Latest on changes to Australian visa’s and changes to criteria for Permit Residence
The Australian Government has today announced it is abolishing the 457 visa used by foreign workers with the view for more Australians to be hired. The 457 will be replaced with a completely new Temporary Skill Shortage to be called the (TSS) visa in March 2018.
There has also been announcements on the tightening of the criteria for those applying for Australian permanent residence and this change has not been widely reported today in the local media but could have quite significant consequences for some current 457 visa holders.
For those people currently on a 457 visa, there will be arrangements and they will continue under the conditions of that visa
What are the 457 reforms that we can expect?
The TSS visa programme will be comprised of: –
- a Short-Term stream of up to two years with no ability to apply for permanent residence, and
- a Medium-Term stream of up to four years with an ability to apply for permanent residence.
We have underlined the main changes to the new visa.
Key reforms include:
- new occupation lists – see attached list of occupations that from 19 April will no longer be eligible to apply for a 457 visa at Attachment A
- a requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
- a minimum market salary rate
- 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
- 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
- the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records, and
- mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
Employer Nomination Scheme reforms (ENS) – the criteria for this too is changing: –
Tightening eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas, including but not limited to:
- New occupation list – see attached list of occupations that from 19 April will no longer be eligible to apply for a 186 visa at Attachment A
- tightened English language requirements
- a requirement for visa applicants to have at least three years’ work experience
- applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application
- the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years
- strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers, and
- employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration
- Income Threshold (tsmit currently $53,900 pa).
- Concessions for regional Australia will continue to be available:
- see attached list of occupations that from 19 April will only be available to regional sponsors at Attachment B sponsoring for 186 or 457
- Employers in regional Australia will continue to have access to occupations under the temporary and permanent visas, to reflect their skills needs.
- Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Consideration will be given to expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are exempt from the age requirement.
The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.