Following the Australian Government’s April 2017 announcement of the abolition of the 457 visa program and rem, Expat presents a detailed timeline of the changes applied and changes pending in relation to the relevant skilled visas.
Why are the changes being made?
The government has announced that changes are being made in order to better align Australia’s temporary and long-term migration programs, to ensure that Australia is providing access to permanent residency to those migrants who will best serve Australia’s medium and long-term skill needs
Changes that have taken effect in April 2017
The new occupation lists came into effect for all pending and new Subclass 457 visa applicants on 19 April 2017. Applicants who currently hold a Subclass 457 visa, retain this visa for the validity of their visa. 216 occupations have been completely removed off the eligible occupations list.
Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
Occupations on this list are eligible for a 2-year work visa, with the ability to renew (once off) for a further extension of 2 years. There will be no pathway to permanent residency.
59 caveats added to eligible occupations on the STSOL (Caveats do not apply to visa subclass186 or other subclasses)
This list will be reviewed and updated every 6 months
Medium & Long Term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL)
Occupations on this list are eligible for a 4-year work visa. After 3 years of working with the nominating employer, they may apply for permanent residency.
This list will be reviewed and updated every 12 months
Changes coming into effect in July 2017
Potential changes to Skilled Occupation List –
- Expansion of mandatory skills assessments
- English language salary exemption for high income earners removed (annual salary of at least $96,400)
- Possible changes to the MLTSSL list
- Potential visa price increases
- July 1 system changes – increased levels of additional information required for applications, including projected payroll, improved Labour Market Testing (LMT) information, relationship details, child custody information, etc.
Changes coming into effect in March 2018
It is our understanding from all Government sources and industry consultation that those who hold a valid Subclass 457 visa will continue to be eligible for employer nominated Permanent Residency (PR) until March 2018. Immigration regulations are subject to change with little or no warning, and a Government decision may be made to amend the regulations in the coming months, to remove the current transitional entry pathway for Permanent Residency.
- Implementation of new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa
- Short-term TSS visa will only be available for 2 years, with one 2-year renewal available. There will be no direct pathway to Permanent Residency.
- Medium-term TSS visa will be available for a 4-year grant. No presently available statement on renewals being prohibited. Reference to PR as ‘available after 3 years.’
- Potential removal of the Direct Entry pathway, in favour of a ‘skill select’ skills assessment pathway.
Implications for current 457 visa applicants
- If you have applied for the 457 visa but your occupation no longer on the list (nomination pending and visa pending) – this can no longer be approved
- If you have applied for the 457 visa but your occupation is no longer on the list (nomination approved and visa pending) – this can no longer be approved
- If you have applied for 457 but do not meet caveats – withdraw application or notify Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) of amendments
- If you have applied for 457 and nomination occupation is on STSOL – visa granted for maximum of 2 years
- If you have applied for 457 and occupation on MTSSL – visa granted for maximum of 4 years
- If you have applied to be added as secondary 457 to existing 457 visa – will be granted 457 of same duration as primary 457 visa
- If you hold a current 457 but your occupation is no longer on list – cannot re-apply for 457 in same occupation, cannot be re-nominated (i.e. nomination transfer). The visa subclass186 Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) will be available until at least March 2018
All information is current and accurate at the time of publishing. However, the above information and status is highly susceptible to change without warning, and thus this cannot substitute for any legal advice. Expat International cannot be held responsible for any actions stemming from the information provided above. Please contact Expat directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss further.