457 Visa Replacement and Upcoming Changes
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the 457 visa programme will be abolished and replaced by a new visa programme with new criteria and requirements.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have released a range of information regarding the new visa which will be called the ‘Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. This new visa that will be replacing the 457 visa in March 2018.
The new visa programme will include two streams:
- A short-term stream of up to two years; and
- A medium-term stream of up to four years
The visas will be designed to assist businesses to meet genuine skill shortages within their industries however will contain a range of criteria that will prioritise Australian workers.
Characteristics of the new TSS visa
- new, more targeted occupation lists which better align with skill needs in the Australian labour market
- a requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
- a minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers
- mandatory labour market testing, unless an international obligation applies,
- capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-Term stream
- capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years under the Medium-Term stream
- the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years
- a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
- strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers
- DIBP collection of Tax File Numbers and data to be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records, and
- mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
Changes to Employer Sponsored Visas
The Department of Immigration & Border Protection has advised that the employed sponsored visa streams will be reviewed and eligibility requirements will be strengthened. Some of the information that has been made available are:
- higher English level requirement
- visa applicants to have at least three years work experience
- applicants must be under the age of 45 at the time of making the application
- new requirements for employers to contribute towards the training of Australian citizens
- employers must meet the Australian market salary rate for their employees and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
Regional Areas of Australia
The Federal government has advised that regional areas of Australia will not be affected and concessions will still be available which include:
- Access to a larger range of occupations under the temporary and permanent visa list’s to meet their skill requirements
- Nomination fees will continue to be waived and age exemptions for certain occupations will remain
Occupation List Changes
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has revised the eligible occupation lists. These changes have become effective immediately.
The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has now been replaced by the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List has been replaced by the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
200 occupations were removed from the STSOL and a further 16 occupations on the MLTSSL are now restricted to only apply for the following visa programmes:
- Skilled Independant (subclass 189)
- Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
- Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) if the applicant has not been nominated by a State or Territory government agency.
The changes listed above will only apply to NEW applications lodged on, or after 19 April for the following visa programmes:
- Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186) – via the Direct Entry Stream
- Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491 Visa – if nominated by a State or Territory Government
- Training visa (subclass 407)
457 Visa Applications and Nominations that are still processing
If your 457 visa application or 457 nomination is still processing and has yet to be finalised, the Department is unable grant any visas’ that do not appear on the STSOL (or an eligible occupation on the MLTSSL).
If your visa application has been affected it is recommended your application be withdrawn and a refund request made.
Upcoming Changes to the 457 Visa
From 19 April 2017 – 216 occupations have been removed and another 59 occupations have been restricted, 24 occupations have been restricted to regional Australia, the occupation lists have been renamed and the validity periods for occupations on the STSOL is now 2 years.
From 01 July 2017 – English salary exemption of salaries above $96,400 will be removed, and training benchmarks will be amended. All applicants will be required to provide mandatory police clearance certificates.
Prior to 31 December 2017 – The Department will collect Tax File Numbers (TFN) for 457 visa holders and will data match with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Department will also publish business sponsors who have been sanctioned.
From March 2018 – the Subclass 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the TSS visa which will have two streams: 1. Short Term with a validity period of two years and 2. Medium-Term with a validity period of four years.
Upcoming Changes to the Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 Visa
From 19 April 2017 – The Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) has been condensed, with 216 occupations now removed, 24 occupations have been restricted to regional Australia and the occupation list being renamed.
From 01 July 2017 – The STSOL and MLTSSL lists will be reviewed, an increased English language test of IELTS 6 across each band will be introduced and the Direct Entry stream will have a lower age limit of 45 at time of application.
From March 2018 – The MLTSSL will apply to all Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) and Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) with additional regional occupations. The market salary rate will apply and applicants be required to meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), the eligibility period to apply for Permanent Residency via the Temporary Residence Transition Stream will be increased from two to three years, a three year work experience requirement will be added to all applications, the age of all applicants must be under 45 years old at time of application, and contribution towards training benchmarks will be amended.
Ethos Migration will continue to provide updates via our website and social media channels as they become available.