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New Temporary Skill Shortage Visa: What We Know So Far!

On 18 April 2017, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection announced that major changes would be introduced to Australia’s temporary skilled visa programme.

Of course, the most significant of these changes was the proposed abolition of the Subclass 457 visa, and the replacement of that visa with what will be known as the Temporary Skill Shortage (“TSS”) visa.

The changes that were announced in April 2017 are expected to come into force  at some  time  this month,  although the exact date is not certain: it will be whenever the legislation required to implement the changes comes into force.

Because the legislation has not yet been released, there remains some uncertainty as to exactly what the changes will be – and consequently some (very understandable!) confusion among Registered Migration Agents, migration lawyers and applicants about exactly what will be happening. 

To paraphrase from an old television advertisement from the 1960’s: “Not even the Department knows for sure”.

However, on 7 March 2018, the Department did release a “slide show” to RMAs which provides at least a tentative outline of what to expect.

Here’s a short summary about what visa applicants can expect when the anticipated changes come into force later in March:

Abolition of the Old 457 Visa and “Transitional” Arrangements:

  • The Subclass 457 visa will be “abolished” and will be replaced with a new visa “subclass” – ot be known as “482”, the Temporary Skill Shortage visa.
  • Going forward from the “implementation date”, when the TSS is introduced, it will not be possible ot lodge any applications for 457 visas.
  • Applications for 457 visas that are lodged prior to the “implementation date” will be processed by the Department under the “old rules” – the regulations concerning 457 visas that were in force prior to the implementation date

Characteristics of the New TSS Visa

  • The new TSS will have three “streams” – Short-term, Medium-term and Labour agreement streams
  • Different visa application charges will apply, depending upon the “stream”, with the application charge for the Short-term stream being $1,150 and $2,400 for the Medium –term and Labour Agreement streams;
  • The period during which the visa will be in effect will be determined by the nomination, with occupations on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List being eligible for a “stay” period of 1 to 2 years, unless an International Trade Obligation applies, and occupations on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List eligible for a stay period of up to 4 years;
  • Visas will only be granted if they correspond to the nomination that is used to make the visa application;
  • Applicants under the short term stream will not be able to lodge onshore if they have already held two previous TSS visas in a row, unless it is the case that an International Trade Obligation applies

Application Requirements

  • Certain specified visas will have to be held by the applicant if the application is made onshore
  • The applicant will be required to have commenced any mandatory skills assessment by the time of the application
  • Applicants will be required to have at least 2 years of relevant work experience;
  • A “genuine temporary entrant” criterion will apply to applicants in the short-term stream;
  • Higher English language proficiency requirements (at least “5” in each element of “IELTS” will apply to applicants in the medium-term stream, 4.5 for applicants in the short –term stream)
  • Applicants will need to satisfy the health requirements of Public interest Criterion 4007, and the “waiver” provisions of Public interest Criterion 4006A which enabled applicants to get “Health waivers” if the nominating sponsor provided a written undertaking to the Department that it would meet all costs in relation to the disease or condition that caused the applicant or member of the applicant’s family unit to “fail” the health requirement will no longer be available.

Details of Application Requirements

  • For occupations for which skills assessment are currently “mandatory” under Department policy, the requirement for a skills assessment will be imposed by means of a legislative instrument meaning that the requirement will be more clearly “legally enforceable”;
  • For those occupations is for which a skills assessment is specified by legislative instrument, it will be a “time of application” requirement that the skills assessment has been commenced, and a skills assessment “reference number” will need to be provided in the visa application form;
  • All onshore applicants will have to hold either a substantive visa or a Bridging Visa A, B or C;
  • Visa applicants will generally have ot have at least 2 years work experience in the nominated occupation or in a related field on a full time basis within the previous 5 years, although part-time work may be considered where “equivalent” and the decision-maker considers that the applicant’s skills remain “current”
  • A new Condition “8607”,  limiting the primary applicant to “approved work”, will be included in the visa  - those visa holders who wish to change employers will have to have a new nomination approved and be granted a new visa before commencing work in the new occupation;
  • Health insurance: holders of the TSS will be required to maintain adequate health insurance.

Is everything clear at this stage? Stay tuned, more questions will be answered when the new regulations come into effect! 

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  • Guest
    Melody Monday, 19 March 2018

    When I go to the Federal Register of Legislation, it shows this fresh new regulation is no longer in force. It shows that it is repealed on 19 March 2018.:o Do I miss any thing?

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Guest Friday, 22 March 2019
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