Category: Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas

Global Talent Scheme

The Global Talent Scheme (GTS) is a 12-month pilot being trialed under the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa program.

Businesses that need to fill a small number of high-skill, niche roles that can’t be filled by Australians or through existing visa programs and who meet the criteria can enter into an individual GTS agreement with The Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

A summary of the key requirements and features of the GTS agreements are as follows:

  • There are two streams – Established business employers who are Accredited Sponsors and Startups operating in a tech-based or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field. Startups must be endorsed by the independent GTS startup advisory panel.
  • The earning threshold for applicants is higher than under the standard TSS stream (currently set at $145,400).
  • The employer can negotiate variations on the standard TSS visa requirements.
  • The Department of Home Affairs prioritises processing of GTS agreements.
  • Trusted employers can access highly-skilled roles – they are not restricted to occupation lists for the TSS visa short-term or medium– term streams.
  • The visa is valid for up to 4 years and allows access to a permanent residence pathway.
  • The employer can negotiate age requirements for the permanent residence pathway.

For employers that meet the GTS requirements this pilot may provide crucial flexibility where they need to bring specialised skills from overseas but the circumstances do not meet all of the stringent visa criteria for whatever reason.

Any position filled through a GTS agreement must provide opportunities for Australians by, for example:

  • creating new jobs for Australians
  • transferring skills and knowledge to Australian workers.

For advice regarding accessing the GTS, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

New Category Added to the Accredited Sponsor Scheme

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs has recently agreed to a new category of accredited sponsor (category 5), as explained below.

Background

The Accredited Sponsor Scheme provides streamlined processing arrangements for those sponsors who apply to become accredited. Accredited sponsors receive priority processing for Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) nominations and visa applications, with most applications processed in less than five days as well as priority processing for ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186) and RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme subclass 187) nomination and visas applications. The scheme has four categories of sponsors which are described below:

  • Category 1: Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies with Australian workers making up at least 75% of the workforce in Australia.
  • Category 2: Australian Trusted Trader with Australian workers making up at least 75% of the workforce in Australia.
  • Category 3: Low volume usage and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 85%).
  • Category 4: High volume usage and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%).

For each of these categories there are a number of conditions that a business must meet to be accredited, such as requirements relating to minimum annual turnover, business structure and employment arrangements.

New Category 5: Major investment in Australia

A new Category 5 has been added to the Accredited Sponsor Scheme. In order to be accredited in this category applicants must:

  • have made a major investment in Australia (of at least AUD50 Million) which has directly generated Australian employment. Options for measuring a “major investment” may include:
  • a lasting contribution to Australia, including: the value of the investment, the company’s pattern of investment, jobs created, export outcomes generated, tax contribution; or
  • innovative business practices or technologies, including: introducing new skills and capabilities, setting up research activities in Australia or collaborating with Australian research institutions; or
  • supporting exports and the expansion of Australian industry within global supply chains, particularly in high value-add areas.
  • not be a sole trader or a partnership.
  • have been a standard business sponsor for at least one year.
  • have nominations approved for at least one primary TSS/457 visa holder in the last year.
  • have had more than 97% of nomination applications approved in the last year.
  • have no adverse monitoring outcomes.
  • have paid all Australian employees in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates.
  • engage all TSS/457 visa holders as employees under a written contract that meets National Employment Standards where they apply.

For advice regarding becoming an accredited sponsor, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Labour Agreement Update

Labour agreements for aged care providers

A number of aged care providers care for older Australians from multicultural backgrounds. In these circumstances specialised services may be required, for example, to care for aged Australians with limited English language proficiency or cultural requirements.

Accordingly, aged care providers can request a company specific labour agreement to sponsor skilled overseas workers for a Temporary Skill Shortage(TSS) subclass 482 visa, or an Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa.

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs has recently agreed to allow aged care providers in multicultural communities to seek the following terms and/or concessions to be included in their labour agreement:

  • a pathway to the permanent residency ENS visa, provided nominees having been employed for at least three years on a TSS visa,
  • an age concession allowing ENS visa nominees to be up to 55 years old, and/or
  • a lower English language proficiency requirement equivalent to the short-term stream of the TSS visa (ie International English Language Testing System (IELTS) component scores of at least 4.5 and an overall IELTS score of at least 5.0).

