Subclass 457 visas to be replaced

The Prime Minister of Australia has announced that the Government is abolishing 457 visas to be replaced with a new temporary visa with additional requirements, including previous work experience, better English language skills and labour market testing. A new training fund will also be established.

It has been indicated that there will be a new temporary skills shortage visa with two streams – a short term stream for a two-year visa with no permanent residence outcome at the end of the visa period. There will also be a medium-term stream. This will target higher skills, will have a shorter skills occupation list and will be for a period of four years. This stream can be applied for either offshore or onshore.

The implementation of all reforms that have been summarised below will be completed by March 2018:

  • Any 457 sponsorship, nomination or visa applications that are not listed in the relevant Instrument IMMI 17/040 and note decided by 18 April 2017 will no longer be able to be approved. Refund of DIBP application fees may be available.
  • Any new 457 applications lodged from 19 April 2017 onwards will have to have their occupation on the STSOL or MLTSSL occupation lists.
  • If you are granted a 457 visa after 18 April 2017 off the STSOL list, it can only be granted for two years. There will be one further extension allowed after that for another two years. You will NOT be allowed to apply for a Permanent 186/187 visa under that occupation if it is on the STSOL.
  • If you are granted a 457 visa after 18 April 2017 off the MLTSSL list, it can be granted for four years. You will be able to apply for a Permanent 186/187 visa after 3 years on a 457 visa if that company decides to nominate you.
  • From March 2018 the new TSS visa will have replaced the Subclass 457 visa. You will need to have two years of work experience before applying, and your occupation will have to be on the STSOL or MLTSSL lists. If you are on the STSOL list you will also have to show you only want to stay in Australia temporarily.
  • From March 2018 you will need to have your occupation on the MLTSSL occupation list to apply for company/employer sponsored permanent residence. You will also need to commit to working for the company for three years, have an IELTS of 6 + and be under 45 years of age.

Consequences of these changes include:

  1. Occupations such as cook and restaurant manager are on the STSOL list. While you can still be sponsored for 2 years by a restaurant on the 457 visa and gain another 2 year extension, you can no longer apply for a permanent visa unless it is added to the MLTSSL list for you being in a designated regional area.
  2. Retail Manager is still available in regional areas for the 187 visa at the moment. But from March 2018 this will not be the case, as this occupation is not on the MLTSSL list.
  3. Most student graduates will not be eligible for temporary or permanent company sponsorship after March 2018 as you require at least 2 years of FULL-TIME WORK EXPERIENCE first.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration confirmed that existing 457 visa holders (as of 18 April 2017) will still be able to apply for a Permanent visa and will not be affected by these changes. (See News.com.au article)

Timeline of future 457 visa changes are:

From 19 April 2017 – 216 occupations removed and 59 others restricted, 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia, Occupational lists renamed, validity period for occupations on STSOL will be two years.

From 1 July 2017 – English salary exemption $96,400 to be removed, training benchmarks to be changed and mandatory police certificates required.

Before 31 December 2017 – collection of TFN for 457 visa holders for ATO data matching, publication of sanctioned sponsors.

From March 2018 – 457 visa abolished and replaced with TSS visa which will comprise the short term (2 years) and medium-term stream (4 years).

Please check our blog regularly for further 457 visa updates by our Principal Migration Agent over the coming days.