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You can apply for a 457 visa at any point before or after you have applied for a 176 visa. You do need to however get your timing right as the last visa granted will automatically cancel out any previous ones, hence if your 457 visa is granted after your 176 visa, it will effectively cancel your PR.

Once your PR is ready to be granted, immigration will issue you with a pre-grant letter, which is a notification for you to make arrangements to leave Australia. The 176 visa is an offshore visa and you must therefore be outside Australia at the time of visa grant. Once you have departed Australia, then you will be issued with your 176 visa, which you can re-enter the country on.

It's up to you whether you choose to disclose to your company that you are applying for a 176 visa. There is no legal requirement for you to do this but if you were planning to claim LAFHA, then you need to be aware that you will lose your eligibility to claim for the same as soon as you lodge a PR visa application. In the event that the company sends you the form to complete for LAFHA, then you will obviously need to disclose the reason why you are not eligible for it.

Once you switch to a 176 visa, you will ultimately have to tell your company though and provide them with a copy of your new visa to show your entitlement to work legally in Australia.
 

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No, I mean exactly what I wrote - your eligibility to claim LAFHA ends when you APPLY for PR. Beyond July this year, most 457 visa holders will not be eligible for LAFHA in any case.

If you are intending to apply for PR in the next week or so, would it not be better for you speak to your employer and let them know? They may be willing to extend your start date, which will enable you to move to Australia on your PR.
 
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