Labour agreements will only be considered where it is demonstrated that Australians cannot fill skill shortages and standard work visa programs cannot be used.

Changes to Minister of Religion Labour Agreements

The Minister of Religion Labour Agreement (MORLA) settings have recently changed.

  • Religious institutions can now seek a MORLA to sponsor overseas workers under the additional occupation of ‘Religious Assistant’.
  • Thresholds for sponsoring the occupation of ‘Minister of Religion’ have been made more flexible. Previously, the nominee was required to work in the most senior position in a specified location. Under new arrangements, the nominee can work in any senior position.

Sponsors will still need to demonstrate they meet all requirements of the program and have made reasonable efforts to fill positions with Australians.

 

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Update – Skilling Australian Fund Levy Passed by Senate

The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 (Bill) has now been passed by the Senate. An outline of the key requirements for skilled visa sponsors is explained below.

Contributions to the Fund

The Bill replaces the Training Benchmark A or B requirement (whereby sponsors have to pay 1% or 2% of payroll expenditure towards training) with mandatory contributions to the Skilling Australians Fund. Once the new requirements commence, businesses looking to sponsor employees for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (Subclass 482) visa will have to make a contribution of $1,200 (businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million) or $1,800 (all other business) in respect of each year they sponsor a worker on a TSS visa.

Businesses sponsoring employees for an Australian permanent residence visa will need to make a $3,000 (business with a turnover under $10 million) or $5,000 (business with a turnover over $10 million) one-off contribution.

Changes to Labour Market Testing Requirements

Senator Cameron’s amendments to the Bill regarding labour market testing (LMT) were agreed to in the Senate, namely:

  • LMT be conducted within 4 months before the nomination is received;
  • Advertising must be for at least 4 weeks and must be targeted so that it can reach a significant proportion of suitably qualified and experienced Australians; and
  • The skills and experience appropriate to the position to be included in the advertisement.

 The Bill will commence subject to Royal Assent and regulatory publication. Businesses considering nominating a skilled worker from overseas should ensure they stay informed about the progress of this Bill and comply with new requirements as they come into force.

For advice regarding skilled visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

New Temporary Skills Shortage Visa – Labour market Testing Update

One of the key policy changes implemented along with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) (TSS) visa is a new, stricter Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement. In this article, we set out the key requirements and the now very limited exemptions to LMT.

Exemptions

Previous exemptions based on occupation or skill level no longer apply. The only exemption available is where LMT would conflict with Australia’s international trade obligations as set out below:

  • The nominee is a citizen/national of China, Japan or Thailand, or is a citizen/national/permanent resident of Chile, South Korea, New Zealand or Singapore;
  • The nominee is a current employee of a business that is an associated entity that is located in an Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) country (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Chile, China,​ Japan, South Korea or New Zealand;
  • The nominee is a current employee of an associated entity who operates in a country that is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where the nominated occupation is an Executive or Senior Manager occupations for the purposes of international trade obligations and the nominee will be responsible for the entire or a substantial part of the company’s operations in Australia;
  • The Sponsor’s business operates in a WTO member country or territory and is seeking to establish a business in Australia, where the nominated occupation is an Executive or Senior Manager occupations for the purposes of international trade obligations; or
  • The nominee is a citizen of a WTO member country or territory and has worked for the Sponsor in the nominated position in Australia on a full-time basis for the last two years.

Period in which LMT Must Occur

LMT must occur during a specific timeframe:

  • For nominations lodged before 18 June 2018 – during the 12 month period prior to lodging the nomination; and
  • For nominations lodged after 18 June 2018 – within the 6 month period prior to lodging the nomination.

However, if the sponsor or an associated entity has made any Australian worker redundant or retrenched them from positions in the nominated occupation within four months of lodging a nomination occupation, they must perform LMT since the date the redundancy/retrenchment occurred. Further information about these events will also need to be supplied to the Department of Home Affairs (Department).

