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Recent Key Changes to the Temporary Employer Sponsored Visa Program (formerly 457)

From 18 April 2017, the writing was on the wall for the 457 visa program. A summary of key changes implemented at that time are listed below:

  • more than 200 occupations retrospectively removed from the relevant eligible occupations list, with employers asked to withdraw undecided applications for positions that fell within the affected occupations
  • eligible occupations list split into 2 lists, the short term skilled occupations list (STSOL) and the medium long term skills shortage list (MLTSSL)
  • overseas nationals being nominated for an STSOL occupation were only granted a 457 visa for up to 2 years (unless an international trade obligation (ITO) applied in which case a 457 visa of up to 4 years could be granted), and those being nominated for an MLTSSL occupation were granted a 457 visa for up to 4 years.
  • overseas nationals being nominated for an STSOL occupation who submitted their 457 visa application after 18 April 2017 were no longer eligible for permanent residence under the employer nomination scheme (temporary residence transition stream) visa.
  • overseas nationals being nominated for an MLTSSL occupation who submitted their 457 visa application after 18 April 2017 needed to wait three years holding their 457 Visa, employed in the nominated occupation, for the nominating employer to meet threshold requirements for the employer nomination scheme (temporary residence transition stream) visa.
  • caveats introduced that could be applied to certain eligible occupations on both the STSOL and MLTSSL occupations lists that could restrict their use. In a sense, this resulted in a change for the better as previously the genuine position criteria allowed a lot more scope for assessing offices to refuse applications on the basis of their personal views
  • police checks required of 457 visa applicants for all countries they had lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years

In March 2018, the 457 visa was abolished and replaced with the temporary skill shortage (subclass 482) visa. The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) prefer to call it simply the TSS visa, likely due to increased criticism of the 457 visa program and an attempt to disassociate the new program from that controversy. Despite this, the new TSS visa does retain many elements of the previous 457 Visa.

Key changes to the sponsored visa program, now the TSS program, that are currently effective, in addition to the changes implemented on 18 April 2017 as listed above, are as follows:

  • a skilling Australia fund (SAF) levy replaces the previous training obligations (training benchmark A and B) that were incumbent on nominating employers
  • the MLTSSL and STSOL occupations lists reviewed twice yearly around January and July based on the shifting needs of Australia as advised by the Department of Jobs and Small Business. This government department releases potential occupation list movement, and DOHA make the final decision
  • Labour market testing required without any occupational exemptions, unless an international trade obligation applies
  • Start-up companies and overseas employers granted a five year standard business sponsorship, rather than the previous 18 month period only
  • slight adjustments to the English language requirements for overseas nationals
  • recent graduates mostly excluded from the program with 2 years of post-qualification employment experience required

We offer complimentary eligibility determination for employers. Please contact us if you would like a free assessment of your candidates eligibility for the TSS visa.

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