Today the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the 457 Visa will be abolished. The announcement has immediately created panic among businesses hiring overseas employees and future visa applicants...
BUT DON'T PANIC! The 457 Visa will be REPLACED with the NEW Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa in March 2018.
The TSS visa will have similar requirements to the 457 Visa, and certain eligibility requirements for both employers and visa applicants will be tightened. So in practice, there will still be a way for businesses to hire overseas employees provided the new requirements are met.
In detail, the TSS Visa programme will have 2 streams:
- Short-Term stream of up to two years; and
- Medium-Term stream of up to four years
Key reforms include:
- Introducing the temporary skill shortage visa with new requirements, including but not limited to:
- new, more targeted occupation lists which better align with skill needs in the Australian labour market,
- a requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation,
- a minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers,
- mandatory labour market testing, unless an international obligation applies,
- capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-Term stream,
- capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after 3 years under the Medium-Term stream,
- the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from 2 to 3 years,
- a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers,
- strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers,
- the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records; and,
- mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
- Tightening eligibility requirements for employer sponsored PERMANENT VISAS, including but not limited to:
- tightened English language requirements,
- a requirement for visa applicants to have at least 3 years’ work experience,
- applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application,
- strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers; and,
- employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.
- Concessions for regional Australia will continue to be available:
- Employers in regional Australia will continue to have access to occupations under the temporary and permanent visas, to reflect their skills needs.
- Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Consideration will be given to expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are exempt from the age requirement.
- Significantly condensing the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, including the subclass 457 visa, from 19 April 2017.
The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.*