Substantive requirements – no suitably qualified/experienced Australian

There are substantive requirements in terms of the how and what of LMT. Essentially, the Department must be satisfied that a suitably qualified/experienced Australian worker was not available to fill the position.

The Department has advised that it would generally be satisfied of this if the LMT meets all of the following:

  • the nominated position has been advertised in Australia;
  • the advertisement was in Englishand included the following information:
    • the title, or a description, of the position;
    • the name of the sponsor or the name of the recruitment agency being used by the sponsor; and
    • the annual earnings for the position (unless the annual earnings will be greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold)
  • at least two advertisements were published:
    • on a national recruitment website (for example gov.au). A general classifieds website is not an acceptable method;
    • in national print media;
    • on national radio; or
    • if the sponsor is accredited– on the businesses’ website.

With the LMT provisions now applying to all occupations at all skills levels (unless an international trade obligation applies), businesses who rely on overseas skills must ensure that their HR departments are aware of these requirements and have a recruitment policy in place which reflects the new requirements.

For advice regarding skilled visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Sponsorship Accreditation under the TSS Visa Program

Certain sponsors will be eligible to apply for “accredited status.” Accredited sponsors receive priority processing for all TSS nominations and visa applications – usually these applications are processed in less than five days.

Also, applicants who are sponsored by an accredited sponsor are not required to obtain police certificates from countries other than Australia if they provide a written reference from their accredited sponsor confirming that they are of good character and have not been convicted of any criminal offences.

Set out below are the categories of sponsors who are eligible for accreditation.

Criteria for becoming an Accredited Sponsor

  • Category 1 Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies:
    • Must have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia.
  • Category 2 “Australian Trusted Traders” must:
    • Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia;
    • Engage all TSS/457 visa holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (NES) (if applicable); and
    • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business.
  • Category 3 Low volume usage and high percentage of Australian workers must:
    • Have Australian workers comprise at least 85% of their workforce in Australia;
    • Are not a sole trader or a partnership (some exceptions apply);
    • Have an annual turnover of at least AUD4M for the last two years (some exceptions apply);
    • Have been a standard business sponsor for at least one year (some exceptions apply);
    • Have nominations approved for at least one primary TSS or subclass 457 visa holder in the last year (some exceptions apply);
    • Have a nomination non-approval rate of less than 3% for the last year;
    • Have no adverse monitoring outcomes;
    • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates; and
    • Engage all TSS /457 visa holders as employees under a written contract that meets NES (if applicable).
  • Category 4 High volume usage and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%) must:
    • Have Australian workers comprise at least 75% of their workforce in Australia;
    • Are not a sole trader or a partnership (some exceptions apply);
    • Have an annual turnover of at least AUD4M for the last two years;
    • Have been a standard business sponsor for at least two years;
    • Have nominations approved for at least 10 TSS 457 visa holders in the last two years;
    • Have a nomination non-approval rate of less than 3% for the last two years;
    • Have no adverse monitoring outcomes;
    • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates; and
    • Engage all TSS and/or subclass 457 visa holders as employees under a written contract that meets NES (if applicable).

 More information about becoming an Australian Trusted Trader can be found here.

How to apply

Businesses can apply for accredited status when they apply to become a standard business sponsor or when renewing an existing sponsorship.

If the business does not meet the requirements for accredited status, the application for standard business sponsorship will still proceed and be assessed in the usual way.

For advice regarding becoming an accredited sponsor, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

 

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Key Requirements of the new TSS visa

This month marks a substantial change for Australian temporary skilled work visas as the well-known and much used subclass 457 visa has now been replaced by the new Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. With the TSS visa, the Australian Government has sought to split the skilled visa program into two very distinct pathways– one pathway being based on what the Government sees as “short term” skills, the other, based on medium term to long term skills which retains a pathway to permanent residency for the visa holder and more closely resembles the old 457 visa.

Essentially, the Australian Government has now made created a new type of skilled worker in Australia – someone with required skills who can stay and work for up to two years (with the potential to renew for a further two years), but whose skills are not considered critical enough by the Government to justify eligibility for permanent migration. For businesses who are unable to secure local labour for positions which fall into this new “short term” category, it remains to be seen whether they will experience difficulties filling those skill gaps now that the short term visa does not carry the promise of permanent residency in Australia.

