Australian Government’s Abolition of the 457 Temporary Work Visa

immigration AustraliaThe Australian Government announced on 18th April 2017 that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the brand new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa . The abolition of the visa is part of the Government’s efforts to tackle the unemployment rate of Australians.

The new visa programme will comprise of a short-term stream of up to 2 years and a medium-term stream of up to 4 years. The implementation of the following key reforms will begin immediately and is targeted to complete in March 2018. 

KEY REFORMS:

  • Replacement of the 457 visa with TSS visa. New requirements include but not limited to the following:
    • Occupation lists to be more targeted which better align with skill needs in the Australian labour market
    • Visa applicants are required to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
    • Minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers
    • Compulsory 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
    • Permanent residence eligibility period to be extended from 2 years to 3 years.
    • A non-discriminatory workforce test will be conducted to ensure that 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
    • Obligatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
  • Tightening eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas, including but not limited to:
    • A more tightened English language requirement.
    • Visa applicants required 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 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.

For further information on the reforms, please see the following links:

Media release

Fact sheets that provide more detail about the reforms:

Detailed information on changes to occupations:

Source: Australian Government – Department of Immigration and Border Protection