Wednesday 2nd May 2018

Australian Government Abolish The 457 Visa

The Temporary Skill Shortage visa (TSS) (subclass 482) has officially replaced the temporary skilled visa program (subclass 457). The Government’s decision to replace the 457 visa is to assist businesses in addressing genuine skills shortages, and to protect Australian workers and give them the first preference for potential employment. Results Migration take us through what all of these changes mean for new applicants.

This replacement brings many new eligibility requirements and complexities for applicants, including added work experience requirements, higher English language skills and the visa itself is far more costly than the 457.

Three streams available

The first list is the “Short Term Skilled Occupations List” (STSOL) and will replace the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL). The second is the “Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List” (MLTSSL), which will replace the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

Short-term stream

The first list is the “Short Term Skilled Occupations List” (STSOL) and will replace the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL). This list has been designed for employers to fill skill gaps temporarily

  • Valid for two years
  • Can be renewed once for two more years
  • No pathway to permanent residency
  • Occupation list will be reassessed every six months
  • Applicant needs to show genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia
  • Similar English proficiency to 457 visa

Short-term stream fees

  • Primary Applicant - $1,150
  • Dependant over 18 - $1,150
  • Dependant under 18 - $290

Medium-term stream

The second list is the “Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List” (MLTSSL), which will replace the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

  • Similar to the 457 visa
  • Valid for four years
  • Possibility for permanent residency after 3 years
  • Occupations are considered critical to the economy
  • Possible caveats on occupations
  • Higher English proficiency expectations

Medium-term stream fees

  • Primary Applicant - $2,400
  • Dependant over - $2,400
  • Dependant under 18 - $600

Labour agreement stream

  • Only to be used in exceptional circumstances
  • Must be need that cannot be met by the Australian labour market
  • Can only be used if no other visas are available
  • No formal English requirements needed

Do I need work experience?

Yes. The Australian Government has now decided that applicants will need at least two years of work experience in the relevant occupation and field of expertise. This is a complete change from the 457 visa, where one could just have the relevant qualification. This is one of the bigger changes and may make it difficult to be eligible for the TSS visa.

What if I was on a 457 before 2017?

Don’t worry, the old 457 rules will still apply to you! The Government has introduced ‘grandfathering’ provisions which mean that if you already held a 457 visa you will retain access to the pathway to permanent residency. The work experience requirement will also stay the same, as will the age and language requirements.

What if I want to change jobs?

The TSS condition 8607 means that if you wish to change occupations, you must obtain a new nomination from a sponsoring employer and apply for a new visa. This is obviously significantly different to the 457 where you could just show you have the skills required for the new occupation.

Differences between the two main streams:

Short-Term

Medium-Term

Duration

2 years

4 years

Renewal

Can be renewed onshore only once

Can be renewed onshore

Permanent Residency

No pathway to permanent residency

Permanent residency pathway after three years

Occupation List

STSOL - can be reviewed every 6 months

MLTSSL – only ‘critical’ or ‘high value’ occupations are considered

English Requirements (IELTS or equivalent)

Similar to the 457 visa:

Overall score of at least 5 with minimum score of 4.5 in each of the 4 test components

Higher level required than 457 visa: Overall score of at least 5 with a minimum of 5 in each component

Exemptions to English Requirements

  • Passport holders from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and New Zealand
  • People who have studied in English for at least 5 years
  • Intra-company transfers where the base salary is at least $96,400
  • Diplomatic/Consular appointments

Fees

Primary Applicant $1,150

Primary Applicant – $2,400

Employer Nomination Fees

$330

Employer Sponsorship Fees

$420

Prior Work Experience

Two years work experience in the nominated occupation or related field

Age

Maximum age of 45

Health Requirement

All applicants must show they do not have any medical conditions which are of public health concern or would result in a significant cost to the Australian community.

International Trade Obligations

Labour market testing (LMT)

Character Test

Mandatory police check for all applicants from each country lived in for 12 or more months in the past 10 years

Adult Children

The visa will be valid until the child’s 23rd birthday

Employers

Must meet a non-discriminatory workforce test

Salary

Minimum salary

Changes for Sponsors

A Training Levy will be introduced for the TSS visa. This means sponsors will not need to prove the training of Australians in the business to become an approved sponsor. A TSS sponsorship will be valid for five years.

Changes to Nomination Requirements

The TSS visa is only available for full-time positions. The TSS also specifically requires the sponsors to pay the nomination fees.

Industries affected

A significant amount of occupations have been cut from both lists, leaving the short-term stream with 268 occupations and the medium-term stream with a small amount of 167 occupations. Such substantial cuts suggest that nearly all industries will be affected by this change. Many affected industries are actively working to have ‘critical jobs’ reinstated. Additionally, many occupations will find a variety of caveats that may be difficult to meet.

What does this really mean?

The 457 visa was very popular and successful, however with Australia continuously changing it was in need of an upgrade. The new TSS visa, while more challenging for applicants to acquire, will actually benefit businesses as it will be easier to meet necessary training requirements. Whether the TSS is successful in addressing Australia’s skill shortages will be assessed in next few years, but for now we will just have to see how it unfolds.

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