Update (20th April 2017) – Justin Rickard was interviewed by the BBC World News service in London regarding the changes to the 457 and Citizenship rules discussed in this article. Listen to the interview below.

 

The Australian Prime Minister made a shock announcement yesterday that the Immigration department (DIBP) is abolishing the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa (457 visa) and replacing it with the completely new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

For the sake of expediency and to help current clients concerned with the 457 visa changes, some information here is taken from DIBP public information.

Why Are These Changes Being Made?

According to DIBP and for political purposes I believe “these measures will sharpen the focus of Australia’s employer sponsored skilled migration programmes to ensure they better meet Australia’s skills needs, increase the quality and economic contribution of skilled migrants and address public concerns about the displacement of Australian workers.

Who Is Affected?

Current 457 visa applications and holders, prospective applicants, businesses sponsoring skilled migrants and industry. Existing 457 visas will continue to remain in effect.

457 visa applications that had lodged their application on or before 18 April 2017, and whose application had not yet been decided, with an occupation that has been removed from the STSOL, may be eligible for a refund of their visa application fee. Nominating businesses for these applications may also be eligible for a refund of related fees.

Phase 1: Immediate Changes to Occupation Lists

The first phase of a number of intended changes to the approved occupation list for the subclass 457 programme has already been implemented – with amendments made to the existing legislative instrument that specifies approved occupations for the programme.

As of 19 April 2017, the lists contained in these schedules have been re-named:

  • the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) as the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL); and
  • the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) as the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

For the subclass 457 a total of 216 occupations have been removed from the list of eligible occupations; and caveats added to 59 other occupations.

Occupation lists are already available on DIBP website. The list of occupations removed from the CSOL is at the end of this article.

Visa Validity Changes

457 visas were generally granted for four years. For subclass 457 visas granted on or after 19 April 2017, under DIBP policy, the maximum four year visa period will, however, only be available where the primary applicant’s occupation is on the MLTSSL.

For all other applicants where their occupation is not on the MLTSSL, a maximum visa period of two years will be available. This includes primary visa applications, lodged, which are still pending a decision on 19 April 2017. Note: Subsequent entrants (i.e. secondary visa applicants) wanting to join a primary subclass 457 visa holder will not be impacted by this new policy. That is, subsequent entrants can still have their subclass 457 visa ‘match’ the visa period of the primary visa holder – even if this is longer than two years (unless member of family unit extension limits apply).

Further Changes and Key Dates

Further changes will occur on 1 July & 31 December 2017 and 1 March 2018.

What Is Changing for 1 July 2017?

Further changes to the subclass 457 programme are planned for 1 July 2017. These include:

  • possible further adjustments to eligible occupation lists;
  • an expansion of client cohorts for whom mandatory skills assessments are required;
  • minor changes to the training benchmarks for subclass 457 sponsors; and
  • subclass 457 programme no longer excluded from standard policy around penal checks – with police certificates required to be provided from countries a visa applicant has lived in as per current policy for other visa subclasses
  • From 1 July 2017 some expect there will be revisions to the occupation lists (DIBP has stated as much already on this point) changes to English language requirements of IELTS (or equivalent test) score of 6.0 in each component and age limit decrease to 45 years old at the time of application for applicants in the 186 (ENS) and 187 (RSMS) Direct Entry stream

Changes by December 2017

Before 31 December 2017, for the existing 457 visa:

  • DIBP will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders (and other employer sponsored migrants), and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
  • DIBP will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.

Changes from March 2018 Including Pathway to Permanent Residency

It appears the age requirement of 50 will continue in the Temporary Residence Transition stream for the short-term, however from 1 March 2018 it has been advised that additional changes will be made affecting all ENS and RSMS applications, including:

  • That only the occupations on the MLTSSL will be eligible
  • That an Age limit of 45 years will apply for all applications. This change would have a significant impact on older applicants

The Short-Term stream will include the following criteria:

Renewal:

Capacity for visa renewal onshore once only. – Occupations:

  • For non-regional Australia, the STSOL will apply.
  • For regional Australia, the STSOL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.

English language requirements:

A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 5, with a minimum of 4.5 in each test component.

Genuine entry:

A genuine temporary entrant requirement.

