How 457 visa changes could affect your credit card application
If you’re a temporary resident in Australia, you need a valid visa to be eligible to apply for a credit card. Here’s how changes to the 457 visa could impact your application.
A valid 457 visa is listed as one of the key eligibility criteria for many credit cards available to temporary residents in Australia. But with the government announcing that the 457 visa is being phased out as of 19 April 2017, new temporary residents won’t be able to meet this requirement.
This guide explains the changes to the 457 visa, new temporary resident options and how it could impact on credit card applications to help you make an informed decision about how and when to apply for a credit card in Australia.
What is a 457 visa and how is it changing?
The 457 class of visa allowed skilled people to work for an approved employer in Australia for up to four years. It also provided people with the opportunity to transition to permanent residency.
What about the new visas?
The Australian government is replacing the 457 visa with the following Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa options:
- Short-term TSS. This visa allows you to work in Australia for up to two years, providing your occupation is on the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and you meet the other application requirements. A short-term TSS visa can only be renewed in Australia once and offers no pathway to permanent residency in Australia.
- Medium and long-term TSS. This visa allows you to work in Australia for up to four years if your area of work is included on the medium and long-term strategic skills list (MLTSSL). These visas can be renewed more than once, and include a pathway to permanent residency.
Other requirements for these visas include at least two years experience in a relevant field and score a minimum of 5 on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Employers must also pay temporary workers at least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold of $53,900 (set as of 12 April 2016).
Why would these visa changes affect credit card applications?
Banks and other lenders in Australia only offer credit cards to temporary residents that have stable income and ties to Australia. As the 457 visa offered up to four years residency for people with ongoing employment in Australia, credit card providers saw it as a strong indication of stability. Now that the short-term TSS visa only lasts for up to two years, some temporary residents may find it harder to get approved for a credit card.
Can I still apply for a credit card if I am on a TSS visa?
At this stage, most credit card providers have not changed the eligibility criteria to reflect the two different options replacing the 457 visa. In the meantime, it is possible that credit card providers will approve applications from temporary residents on a case-by-case basis.
If you have a medium or long-term TSS visa, you’ll have a better chance of being approved for a credit card with a medium or long-term TSS visa because it offers greater potential stability than the short-term TSS. But it’s possible you could be approved for a credit card even if you have a short-term TSS and can guarantee employment in Australia for two years.
What the banks say about changes to the 457 visa and credit card applications
To help you find out if you’re eligible for a credit card on one of the new TSS visas, we’ve contacted the banks to find out how changes to the 457 visa could impact on their approach to credit card applications from temporary residents.
Currently you can apply for any ANZ credit card as a temporary resident providing you have a valid visa that allows you to work on Australia. As an ANZ spokesperson told finder.com.au:
"Our current policy accepts all temporary visa subclasses that allow an individual to work in Australia - typically holders of skilled category visas. We will review our policy in light of the recent announcements. A review has not taken place yet as the new temporary visas will not replace the current 457 visa until March 2018."
St.George has said that credit cards are available for temporary residents based on their visa type and eligibility. But you must have at least two years remaining on your visa to be considered for a St.George credit card, which could make it difficult if you have a short-term TSS visa.
Previously you could apply for a Bankwest credit card when you had a valid 457 visa and provided a copy of the visa to the bank. With the changes to the 457 visa, Bankwest has said they are unable to provide further information on the new visas “until this process has happened”.
What other credit card eligibility criteria do I have to meet?
Some credit cards for temporary residents in Australia don’t list the 457 visa as an application requirement – and most include a variety of other criteria. This usually includes:
- A minimum of 12–24 months left on your visa (whether it’s a 457 or another option)
- A minimum income of at least $50,000
- An Australian residential address
- An Australian transaction account
Remember that credit card eligibility requirements vary between providers and cards in Australia. So it’s important to compare credit cards available to temporary residents and then check the relevant details before applying for the card you choose.