By now, you would probably have heard about the recent changes to the 457-visa program introduced by the Turnbull Government and its eventual abolition which will come in March next year. Some of these changes have already taken effect while others are being incrementally introduced. By March 2018 the 457-visa program will cease and will be replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
Below is a timeline of changes taking effect in the near future
From 19 April 2017:
- 216 occupations have been removed and are no longer eligible.
- The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) have been replaced with the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
- 59 occupations now have caveats protecting them
- Occupations NOT on the MTSSL will only be granted the 457 visa for a period of 2 years. Occupations on the MTSSL will be granted the 457 visa for a period of 4 years.
From 1 July 2017:
- The MTSSL and the STSOL will be reviewed based on advice from the Department of Employment and the Department of Education and Training
- Applicants above 17 years old (including dependent applicants) must provide penal clearance certificates
- The English Language exemption based on the salary exemption threshold of $96,400 will be removed.
From 1 December 2017:
- The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will commence collecting Tax File Numbers. This data will be matched with the Australian Taxation Office’s records to ensure that the visa holders are paid salaries that they are entitled to.
Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa: Replacement of 457 program
From 1 March 2018 the TSS visa will have 2 streams:
1. Short Term Stream will be meant for businesses to fill skill gaps with foreign workers on a temporary basis where an Australian worker cannot be sourced
- Visa Validity – 2 years + 1 opportunity for onshore renewal for another 2 years
- Pathway to Permanent Residence- NIL
- Occupations- STSOL will apply for non-regional Australia; STSOL + additional occupations will apply for regional Australia
- English- IELTS (or equivalent) of 5 with minimum of 4.5 in each band
- Applicants must meet Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirements
2. Medium Term Stream will be meant for businesses to fill skill gaps with foreign workers for a narrower range of high skilled and critical need occupations, where an Australian worker cannot be sourced
- Visa Validity- 4 years
- Pathway to Permanent Residence- After three years on the TSS visa
- Occupations- MTSSL will apply for non-regional Australia; MTSSLL + additional occupations will apply for regional Australia
- English- IELTS (or equivalent) of 5 in each band
Common Criteria for Both Streams
- At least 2 years work experience in the nominated occupation
- Labour Market Testing is Mandatory (unless international obligations apply)
- Minimum market salary rate + Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements must be met
- A non-discriminatory workforce test will be applied to ensure that employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
- Training Requirements where employers nominating a worker are required to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund:
a. If the business has an annual turnover of less than $10mil, $1200 per year
b. If the business has an annual turnover of more than $10mil, $1800 per year
You need to make sure your visa is appropriate for your plans in Australia. Book an appointment with one of our Immigration Lawyers to discuss your future.