Further to the Prime Minister’s announcement in April 2017 the abolition of the 457 visa has come into effect and now been replaced by the TSS Visa also known as the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (Subclass 482) visa.
The Department of Home Affairs (formally The Department of Immigration & Border Protection) has provided clarification on many of the finer details surrounding the 457 visas replacement.
The changes have had a significant impact to the options available for visa holders in Australia seeking to gain permanent residency.
This article will go over the main aspects of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa and what is important to note.
English requirements, Skill Requirements and Police Clearances
English Language Requirements
- For visa applicants nominated for occupations on the STSOL, an IELTS examination (or equivalent test) with results averaging at least 5.0 with no band less than 4.5 must be achieved
- For visa applicants nominated for occupations on the MLTSSL, an IELTS examination (or equivalent test) with results of at least 5.0 in each band
Skill Level Requirements
Applicants for a TSS visa will need to have at least two years relevant and full time work experience or equivalent part time work experience. The Department has advised that casual work will not be accepted as meeting the work experience requirement.
In addition to the work experience requirement, applicants will need to hold a relevant qualification or have either 3 years or 5 years experience in the occupation (depending on the occupation being nominated).
Every applicant for a TSS Visa aged 17 years or older is required to provide a national police clearance from each country they have resided in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years since turning 16 years of age.
In the case that the sponsor is an Accredited Sponsor the applicant can provide a signed letter of ‘Good Character’ by their employer that attests that the visa applicant has not been convicted of any criminal offences.
An Australian Federal Police clearance must still be provided for all applicants.
Labour Market Testing
Evidence that the sponsoring employer has attempted to recruit local residents prior to sponsoring international skilled workers is now a compulsory requirement unless international trade obligations (ITO’s) apply.
The Labour Market Testing requirements are as follows:
- At least two advertisements must be published in Australia, in English via any of the following mediums;
– In national print media such as national newspapers or magazines that are published on a monthly basis and are marketed across Australia
– On national radio
– On the website of the sponsoring business, if the business is an Accredited Sponsor.
The advertisements must include the following information:
- The title, and description of the position
- The name of the sponsor or the recruitment agency being used by the sponsoring employer
- Annual earnings for the position unless the annual earnings will be greater that the Fair Work High Income Threshold
The advertisements must be ‘live’ on websites for at least 21 consecutive calendar days, and advertisements in print media or on national radio must have accepted job applications or expressions of interest for at least 21 consecutive calendar days.
If the TSS Visa nomination has or will be lodged before 18 June 2018 the advertisement must have taken place at least 12 months prior to lodging a nomination application.
If the TSS Visa nomination was lodged on or after 18 June 2018 the advertisement must have taken place within the previous 6 months prior to lodging a nomination application.
Occupations that are listed on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) are eligible for a two year TSS Visa Subclass 482 visa, with the option of renewing for a further two years in Australia.
Occupations that are listed on the Medium to Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) are eligible for a four year TSS Visa Subclass 482 visa with the ability to transition to Permanent Residency after being sponsored by their sponsoring employer for a minimum period of three years.
Skilling Australians Fund/Levy (SAF)
The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) has yet to be implemented due to the proposed Bill not being passed by the Senate. The Senate is currently in recess and will not be sitting again until 21 May 2018, meaning the Bill will not be given further consideration until that date.
When the SAF Levy is introduced, it is anticipated the following will apply:
- For sponsoring companies with a turnover of more than $10M per year they will be required to pay a fee of $1,800 for each year a TSS visa is to be held, or part thereof.
- For sponsoring companies with a turnover of less than $10M per year they will be required to pay a fee of $1,200 per year a TSS visa is to be held, or part thereof.
The SAF levy will be payable at the time of the TSS Nomination application, and will be calculated based on the amount of time that has been indicated in the application form.
As the Skilling Australians is yet to be introduced, the training benchmarks A & B will still be required to be met until the Skilling Australians Fund has been passed by the Senate and implemented by the Department of Home Affairs.
Whilst the changes have been significant, there are still a many options for employers to sponsor skilled international workers to supplement their Australian workforce. Current and accurate legal advice will significantly increase the ability for successful sponsorship.
If you have any questions regarding the context of the changes, or how these changes may affect you or your business please contact Ethos Migration.