Abolition and replacement of the 457 visa – Australian Government reforms to employer sponsored skilled migration visas

 

The previous year on 18 April 2017 saw, Government of Australia announce that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

An account of new Temporary Skill Shortage visa is as follows:

There are two main streams available under this new TSS visa program:

 

  • Short-term stream– this is for employers to source genuine temporary overseas skilled workers in occupations included on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)1 for a maximum of two years (or up to four years if an international trade obligation applies)
  • Medium-term stream– this is for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills in occupations included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)1 for up to four years, with eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years

 

There is also a Labor Agreement stream for exceptional cases where standard visa programs are not available and there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labor market.

This new visa is part of the Government’s important reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. The implementation of these reforms began in April 2017 and will be completed in March 2018.

Key reforms include:

  • April 2017: made important changes in the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, including the subclass 457 visa.
  • January 2018: further improvement of the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, including the subclass 457 and 407 visas.
  • March 2018 – TSS: introducing the TSS visa, with new requirements, including but not limited to:
    • A rigid English language requirements
    • a need for visa applicants to have at least two years work experience in their skilled occupation
    • mandatory labour market testing, unless an international trade obligation applies
    • capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-term stream
    • capacity for visa renewal onshore and permanent residence eligibility after three years under the Medium-term stream
    • a non-discriminatory workforce test to make sure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
    • a need to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund (subject to legislation passing).
  • March 2018 – Permanent: a rigid eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas, including but not limited to:
    • a need for visa applicants to have at least three years work experience
    • applicants must be under the maximum age of 45 at the time of application (unless exemptions apply)
    • employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)2
    • a need to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund (subject to legislation passing).

Further information on reforms is available:

More detailed information is available on the TSS visa page.

1 Employers in regional Australia will have access to a broader range of occupations when the TSS visa is introduced. Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will also be retained

2 Set at AUD53, 900 at 12 January 2018.

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