457 Visa News – Australia Abolishes 457 Visa Program
20th April, 2017
On 18 April 2017, the Australian Government announced changes to 457 visa program, that being existing 457 visa program will be abolished. Whilst specific legislative changes are yet to be released, the Government has confirmed the current sub-class 457 visa program will be replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
Under the TSS visa there will be higher eligibility thresholds, including work experience, English language requirements, and mandatory police clearances for all applicants. The TSS visa will be compromised of two streams: short-term and medium-term, with only the medium-term stream offering a pathway to permanent Australian residency.
In addition, 216 occupations have been removed from the approved occupation list and a further 59 occupations will have restrictions in place.
Existing 457 visas will not be affected by 457 visa changes. However, applicants who submitted a sub-class 457 visa application prior to 18 April 2017, which has not been approved and whose occupation was removed from the approved list, will now be ineligible.
Timeline for 457 Visa Changes
19 April 2017
- The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be renamed the new Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL)
- 216 occupations will be removed from the STSOL
- 24 occupations related to farming and agriculture will be restricted to regional Australia only
- The Skilled Occupations List (SOL) will be renamed the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and will cater for occupations that can be supported on a permanent residency visa
- Occupations on the MLTSSL will continue to be issued visas with a maximum duration of four years.
1 July 2017
- The list of occupations for whom mandatory skills assessments are required will be expanded
- The existing English language salary exemption threshold (which exempts applicants whose salary is over $96,400 from the English language requirements) will be removed
- Minor changes will be implemented to the training benchmarks for sub-class 457 visa sponsors
- Police certificates will be required from all countries in which a visa applicant has lived (as per existing policies for other visa sub-classes)
- The occupation list will undergo further review.
Before 31 December 2017
- The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to continue collection of Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders (and other employer sponsored migrants). This data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary
- The DIBP will commence the publication of details related to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulations 1994 and related legislation.
- The 457 visa will cease to exist, and will be replaced by the TSS visa
- The TSS via will include two streams:
- A short-term stream, valid for two years with the capacity for visa renewal onshore once only. This stream will not lead to permanent residency
- A medium-term stream, valid for four years, with the capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years.
- Government lodgement fees will increase considerably:
- $1,150 for the short-term visa
- $2,400 for the medium-term visa
- The threshold level of experience required by visa applicants will be increased. All applicants will be required to have at least two years’ experience in their skilled occupation.
- For non-regional Australia, the STSOL will apply
- For regional Australia, the STSOL will apply, with additional occupations available to support regional employers
- All applicants must achieve an overall score of 5 (and a minimum of 4.5 in each test component), in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test)
- All applicants must fulfil the genuine temporary entrant requirement.
Changes to Permanent Residency
Pathways to permanent residency under the sub-class 186 ENS and subclass 187 RSMS visa categories will also be significantly impacted. The following changes will occur:
- New applicants will be impacted by the changes to CSOL and will transition to the STSOL, effective from 19 April 2017
- English language proficiency requirements will be tightened as of 1 July 2017
- As of March 2018, applicants must have at least three years’ work experience before they are eligible for permanent residency
- The permanent residency eligibility period will increase from two years to three years
- From 1 July 2017, applicants under the Direct Entry Stream must be under 45 years of age at the time of application. Applicants under the Temporary Residence Transition stream will continue to have a maximum age requirement of 50 at time of application. All applicants must be under the age of 45 to apply for either the ENS or RSMS streams as of March 2018.
List of Occupations Abolished from 457 Visa Program
More than 200 occupations have been abolished from the approved occupation list, ranging from Defence Force roles and public relations managers, through to production managers and actors.
For more information, view the complete list of jobs removed from the 457 visa program.