The Medium-Term stream will include the following criteria:

Renewal:

Capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years (not 2 as currently exists).

Occupation lists:

  • For non-regional Australia – the MLTSSL will apply.
  • For regional Australia – the MLTSSL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers.

English language requirements:

A requirement of a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component.

Eligibility criteria for both streams will include:

  • Work experience: at least two years’ relevant work experience.
  • Labour market testing (LMT): LMT will be mandatory, unless an international obligation applies.
  • Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements. Currently $53,900
  • Character: Mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
  • Workforce: A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
  • Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers. The detailed policy settings for several of these requirements will be finalised through the implementation process. Further details on these requirements to inform stakeholders will be available in due course.

Caveats

Understanding the caveats Caveats are included ‘as a note’ in the relevant legislative for 59 occupations now. The listing of caveats is detailed, and involves 3 types of caveats, and seeking professional advice is recommended when nominating one of these occupations. Australian immigrationlawyers.com anticipates publishing further advice on this area as more detailed information is released by DIBP.

Conclusion

The sudden unexpected and shock changes to the occupations list for 457 visas have already started to come into effect immediately – this will likely impact many employers and employees quite significantly.

The new TSS visa is likely to be more restrictive than the current 457 visa – of shorter duration with more restrictive requirements in terms of skill level and labour market testing. Visa applicants and businesses seeking to sponsor staff for temporary visas are advised to 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, though it looks as if it may be March 2018. 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 are advised to proceed with lodgement as soon as possible to avoid the changes.

Australian Immigration Lawyers anticipates publishing further advice on this in the coming days and weeks.

The above information is provided by way of general advice and not to be relied on as specific for your individual situation.  Where you are seeking guidance in relation to a specific matter, seeking professional advice is recommended.

Feel free to call our corporate and visa applicant hotline on Our contact phone number is provided when Migration Advice Plan booking made., or take a look at our visa packages.

We will assist you with the new TSS VISA requirements and readily find the best path for you visa application.


