements of the (457) Visa.

Temporary (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457)

The following general conditions apply to the Temporary (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457):

  • Health Checks: There will probably be the need for a health check in your home country. This needs to be undertaken by a “panel” doctor. Details of the accepted clinics in your country, can be found by contacting your Australian consulate, or embassy. An X-Ray may also be required. This is especially the case is you come from a country that has Tuberculosis TB.

  • English Test: You have to pass an English Test, from a recognized educational body associated with teaching English as a foreign language. This will show your proficiency in writing, reading, listening and speaking. Again, contact the Australian embassy or Consulate in your home country, to find the official testing centres. It would also be wise to get some prior tuition from recognized teachers. You may consider your English to be fine. However, styles of English vary around the world.

  • Character Checks: This effectively means police checks. For every country you have lived in, you will need to supply a certified police check. Any serious crime may debar you from entry to Australia. This can extend to any links with know criminal gangs and offenses with children, as just two examples.

Application Process and Self-Sponsorship

Under the 457 Visa system, an employee can find a business to sponsor them in their move to Australia. This can also apply to states and territories looking for people with specific skills. Again there are certain conditions regarding the type of employment. labour agreements and possible final location. Given the size of Australia, there is a need to send people to where they are needed and not necessarily in established urban centres.

Basically under the 457 Visa (and under the 186 and 187 Permanent Visas) you can sponsor your self. The following conditions apply:

  • You must show that you are committed in setting up a business in Australia.

  • You are not to operate as a “sole trader”. The business should be run as an “entity”, with the view of provide goods or services and employing people.

  • There must be a detailed business plan.

  • The proposed business must fit in with over all Australian policies for supplying key skilled labour, possibly in certain states and territories in Australia. Therefore, it must fit in with the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOI)

  • The role and financing of the business should not be undertaken by an Australian Citizen or a Permanent Resident.

  • You must demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to set up a new business in Australia using the Temporary Business Work Visa (457).

  • Your business must actually be trading. It should be advertising, hopefully employing people, selling goods and services. It should not be set up as a “shell company”. The Australian authorities will check closely to see if your business is functioning properly.

  • You need to show you have the finances to set up a business.

  • Finally, if you are sponsoring yourself, you have to be set up as a business.

Application Process

The application process can be broken down into three distinct stages. In the first two stages, you will be acting as the employer. In the last stage you will be the “employee”

Stage 1

An Australian business (you), applies to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection,(DIBP) for approval to be a standard business sponsor. You must show that you are a lawful business operating in Australia. Since operating (or applying to operate), there have been no complaints or negative comments about your business. That you intend to employ skilled labour in Australia. There is a need for your business.

Stage 2

In this stage the business sponsor nominates a possible occupation for an existing or potential Temporary (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457) candidate. This sounds strange, but that basically means you will be employing yourself, hence self-sponsorship.

Stage 3

If all of this is successful then you can apply for the Temporary Business Work Visa (457).

Final Application Stage

Transaction Reference Number (TRN) NUMBER or Application ID]

You will now need to set up an Immiaccount This allows you online access to the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection. (DIBP) web site. It is a way of speeding up the application process.

Alternatively, you can always post your application. However, it would still be a better idea to send the application online. You can scan in all the supporting documentation to a PDF file, using an official secured link.

You will have an Immiaccount and you will be allocated a Case Officer. Payments can be made for the whole application process by using any of the following: : Visa, Master Card, American Express, JCB and Diners Card International.

Bringing in your Spouse, Partner or any Dependent Children.

As you are applying through the Temporary Business Work Visa (457), the same regulations apply to family members as they do under the general Temporary (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457).

There is a provision within the visa, to bring in your partner or spouse as well as any children or step children. This also includes your partner’s children or step children . You can also be in a same sex relationship.

Each family member will be subjected to the same medical and character checks. They will also all have to pass all of these. You will also have to show that they can be supported financially and that there will be medical cover for everybody.


It is clear that there could be a “chicken and egg’ issue here (which came first?).with self-sponsorship It might be a good idea to come over to Australia first, on say as tourist visa, and carefully assess the possibilities and potential of setting up a business there, prior to embarking on the application process.

It would also be very helpful if you considered using the services of a well established and reputable Visa Agency, to guide you through the complex process of both getting your Temporary Business Work Visa (457), as well as setting up a business in Australia, in general.

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