The new regulations came into effect on 18 March 2018 and contain numerous details – this article focuses on the main requirements of the TSS visa as well as significant changes from the previous skilled temporary work visa program.

Visa Stream

Visa applicants will still need to be nominated by a sponsoring employer. The TSS visa has three streams:

Short term: Sponsors must nominate an occupation from the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL). Visa holders in this stream can only be employed for two years and can be renewed onshore only once (or up to four years if this would be inconsistent with an international trade obligation). After this, the applicant must be offshore to apply for another short term TSS visa. Additionally, visa applicants must satisfy a genuine temporary entrant (GTE) criteria, which will involve an assessment of circumstances, immigration history, previous compliance with visa conditions and any other relevant matter.

Medium term: Sponsors must nominate an occupation from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). In this stream, a higher level of English proficiency is now required (unless an exception applies), such as a 5.0 in each test component of the IELTS.

Labour agreement: Employers can nominate an overseas worker pursuant to a labour agreement with the Commonwealth, where there is a need that cannot be met locally and the visa programs are not available.

KEY DIFFERENCE: The Medium Term Stream is similar to the old 457 visa, however, visa holders must now be employed for three years, not two, before being eligible to apply for permanent residency and must meet more stringent English language criteria. The Short Term stream is markedly different to the 457 visa, being just a two year visa with no permanent residence pathway. Visa applicants for this stream also have the added hurdle of establishing the GTE criteria, which may be increasingly difficult to establish if the applicant is re-applying for a further TSS short term visa.

Labour Market Testing

Labour Market Testing (LMT) is mandatory unless international trade obligations apply. Nomination applications lodged on or after 18 March 2018 LMT must have occurred in the 12 month period immediately before the nomination is lodged. For nomination applications lodged on or after 18 June 2018, LMT must have occurred during the 6 months immediately before the nomination is lodged.

KEY DIFFERENCE: Previously, there were numerous exemptions to the LMT requirement, including professional and managerial level occupations.

Work Experience

TSS visa applicants are required to have worked in the nominated occupation, or a related field, for at least two years. Policy guidance is yet to be released however it is expected that this requirement will be applied with some flexibly, for example, employment gained as part of the research components of a Masters and/or PhD may be considered as work experience for relevant occupations, such as medical and research occupations.

KEY DIFFERENCE: Previously, professional and managerial positions generally required a bachelor degree or higher OR 5 years relevant work experience.

Annual Market Salary Rate

The previous market salary rate requirements have been reformulated around the concept of annual market salary rate (AMSR). It means that an employer who is sponsoring a worker must pay that person at least the same as an Australian citizen or permanent resident earns, or would earn, for performing equivalent work on a full-time basis in the same workplace in the same location. The AMSR must equal or exceed the temporary skilled migration income threshold (TSMIT) which remains at $53,900.

KEY DIFFERENCE: This provision is intended to achieve the same outcome as the previous “market salary rate” which applied to the 457 visa, with an extended definition of AMSR now having been provided.

Training Requirements

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) previously flagged that Training Benchmark A and Training Benchmark B would be replaced by mandatory contributions by Sponsors to a “Skilling Australians Fund”. However, this change has not been implemented and Training Benchmark A and Training Benchmark B still apply. The Government has introduced a new legislative instrument which defines the term “employee” by reference to the Fair Work Act 2009.

KEY DIFFERENCE: No significant changes from the previous requirements as yet.

Condition 8607

Condition 8607 includes the same provisions as condition 8107 (the visa holder can only work for the nominating employer), and adds a provision that requires the visa holder to work only in the occupation in relation to which the Subclass 482 visa was granted.

KEY DIFFERENCE: a TSS visa holder must obtain a new nomination to change occupations.

The New Landscape of Temporary Employer Sponsored Visas

In this time of significant legislative and policy change to temporary employer sponsored visas, it is important for employers and visa applicants to obtain professional and up to date advice regarding TSS sponsorship, nomination and visa applications and determine the most appropriate Australian immigration strategy for each individual case.