Occupation ANZSCO Code
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker 411511
Actor 211111
Actors, Dancers and Other Entertainers NEC 211199
Aeroplane Pilot 231111
Air Traffic Controller 231112
Air Transport Professionals NEC 231199
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics) 323111
Amusement Centre Manager 149111
Antique Dealer 142112
Apparel Cutter 393211
Archaeologist 272414
Archivist 224211
Art Director (Film, Television or Stage) 212311
Artistic Director 212111
Auctioneer 611111
Author 212211
Bed and Breakfast Operator 141911
Betting agency Manager 142113
Biochemist 234513
Biotechnologist 234514
Blacksmith 322111
Boarding Kennel or Cattery Operator 149911
Broadcast Transmitter Operator 399511
Building and Engineering Technicians NEC 312999
Business Broker 612111
Butcher or Smallgoods Maker 351211
Call or Contact Centre Manager 149211
Canvas Goods Fabricator 393111
Caravan Park and Camping Ground Manager 141211
Cinema or Theatre Manager 149912
Clinical Coder 599915
Clothing Patternmaker 393212
Clothing Trades Workers NEC 393299
Commissioned Defence Force Officer 139111
Commissioned Fire Officer 139112
Commissioned Police Officer 139113
Communications Operator 342312
Community Arts Worker 272611
Composer 211211
Conservation Officer 234311
Construction Estimator 312114
Conveyancer 599111
Corporate Treasurer 221212
Court Bailiff or Sheriff (Aus) / Court Collections Officer (NZ) 599212
Deer Farmer 121314
Defence Force Member – Other Ranks 441111
Defence Force Senior Officer 111212
Dental Hygienist 411211
Dental Prosthetist 411212
Dental Therapist 411214
Detective 441311
Director of Photography 212313
Diver 399911
Dog or Horse Racing Official 452318
Drama Teacher (Private Tuition) 249213
Dressmaker or Tailor 393213
Driller 712211
Driving Instructor 451211
Education Reviewer 249112
Electorate Officer 224911
Electronic Engineering Draftsperson 312411
Electronic Engineering Technician 312412
Electroplater 322112
Emergency Service Worker 441211
Engineering Patternmaker 323411
Engraver 323311
Entertainer or Variety Artist 211113
Environmental Health Officer 251311
Exercise Physiologist 234915
Film, Television, Radio and Stage Directors NEC 212399
Financial Institution Branch Manager 149914
Fire Fighter 441212
Fire Protection Equipment Technician 399918
First Aid Trainer 451815
Fisheries Officer 311311
Flight Attendant 451711
Floor Finisher 332111
Flying Instructor 231113
Food Technologist 234212
Funeral Director 451311
Funeral Workers NEC 451399
Futures Trader 222212
Gallery or Museum Technician 399311
Gas or Petroleum Operator 399212
Geophysicist 234412
Goat Farmer 121315
Golfer 452412
Graphic Pre-press Trades Worker 392211
Gunsmith 323312
Helicopter Pilot 231114
Historian 272411
Homoeopath 252212
Horse Trainer 361112
Human Resource Adviser 223111
Hydrogeologist 234413
Hydrographer 311415
ICT Support and Test Engineers NEC 263299
ICT Support Technicians NEC 313199
Importer or Exporter 133311
Insurance Investigator 599611
Insurance Risk Surveyor 599613
Intellectual Property Lawyer 271214
Intelligence Officer 224411
Interior Decorator 399912
Jockey 452413
Judge 271211
Kennel Hand 361115
Leather Goods Maker 393112
Legal Executive 599112
Liaison Officer 224912
Licensed Club Manager 141411
Life Scientist (General) 234511
Life Scientists NEC 234599
Light Technician 399513
Magistrate 271212
Maintenance Planner 312911
Marine Surveyor 231215
Marine Transport Professionals NEC 231299
Market Research Analyst 225112
Master Fisher 231211
Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson 312511
Media Producer (excluding Video) 212112
Metal Casting Trades Worker 322114
Metal Polisher 322115
Metallurgist 234912
Microbiologist 234517
Migration Agent (Aus) 224913
Mothercraft Nurse 411412
Multimedia Designer 232413
Music Director 211212
Music Professionals NEC 211299
Musical Instrument Maker or Repairer 399515
Natural and Physical Science Professionals NEC 234999
Nurse Researcher 254212
Nurseryperson 362411
Operating Theatre Technician 311214
Optical Dispenser (Aus) / Dispensing Optician (NZ) 399913
Optical Mechanic 399914
Other Sports Official 452323
Painter (Visual Arts) 211411
Park Ranger 234314
Parole or Probation Officer 411714
Pathology Collector (Aus) / Phlebotomist (NZ) 311216
Petroleum Engineer 233612
Plastics Technician 399916
Plumbing Inspector 312115
Police Officer 441312
Policy Analyst 224412
Policy and Planning Manager 132411
Potter or ceramic artist 211412
Prison Officer 442111
Procurement Manager 133612
Production Manager (Manufacturing) 133512
Public Relations Manager 131114
Quarantine Officer 311313
Radio Journalist 212414
Radio Presenter 212113
Railway Station Manager 149412
Regional Education Manager 134412
Research and Development Manager 132511
Retail Buyer 639211
Retirement Village Manager 141912
Safety Inspector 312611
Sail Maker 393113
Sales Representative (Industrial Products) 225411
Sales Representative (Medical and Pharmaceutical Products) 225412
Saw Maker and Repairer 323315
School Laboratory Technician 311414
Screen Printer 392112
Sculpter 211413
Senior Non-commissioned Defence Force Member 139211
Shearer 361211
Shoemaker 393114
Singer 211214
Small Offset Printer 392312
Sports Administrator 139915
Sports Umpire 452322
Stock and Station Agent 611112
Surveying or Spatial Science Technician 312116
Technicians and Trades Workers NEC 399999
Telecommunications Cable Jointer 342412
Telecommunications Technician 342414
Television Equipment Operator 399517
Television Presenter 212114
Training and Development Professional 223311
Translator 272413
Travel Agency Manager 142116
Travel Attendants NEC 451799
Tribunal Member 271213
Turf Grower 121218
Vehicle Painter 324311
Vocational Education Teacher (Non-Trades) 242211
Vocational Education Teacher (Trades) 242211
Web Developer 261212
Wholesaler 133312
Wood Turner 394214
Wool Buyer 639212
Wool Classer 399917
Workplace Relations Advisor 223113
Zookeeper 361114