If your work involves managing a group of expatriates - either those coming from overseas offices of your company on assignment to Australia, involving the recruitment of people in Australia who hold temporary visas or simply the recruitment of non-Australians from overseas - you may have been asked whether your organisation sponsors people for permanent residency (PR). Developing HR policies around permanent residency can give you a set of useful levers in your attraction and retention tool kit.

Sponsoring 457 visa holders for permanent residency can have benefits for a sponsoring organisation:

  • it removes the company’s 457 sponsor obligations in respect of the employee;
  • it can act as a possible attraction for a job candidate from overseas;
  • it can help in the retention of 457 visa holders who might be offered permanent residency by one of your competitors;
  • it can allow the removal or phasing out of some assignment benefits the employee may have been accorded;
  • it may result in a change to the base salary (if this was linked to compensation in the home country);
    it may provide a buy-out payment if the retirement/pension is transferred from the home country.

There are various pathways to obtain Australian permanent residency, but key among them is the transition of a 457 visa holder into permanent residency after they have worked for you for two years. There are a number of restrictive rules around how this transition works, but it is a pathway used by numerous Australian companies for the reasons cited above.

There is considerable variation between companies when it comes to the question of costs - i.e. who pays for the costs associated with the permanent residency application. That said, if your organisation does not currently have clear policy in this area, it may be worth having a discussion with your immigration provider around the options.