18 March 2018 – Legislative Reform to Skilled Working Visas

Posted on March 20, 2018 by Benson Shi

The Migration Legislation Amendment (Temporary Skills Shortage Visa and Complementary Reforms) Regulations 2018 have come into effect and aims to strengthen and update immigration policy and administrative practice.

In particular this legislation has abolished the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 Visa and introduced the Temporary Skills Shortage visa (subclass 482) which will be referred to as the TSS visa.

The subclass 457 visa is now closed to new applications. Applications that were submitted prior to the 18 March 2018 will still be processed under the previous legislation. Applicants who currently hold Subclass 457 Visas will not be affected by these changes, however if they wish to renew their visa it they will need to apply for a TSS visa.

The eligible occupation lists have been updated to reflect these changes and now comprise of three distinct lists:

  1. Short-Term Skilled Occupation Lists (STSOL)
  2. Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  3. Regional Occupation List (ROL)

Some of these occupations are subject to caveats, which restrict their usage. Please see here for the current list of caveated occupations. Please note that caveats only apply to the TSS Visa and the Subclass 186 Visa.

Temporary Skills Shortage visa (subclass 482) – TSS Visa

This visa enables employers to address labour shortages by bringing genuinely skilled workers from overseas where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian. It facilitates targeted use of overseas workers to address temporary skills shortages, while ensuring that Australian workers get priority.

There are now 509 occupations that are eligible for this visa.

An overseas worker must be nominate by a sponsoring business and obtain a TSS visa before they can commence working in Australia. There are three streams for the TSS Visa:

  • The Short-Term stream
  • The Medium-Term stream
  • The Labour Agreement stream

The Short-Term stream allows employers to source overseas workers in occupations that fall on the STSOL for a maximum of two years (or four years if an International Trade Obligation applies). Visa holders under the Short-Term stream will be eligible to renew this visa once only.

The Medium-Term stream allows employers to source overseas workers for occupations of the MLTSSL for up to four years. Visa holders under the Medium-Term stream will be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the Subclass 186 program after 3 years if they meet the requisite criteria.

Labour Agreement stream allows employers to source skilled overseas workers in accordance with a labour agreement with the Commonwealth, where there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australia labour market and standard visa programs are not available.

Similarly to the subclass 457 visa there are three stages to the TSS visa;

Step 1: Sponsorship application by the employer
Step 2: Nomination application for a skilled position by the employer
Step 3: Visa application by the proposed nominee.

The three steps must be completed in order, however there is no need to wait for each application to be approved before proceeding with the next

General Eligibility Requirements for the TSS:

  • There must be an eligible employer willing to sponsor and nominate the visa applicant and they must have lodge sponsorship and nomination applications prior to the visa application being lodged;
  • The visa applicant must demonstrate that they have at least two years full time work experience in their nominated occupation within the last five years;
  • Certain visa applicants may be required to provide skills assessments to confirm their skills through a skills assessment depending on their occupation and country of passport.
  • Meet the English language requirement for the stream;
  • Meet the specific health for this visa, additionally any accompanying family members must meet the health criteria;
  • Meet the character requirements for this visa.

Age Limit: Like the subclass 457 visa there is no age limit on this visa. However applicant who are wishing to obtain permanent residency through the Subclass 186 visa should note that there is an upper age limit of 45 at time of application for this visa.

Where to apply: You can apply for this visa either outside or inside Australia. If you are applying for the visa inside Australia you must hold either a substantive visa or a Bridging A (subclass 010), Bridging B (subclass 020) or Bridging C (subclass 030) Visa.

If you are interested in employing an overseas worker through the TSS visa program or you are a potential visa applicant who is wishing to apply for this visa, please contact our office to arrange a detailed consultation with one of our lawyers.

All of the Migration Agents at Immigration Solutions Lawyers are also lawyers who specialise in migration law, this gives our team a leading edge as we are able to advise our clients succinctly on recent and upcoming legal changes.

For more information please contact our office on 1300 428 472.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not legal advice and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Immigration Solutions Lawyers do not accept any liability for any damages suffered by persons who rely on the general information provided on this website. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.