The changes to Australia’s temporary skilled visa program came into force on 18 March 2018 in line with the Department of Home Affairs announcements of 18 April 2017.
These regulations are now known as the Migration Legislation Amendment (Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and Complementary Reforms) regulations 2018 and have been designed to replace the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa scheme.
The three streams of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) Visa
The various streams available are dependent on the newly released Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
- The Short-term visa stream, applies to overseas workers whose occupations are on the Short-term Skilled Occupation list and they will be employed for 2 years, unless this is inconsistent with an international trade obligation. Short term visa stream holders will have the ability to renew this visa once onshore for a further period of 2 years.
- The Medium-term stream, applies to workers whose occupations are on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills list and they will be employed for 4 years with the ability to transition to permanent residency after being employed by the nominating sponsor for a minimum period of at least 3 years.
- The Labour Agreement Stream, enables skilled overseas workers to be employed under a labour agreement with the Commonwealth government.
Transitional arrangement for subclass 457 holders
Under the new regulations these are the requirements for approval under the Temporary Resident Transition (TRT) stream:
During the 4 years immediately before the application is made the nominated person held one or of the following visas for a total period of at least 3 years:
- Who held a subclass 457 visa under the SBS stream before 18 March 2018, or;
- Who held a subclass 482 visa in the Medium-term stream or;
- Who held a subclass 482 visa in the Short-term stream.
Effectively, the above means that all visa holders who can complete at least 3 years of work experience with their sponsoring employer will be able to transition to PR through the Temporary Resident Transition stream. The main difference with the “old rules” is that 457 visa holders were previously required to complete 2 years with their sponsor employer to be eligible.
Labour Market Testing Requirements
Under the new TSS rules, nomination applications associated with the subclass 482 visa are subject to the requirement of providing evidence of labour market testing (LMT) unless international trade obligations or specified exemptions. This needs to have been undertaken within the following periods:
- For a nomination application lodged on or after 18 March 2018 and before 18 June 2018 – the 12-month period immediately before the nomination application form is lodged.
- For a nomination application lodged on or after 18 June 2018 – the 6-month period immediately before the Nomination application form is lodged.
English Language Requirements
The requirements for the Short-term stream remains unchanged from the 457 visa requirements (IELTS at least 4.5 in each test component or equivalent in PTE, TOEFL etc). However, the Medium-term stream requires competent English (IELTS at least 5.0 in each test component or equivalent in PTE TOEFL, etc).
English language exemptions will apply to people that fall into one of the following categories:
- you are a passport holder from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America
- you have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where instruction was conducted in English*. Note: a higher education institution includes Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses for the purposes of this visa subclass
- you are nominated for an occupation which will be performed at a diplomatic or consular mission of another country or an Office of the Authorities of Taiwan located in Australia
- the person is an employee of an overseas business who is coming to Australia to work for that company, or their associated entity, and the position has guaranteed annual earnings of at least AUD96,400
- your occupation requires you to hold a licence, registration or membership and:
- to be granted the licence, registration or membership you must demonstrate a level of English language proficiency that is equivalent to or better than the level described on the previous page (test/scores), and
- you have been granted the licence, registration or membership.
Two Years’ Work Experience Requirement
All applicants for the TSS visa are required to provide evidence that they have at least two years work experience in the nominated occupation or a related field.
The Department will take a flexible approach for specific industries that experience can be counted based on being part of a Masters and/or PhD for relevant occupations, or industry/clinical placements, internships or apprenticeships.
Placements, Internships and Apprenticeship experience can only be counted if it is either:
- As part of a CRICOS registered course of study where it is relevant to the nominated occupation or;
- Not part of a CRICOS registered course of study but it is undertaken at the skill level of the relevant occupation.
Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) & The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
The Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) is a requirement that ensures that all TSS Visa applicants will be provided with the same terms and conditions that would apply to an equivalent Australian employee.
This requirement must be satisfied by referring to the relevant fair work instrument, state industrial instrument, or transitional instrument that is applicable to the nominated occupation.
If an industrial instr