The 457 is to be abolished from March 2018 and will be replaced by a new temporary visa called Temporary Skill Shortage ( TSS) visa.
Changes to the occupations list for 457 visas have come into effect as of today, 19th April.
The changes will impact people applying for permanent residence through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa.
Applicants who have lodged their 457 application and are currently awaiting a decision will be assessed under the new changes effective from 19 April 2017. So anyone who has been nominated in an occupation that is now on the short-term list will only be granted a 2 years visa which can only be renewed once. We are still awaiting confirmation as to whether this will lead to permanent residency in the future, which at this stage seems like the answer is NO.
Applicants who have lodged their 457 visas and are currently awaiting decision – and their occupation is on the medium – long-term list – will be granted a 4-year visa and will have a pathway to permanent residency after 3 years of being on a 457 visa.
Applicants who have lodged their 457 visas and are currently awaiting a decision and their occupation has been removed from the list may be asked to withdraw their application and may be eligible for a refund.
New Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa
There is some information on the requirements for the new temporary work visa replacing the 457 visa.
The main points are as follows:
From 19 April 2017, a shorter list of occupations will be allowed for the 457 visa.
A change to the approved list for 457 visas could also impact on the ENS direct entry visa, the Occupational Trainee Stream of the Training Subclass 407 visa, and state nominated General Skilled visas (i.e. the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 and Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa).
A minimum of 2 years of work experience will be required to meet the requirement for the visa. Currently the skill level for 457 visa can be met without any work experience, providing the applicant has relevant qualifications.
This change will impact significantly on those without work experience in the occupation – particularly international students completing studies in Australia.
Labour Market Testing
Currently, Labour Market Testing is only required when nominating trade occupations, nursing or engineering occupations for a 457 visa. Labour Market Testing would require employers to show that they have advertised the position to be filled and show that a local is not available to fill the position.
The announcement indicates that Labour Market Testing will be required in all cases when applying for a TSS visa, except when exempted by international trade agreements.
If Labour Market Testing is required in most cases when applying for a TSS visa, this could significantly delay lodgement of the visa application – particularly important when filling an urgently required role or where the applicant’s visa is expiring.
There will be 2 streams for the TSS visa – a short-term stream of 2-years and a medium-term stream of 4-years.
The short-term stream can only be renewed only once.
The medium-term stream is likely to have higher requirements (eg English language ability, shorter occupations list) and can be renewed or may also lead to a permanent visa.
Police clearances will be required for the TSS visa. Depending on the country of residence, these can take several months to come through. Police clearances are not required for 457 visas, unless the applicant has a criminal record.
The changes to the occupations list for 457 visas will come into effect immediately – this is likely to impact employers in certain industries quite significantly.
The new TSS visa is likely to be more restrictive than the current 457 visa – of shorter duration with tougher requirements in terms of skill level and labour market testing. Businesses seeking to sponsor staff for temporary visas should look at lodging their applications well before March 2018.
Applicants for permanent employer sponsored visas will also be impacted, but it is not yet clear when these changes will come into effect. The main changes are in relation to the amount of work experience required, English requirement and age limit. Applicants who are eligible for permanent employer visas should proceed with lodgement as soon as possible to avoid the changes.