Major changes to the Australian 457 visa programme


The Australian Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull has announced major changes to the subclass 457 temporary work visa programme with the introduction of a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa which will come into effect in March 2018. Mr Turnbull said the new system would be "manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest" and will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.

Current 457 visa holders will not be affected by the changes which will see the introduction of two new temporary skilled visas - a two year visa and a more specialised one for four years which will be targeted at applicants with a higher level of skills and work experience.

The TSS visa will have two distinct streams comprising of a short term stream of up to two years for applicants whose nominated occupation is on the new Short-Term Skilled Shortage List - STSOL (previously CSOL) and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years if the occupation is on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List - MLTSSL (previously SOL).

Although the 457 visa programme will remain open until the TSS visa comes into effect in March 2018, there has been an immediate reduction of 216 occupations available for subclass 457 visa programme applications and 59 caveats introduced to specified occupations which either relate to work experience, regional location or are occupation specific.

Maximum stay of 2 years if occupation only on the STSOL

Another key change has been to restrict applicants whose nominated occupation is only on the STSOL to a maximum stay of two years in Australia with only one further extension allowed for another two years with no pathway to applying for permanent residence through the Employer Nomination or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. Applicants whose occupation is on the MLTSSL can be granted a visa for up to four years and will be able to apply for permanent residence after three years if their employers are willing to nominate them. Students graduating in Australia will also be affected by the changes and will not be eligible to apply for temporary or permanent company sponsorship after March 2018 as they will require at least two years full-time wok experience first.

Further reforms being implemented from July 2017 for subclass 457 visa applicants include:

  • expanding mandatory skills assessments
  • introducing mandatory penal clearance checks consistent with other visa classes
  • tightening existing training benchmarks; and
  • removing English language exemptions based on a skilled migrants salary.

If you need to know more about how these changes will impact on your application please contact Jane Smith on 020 8468 1076.





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