The visa processing environment is also changing rapidly and obtaining the correct advice on visa selection is crucial to the successful outcome of a visa application.

For advice regarding Australian work visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Update – New Temporary Skills Shortage Visa

This month the subclass 457 visa is scheduled to be replaced by the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. Accordingly, it is an opportune time to provide an update on what the TSS visa will look like – both or for businesses and overseas workers.

Nominating an Occupation

The Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) have already been introduced. In terms of how these lists will apply to the TSS Visa, the STSOL will allow the visa holder to work for up to two years only, whereas the occupations on the MLTSSL will allow the visa holder to work for up to four years with an option to apply for permanent residency after three years.

Work Experience

TSS visa applicants will be required to have worked in the nominated occupation, or a related field, for at least two years. However, it is expected that the “work experience” requirement will be considered flexibly and in line with industry practice. For example, the research components of a Masters and/or PhD may be able to be counted as work experience for relevant occupations, such as medical and research occupations

Labour Market Testing

Labour Market Testing (LMT) will mandatory unless international trade obligations apply. There will be specific requirements around where advertising must occur, how long the position must be advertised for and that the advertisement must be in English. However, the Government has indicated that there will be some flexibility in relation to nominations for an existing visa holder and for talent-based position (e.g. sports-people, top-talent chefs, eminent academics and researchers).

Training

Sponsors will no longer need to meet Training Benchmark A or Training Benchmark B. Instead, employers will be required to pay a set contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund.

Renewing a TSS Visa

Applicants for a TSS visa can either be inside or outside Australia. However if the application is for a short-term stream visa (ie the occupation is on the STSOL), the primary visa applicant must be offshore if all of the below apply:

  • they have held more than one ST stream TSS visa;
  • they were in Australia when the application for their most recent TSS visa was made; and
  • this requirement would not be inconsistent with any international trade obligation.

Holders of two ST stream TSS visas in a row (where the second application was made in Australia) can apply for a further visa TSS ST stream visa offshore. However, in this situation the Department of Home Affairs has indicated that their immigration history may be relevant in terms of whether they are considered to have met the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement for this visa stream.

Transitional arrangements

In our previous article we explained how pipeline applications would be processed once the TSS visa is implemented. Set out below is an explanation of how existing sponsors and visa holders will be affected after the changeover.

Scenario What happens after TSS comes into effect
Employer who is an existing 457 sponsor ·         The employer can nominate overseas workers under the new TSS visa program, including existing subclass 457 visa holders for whom a new TSS nomination is required to facilitate a change of employer or occupation

·         Australian businesses can lodge a new renewal form prior to the expiry of their sponsorship

Holder of a subclass 457 visa nomination ·         They must lodge a new TSS nomination before they lodge their TSS visa application

·         They can request the nomination be withdrawn and the fee refunded, if they were not able to lodge a related subclass 457 visa application before the implementation of the TSS visa

Holder of a subclass 457 visa ·         Must ask a new employer to lodge a TSS nomination application if they want to change employer

·         Must ask their current employer to lodge a TSS nomination application to change occupation

·         Must lodge a TSS subsequent entry visa application for members of the family unit

·         Must lodge a new TSS visa application prior to the expiry of their subclass 457 visa

·         the minimum period the visa holder is required to have been employed in their nominated occupation as the holder of a subclass 457 or TSS visa to apply for permanent residence under the TRT stream will remain at two years.

NB: Time spent on a 457 visa does not count for the purpose of onshore renewal of a TSS visa (see above).

 

Given the changes announced last year are now imminent, business and visa holders alike should familiarise themselves with the new temporary skilled visa program and understand what the new requirements will look like.

For advice regarding skilled visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Transitioning from the subclass 457 visa to the new TSS visa

From March 2018, the subclass 457 visa will be replaced by the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. Whilst there are going to be big adjustments for businesses and visa holders from a practical and commercial perspective, the Department of Home Affairs (Department) has also released information about how the transition will occur from a regulatory perspective, as explained below.

Existing sponsors

Employers who are already approved standard business sponsors under the subclass 457 program will still be able to sponsor overseas workers under the TSS visa program.

