Employee Relocations to Australia Affected By Changes to Skilled Occupations List & New Temporary Skill Shortage Visa to Replace 457 Visas in March 2018

19 April 2017 The Australian Government announced that on the occupations lists used for skilled migration visas, including the subclass 457 visa, will be significantly condensed and from March 2018 the 457 visa programme will be replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. The new TSS visa will include a higher focus on English language proficiency, labour market testing and previous skilled work experience.

A. New skilled occupation lists to take effect from 19 April 2017
B. 457 visa program to be replaced by new Temporary Skill Shortage visa in March 2018 with stronger focus on giving Australians priority for Australian jobs.

A. New skilled occupation list – 19 April 2017

New, condensed skilled occupation lists will take effect from 19 April 2017. From a subclass 457 perspective, 216 occupations have been removed from the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL), now the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

Caveats have been added to 59 other occupations – including accountants, bakers, cooks and chefs, management roles, technical sales reps, customer service managers, supply chain and facilities managers, marketing specialists, recruitment consultants - based on the applicant’s work experience, or the sponsor’s location or the size or scope of the business.

What this means to organisations relocating employees to Australia

Clients who lodged subclass 457 nomination and visa applications for occupations which now are no longer on the skilled occupation list will not be approved. Applicants will have the opportunity to withdraw their applications and refunds provided. In the coming days we will contact impacted clients to discuss your options. Further analysis of the changes will be communicated on our website and in email alerts.

B. New TSS Visa – March 2018

According to the DIBP website, the new TSS visa programme will be comprised of two “streams”:

  1. A short-term stream with a visa validity of up to two years
  2. A medium-term stream of up to four years

The Australian Government has defined the objective of the new visa is to address genuine skill shortages and implement safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.

Key changes include:

  1. New condensed skilled occupation lists – a Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and Medium and Long Term Skilled Occupation List (MLTSOL)
  2. Minimum 2 years’ work experience (even with relevant qualifications)
  3. Labour market testing for all occupations
  4. Visa period of 2 years (for occupations on the STSOL) or 4 years (for occupations on the MLTSOL)
  5. Police clearances
  6. A new training fund for sponsors

The 186 visa will also be tightened, including a reduction in the maximum age limit from 50 years to 45 years and increase the eligibility period under the 'temporary residence transition stream' from 2 to 3 years.

Subclass 457 visas granted on or after 19 April 2017 will be granted for 4 years for occupations on the MLTSOL and 2 years for occupations on the STSOL. Sponsors should continue to use the 457 visa programme but be aware of the new skilled lists and visa validity arrangements in place during the transition to the TSS visa programme.

We will continue to monitor developments, and over the coming days share further updates on the implications of these changes.

Next steps

Your assignees currently on a 457 visa will need to undergo arrangements to allow them to remain in Australia under the conditions of their current visas.  New applications after the lodgement dates will be subject to the new process.

It is important to review your cases and to discuss these to identify the required actions.

If you have any relocations to Australia, please contact your local K2 account manager or office.

K2 Corporate Mobility
Suite 402,
89 York Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

Tel: +61 2 8065 4413
Email: au@k2corporatemobility.com
Web: k2corporatemobility.com