Restrictions on a 457 visa vs permanent residence
1. You can only work for your sponsoring employer. You are forbidden to have any secondary employment. If you are laid off, you have 28 days to find a new employer (plus sponsor) or leave Australia.
2. School fees in NSW (and possibly some other states - you need to check) - AUD4.5k per child per year. QLD does not have these fees.
3. With the new citizenship rules, the first three years counts towards citizenship (the requirement is four years, three as a permanent or temporary resident, then one as permanent).
4. Children born to you in Australia will not be Australian citizens by birth.
5. Your spouse will have unrestricted work rights but will find it hard to get career-orientated jobs as employers usually prefer citizens/PRs
6. Your children will be treated as "overseas students" if they go to university in Australia. If you are from the UK they may be treated as 'overseas students' back in the UK too unless they meet a 3 year residence requirement, even if British citizens. You need to check this in detail.
7. As your children get older (especially once they turn 18), it may be harder to include them in a permanent visa application. They could end up having to go home once deemed "independent" even if the rest of the family gets permanent residence
8. You will face FIRB restrictions on buying property. To buy an established property, FIRB will ausually grant approval as long as you more than 12 months remaining on the visa.
9. No eligibility for Medicare, other than limited reciprocal healthcare schemes for some nationalities. Health insurance will be more expensive.
Once you apply for a PR visa you are normally eligible for Medicare.
10. No entitlement to social security or welfare benefits. This includes benefits paid to mothers of new babies, and things like the first home buyers grant.
11. No automatic entitlement to permanent residence (PR). Bear in mind the usual problem is that the employer won't sponsor for PR. Not can't - won't.
You must also bear in mind that a death, illness or divorce/separation before PR is granted could leave some or all family members in a very difficult visa situation.
12. Some professions and occupations (eg migration agent) are closed to those without permanent residence.
13. You cannot sponsor relatives for permanent residence or sign an Assurance of Support for migration purposes.
14. There is no legal bar on obtaining credit (eg loans, credit cards) but you will likely find it harder to get one without permanent status.
15. In some states, such as New South Wales, you will have to wait a period of time to get a driving licence and its validity will be restricted.
Benefits of the 457:
15. Although in general 457 holders pay the same taxes as Australians (for little or no benefit) there are a few tax breaks available to temporary residents. The most notable one is Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA). However this must be negotiated as part of your salary package and is under threat as soon as you apply for a permanent visa. The same goes for the other temporary resident tax exemptions. Most 457 holders (other than those who are expatriates employed by multinationals, who are in a different situation to most) believe that the tax concessions do not compensate for the limited rights they have compared to permanent residents.
Note: Under Government proposals from 1 July 2006, most 457 visa holders will not be assessed for tax on non-Australian source income. However this will only benefit those with significant investments overseas.
16. 457 visa holders are eligible to recover their superannuation (less tax) when they leave Australia
Information originally posted in this thread.