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Changes to the 457 visa – Government reforms to employer sponsored skilled migration visas

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) has been abolished and replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa programme will be comprised of a:

  • Short-Term stream of up to two years
  • 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 three years under the Medium-Term stream
    • the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three 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 skilled visas, including but not limited to:
    • tightened English language requirements
    • a requirement for visa applicants to have at least three 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 Threshold1.
  • 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 began immediately and will be completed in March 2018.

New pathway to Permanent Residence for NZ Passport holders

New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders who arrived after 26 February 2001, who have lived in Australia for the last five years and shown a commitment and contribution to Australia.

This additional visa pathway will be available from 1 July 2017, for New Zealand citizens who arrived post 26 February 2001, but on or before, the date of the announcement, 19 February 2016.

How this p​​​athway will work

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will have responsibility for implementing the pathway.

The pathway will be made available within the Skilled Independent category of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream of Australia's annual Migration Programme.    This pathway will allow SCV holders who have been living in Australia for the past five years, and have earned income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) as evidenced by their Australian Taxation Office Notice of Assessment throughout their qualifying residence period, to apply for permanent residency and thereafter citizenship.​

The pathway ​​requirements

Requirements for this visa pathway will include mandatory residence, contribution and community protection criteria.  This includes:

  • have been resident in Australia for the five years immediately prior to visa application

  • contributed to Australia, demonstrated through income tax returns (Notice of Assessment) for the period of residence evidencing taxable income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) 

  • mandatory health, character, and security checks.

 DIBP 19 Feb, 2016. 

Disclaimer:
Australian Immigration Law and Policy is complex and constantly changing.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure information on this site is current and accurate this cannot be guaranteed.
The information provided is general only and we take no responsibility for any adverse consequence which may arise from
any action taken on the basis of information provided in this site regardless as to any errors or omissions.
We recommend you consult our registered migration agent before proceeding with any visa application.

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