The following transitional arrangements are expected to be in place for nomination and visa applications (subject to final approval):

  • if subclass 457 nomination and visa applications are both lodged before the TSS is implemented they will be processed under the current (ie subclass 457) framework.
  • if a subclass 457 nomination application is lodged without a 457 visa application being lodged before the new TSS visa commences, the nomination application will effectively become ‘redundant’. The Department has advised that subclass 457 nominations will not be able to be linked to TSS visa applications, even where the nomination has already been approved.

The Department has also flagged that there will be arrangements made so that ‘redundant applications’ can be finalised and/or withdrawn with a refund of the fee provided. In light of the administrative complications associated with the transition to the TSS visa, the Department is encouraging applicants to:

  • lodge subclass 457 nomination and visa applications together before the end of February, or
  • postpone lodgement until commencement of the TSS visa.

Other arrangements in relation to secondary applicants and changing employer or occupation under the new TSS system are as follows:

  • Secondary visa applicants (of 457 visa holders or pending 457 visa applicants) will be able to lodge a subsequent dependent TSS application and (provided they meet requirements) will be granted a TSS visa linked to their family’s subclass 457 visa/nomination application. The period of the TSS visa will match the expiry date of the subclass 457 primary visa holder.
  • After the implementation of the TSS, subclass 457 visa holders whose visa is still valid but wish to change employer can get their new employer to lodge a TSS nomination application. However subclass 457 visa holders who wish to change occupation or need a new visa (eg because their visa is expiring) will need to lodge a new TSS visa application in connection with the new TSS nomination.

Given the changes announced last year are now well and truly on the horizon, it is important that where possible, businesses plan well ahead at this time to avoid having to lodge applications at the last minute and potentially being left with a ‘redundant’ application.

For advice regarding skilled visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Looking forward – Changes to Skilled Visas in 2018

On 18 April 2017 the Government announced major changes to the temporary and permanent skilled visa framework. Whilst many of these changes were implemented last year, there are still a number of reforms slated for March 2018. In this article, we give an overview of the key changes which are on the horizon for skilled visas.

Changes to the Temporary Skilled Visa Program

From March 2018, the subclass 457 visa, which has been used by Australian businesses since 1996 to bring skilled workers from overseas, will be abolished. In its place, the Government will establish the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. The key difference will be that the TSS visa will consists of two streams, theses streams will have different durations and carry different entitlements:

Short Term Stream (STS) Medium Term Stream (MTS)
Duration Two years Four years
Renewal Visa renewal onshore, once only Visa renewal onshore
Occupations Occupations on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) Occupations on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
English language 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. A requirement of a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component.
Permanent residency options No pathway to permanent residency Permanent residency pathway after three years
Other A genuine temporary entrant requirement will apply Additional occupations will be available for regional employers

 

The following changes will also take place to the temporary visa program:

Work experience: At least two years relevant work experience will be required

LMT exemptions LMT will become mandatory for all occupations, unless international trade obligations apply. Employers will therefore need to ensure they conduct LMT within the required timeframes, irrespective of the skill level of the occupation they are seeking to fill, unless the international trade obligation exemption applies.

Training: Employers will be required to contribute to a “Skilling Australians Fund”. The contribution must be paid at the time the worker is nominated and will be $1200 per year or part year for small businesses (those with annual turnover of less than $10 million) and $1800 per year or part year for other businesses.

Character: Mandatory penal clearance certificates are to be provided

Key Changes to the Permanent Skilled Visa Program

The following changes will take place to the permanent employer sponsored skilled visa programs:

Occupation lists: the new MLTSSL will apply to the Direct Entry stream for both the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme subclass 187 visa (RSMS), with certain additional occupations available through the RSMS for regional employers.

Eligibility for Residency: The period required to transition to permanent residence will be extended from two to three years.

Training requirement: Employers will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund at the time the worker is nominated. The required contribution will be $3,000 for small businesses (those with annual turnover of less than $10 million) and $5,000 for other businesses.

Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.

Work experience: At least three years’ work experience relevant to the occupation will be required.

Age: All applicants will need to be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.

We note that for people who held, or had applied for, a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 will still be able to access certain existing requirements under the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

For advice regarding skilled visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.