Connecticut, US
Up-skilling graduate employees has become a key focus for many global businesses.
If your business has a graduate trainee program which sees graduate employees having to complete a rotation in Australia for workplace-based training, the Subclass 402 Training and Research (Occupational Trainee) visa will likely be the visa of choice.
Businesses wishing to tap into the 402 visa program must firstly apply for sponsorship and then put forward a structured training program for each employee that:
  • is a workplace-based training program, specifically tailored and timed to the training needs of the employee under a structured framework with clear outcomes that will add to or enhance their skill level;
  • is in relation to an eligible occupation; and 
  • involves a trainee that has recent and suitable prior experience to undertake the training; and has the appropriate English language skills to complete the training and ensure that occupational health and safety standards are met.
From a processing perspective, forward planning by businesses intending to use this program has become crucial.
For most of 2015 to date, the Department of Immigration has been unable to meet its quoted processing standard of 2-3 months. With the exception of applications lodged by organisations within the health care and education sectors, processing timeframes have now increased to about 5-6 months.
The slow down in processing timeframes has been due to:
  • a substantial increase in 402 visa lodgements since 2015; and
  • closer scrutiny of 402 applications to ensure that sponsoring businesses are not using the visa program for commercial benefit or to circumvent the stricter requirements that come with the 457 work visa, specifically relating to salary levels and English language requirements.
Where you are mapping out your graduate rotational programs for the year, I strongly recommend that you get in touch with us to discuss the 402 visa requirements and timings as early as possible.
There may also be some alternative options that you can consider where shorter-term training will be incidental to highly specialised work or holiday purposes.   
For further information on 402 visas, please contact us.