Further to the Australian Government’s announcement of intention to abolish the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) in March 2018, and replace with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa stream aimed at maintaining stronger government jurisdiction over appointing foreign employees, existing subclass 457 visa holders will not be affected for the duration of their current visa.
Effective April 19, 2017: Substantial changes became effective, with subsequent changes –
· Skilled Occupation, and Consolidated Sponsored Occupation lists cancelled, and replaced with the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
· 216 occupations previously nominated as eligible for appointment of a foreign national to work under the 457 visa program have been eliminated.
· 59 additional occupations have strict caveats attached
· Pending 457 applications already lodged but whose occupation eligibility has been eliminated may withdraw their application and request a refund of the application fee (visa applicant and nominating employer)
· 457 visas granted on or after April 19, irrespective of application date, have maximum validity of 4 years for MLTSSL. May be eligible to apply for Permanent subclass 186/187 visa after 3 years with the same employer, in the same occupation
· Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) visas granted after April 19, irrespective of application date, have maximum validity of 2 years, with one renewal only (onshore).
Effective July 1, 2017: further changes to be initiated include –
· Mandatory Police clearance certificates for applicants
· Modifications to eligible occupation lists
· Abolition of English language exemption for high-salary earners (at least $A96,400 p.a)
· Strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers
Before December 31, 2017: for existing 457 visa holders
· DIBP commences collections of Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders and other employer-sponsored migrants. Data to be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records, ensuring that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
Effective March 2018: Subclass 457 visa stream to be eliminated and replaced by TSS, with more stringent criteria, shorter validity, and labour market testing required for each nomination.
Points to note are:
· Applicants must have minimum 2 years’ previous work experience in their proposed employment occupation
· Adherence to minimum market rate salary to remain
· Mandatory Labour Market Testing (exception: where an international agreement applies)
· Employers’ strict adherence required to anti-discrimination practices against Australians
· Expanded requirements of employers’ financial contributions to training
· IELTS or equivalent score of 5, with minimum of 4.5 in each component for STSOL and MLTSSL
This information has been prepared using data obtained from government publications. It is intended to inform only and does not represent substantial legal advice. Expat will be pleased to discuss aspects with you as required.