The changes from 1st July 2017
- For existing 457 visas, the STSOL (Short-Term Skilled Occupation List ) will be further reviewed on the bases of advice from the Department of Employment. The MLTSSL (Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List) will be revised based on outcomes from Department of Education and training’s 2017-18 SOL review.
- English language salary exemption threshold, which exempts applicants whose salary is over $96,400 from the English language requirement, will be removed.
- Policy settings about the training benchmark requirement will be made clearer in legislative instruments.
- Provision of penal clearance certificates will become mandatory.
- For existing 457 visas, before 31st December 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will start collecting the Tax File Numbers of 457 Visa holders and will match the data with Australian Tax Office’s record to make sure the visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
- The Department will also commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.
The Changes from March 2018
- From March 2018, the 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the TSS visa.
- The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years.
- The Short-Term stream is designed for Australian businesses to fill skill gaps with foreign workers on a temporary basis, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.
- The Medium-Term stream will allow employers to source foreign workers to address shortages in a narrower range of high skill and critical need occupations, where a suitably skilled Australian worker cannot be sourced.
The Short-Term stream will include the following criteria:
- Genuine entry: A genuine temporary entrant requirement.
- Renewal: Capacity for visa renewal onshore once only.
- 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.
The Medium-Term stream will include the following criteria:
- English language requirements: a requirement of a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component.
- Renewal: Capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years.
- 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.
Eligibility criteria for both streams will be:
- Work experience: at least two years’ work experience relevant to the particular occupation.
- 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.
- 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: Employers nominating a worker for a TSS visa will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund. The contribution will be:
- payable in full at the time the worker is nominated;
- $1,200 per year or part year for small businesses (those with annual turnover of less than $10 million) and $1,800 per year or part year for other businesses.
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.
Who is affected?
- Current 457 visa applicants and holders, prospective applicants, businesses sponsoring skilled migrants and industry.
- Existing 457 visas continue to remain in effect.
- 457 visa applicants 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.
Further information could be find at border.gov.au