Major changes to certain Australian Visas announced by the Australian Department of Immigration in April 2017
Author: Phillip Silver, Principal Lawyer
Benjamin Franklin apparently wrote in a 1789 letter that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.
If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would to his list of certainties “being ambushed by the Australian government with complex constant changes to Australian Immigration laws and its visa requirements”.
Foreign skilled workers in various fields including IT, marketing and medicine will be affected by the recent legislative changes.
Changes to Australian skilled migration visas
The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be renamed as the new Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be updated every six months.
The current Skilled Occupations List (SOL) is renamed the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). This list will contain occupations that have been assessed as being of high value to the Australian economy and aligning to the Australian Government’s longer term training and workforce strategies.
You must now nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) if you are applying for any of the below:
- Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
- Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)– Family nominated
- Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)– Graduate Work Stream.
You must now also nominate an occupation on the Combined list of STSOL and MLTSSL eligible skilled occupations if you are applying for any of the below:
- Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186)– Direct Entry Stream
- Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
- Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) – State or Territory nominated
- Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
- Training visa (subclass 407)
These drastic changes also include abolishing the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa and replacing it with the completely new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.
What is changing on the 457 visas?
457 visas: Changes from April 2017
The following changes to the existing 457 visa became effective on 19 April 2017:
- Occupation lists
The occupation lists that underpin the 457 visa will be significantly condensed from 651 to 435 occupations, with 216 occupations removed and access to 59 other occupations restricted. Of the 435 occupations, access to 24 occupations has been restricted to regional Australia (e.g. occupations relating to farming and agriculture).
- Validity period
The maximum duration of 457 visas issued from this date for occupations that are on the STSOL will be two years.
- English language requirements
English language salary exemption threshold, which exempts applicants whose salary is over $96,400 from the English language requirement, will be removed.
Provision of penal clearance certificates will become mandatory.
Occupations on the MLTSSL will continue to be issued for a maximum duration of four years.
457 visas: Changes from March 2018
From March 2018, the 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa (TSS visa).
The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years.
The Short-Term stream is designed for Australian businesses to fill skill gaps with foreign workers on a temporary basis, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.
The Medium-Term stream will allow employers to source foreign workers to address shortages in a narrower range of high skill and critical need occupations, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.
The regulations which govern Australian Visas are complex. As Australian Immigration Lawyers, Phillip Silver and Associates are steeped in dealing with complex visa applications daily. Our lawyers equally also able to assist clients with less complex applications as part of our broad range of visa services.
Contact us today to obtain advice from an Australian immigration lawyer.