+61 2 8005 3420 admin@jobcapital.com.au

457 Visa Changes – 21 Answers To Those Burning Questions – Part 2

Earlier in the week we posted a summary of guidance from our senior legal migration counsel, as a result of their recent collaboration with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection DIBP). Happily, this has enabled the answering of topical questions that many Registered Migration Agents (RMA’s), their clients and candidates have been asking.

Thank you to everyone for your emails and support from our posting of the “1st 21” earlier in the week.

Really happy you have all found it so useful and so we are pleased to bring you the final part to this two part series. We will continue to pursue clarity for all of us in the industry interested and concerned about managing the impacts of  these recent 457 visa changes.

Enjoy, we hope it helps and pick up the phone or contact via the website to start the conversation with us on unpacking how to problem solve on this topic for you and your business.

Disclaimer: Information correct 8 May 2017.  Excerpt parts from 457 Agent News May 2017 General Advice Only

Q1. Where can I find a list of removed occupations?

A. This is attached on our website under our News Tab and called 457 Changes – List of Removed Occupations for your convenience.

Q2. Is the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme impacted by the 19 April 2017 changes?

A. No – this is because you can nominate any occupation that is ANZSCO skill level 1 to 3 for this programme (i.e. you are not restricted to the MLTSSL and the STSOL at this stage).

A. The above changes do not impact on hand (‘pipeline’) applications for other skilled permanent visa programmes.

Note: The removal of occupations from the list will, however, impact clients who lodge an application for one of the following on or after 19 April 2017:

  1. Employer Nominated Scheme (subclass 186) – Direct Entry Stream
  2. Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  3. Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)

That is, any applications already lodged before 19 April 2017 for the above visa sub-classes (other than a 457 visa) will not be impacted (even if the occupation was removed for these visas on 19 April 2017).

Q3. Do the caveats impact permanent visa applications?

A. No – the new caveats only impact subclass 457 applications. Caveats existing prior to 19 April 2017 that impacted other visas remain unchanged.

Q4. Can you still apply for ENS if your occupation is on the STSOL but not the MTSSL?

A. Yes – currently, if your occupation is on the STSOL or an eligible occupation on the MLTSSL you can apply for the ENS Direct Entry stream.

Note: Current holders of subclass 457 visas continue to be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the ENS visa. Access to the TRT stream is not based on the occupation lists and is therefore unaffected by these changes.

Q5. Do the above changes impact on hand (‘pipeline’) applications for other temporary visa programmes that utilise the MLTSSL and/or the STSOL?

A. The above changes do not impact on hand (‘pipeline’) applications for other temporary visa programmes that utilise the MLTSSL and/or the STSOL.

Note: The removal of occupations from the list will, however, impact clients who lodge an application on or after 19 April 2017 for the Training visa (subclass 407).

Proposed 1 July 2017 changes

Q6. What reforms are being implemented on 1 July 2017?

A. Key reforms that will be implemented from July 2017 for subclass 457 visas include:

  1. expanding mandatory skills assessments;
  2. introducing mandatory penal clearance checks consistent with other visas;
  3. tightening existing training benchmarks; and
  4. removing English language exemptions based on a skilled migrant’s salary (e.g. if their salary is higher than $96,400).

Q7. Will there be further changes to the occupation lists for 1 July 2017?

A. Yes – it is expected that the occupation lists will be regularly updated, based on a range of factors including advice from the Department of Employment and the Department of Education and Training.

Q8. Why are mandatory skills assessment requirements being expanded?

A. The skills assessment requirements are being considered for expansion to cover a small number of new cohorts of concern. For example, where combinations of occupation and nationality have been identified as an integrity risk.

Q9. What nationalities/occupations will be impacted?

A. A final decision has not been made in this space. Information will be released prior to 1 July 2017.

Q10. What changes are being made to character requirements and why?

A. As of 1 July 2017, all subclass 457 applicants aged 17 years or older will be required to provide penal clearance certificates for countries in which they have lived for a significant period.

Note: This measure will strengthen current character and integrity measures and will bring subclass 457 visas into line with other longer stay temporary visa products.

Q11. What changes are being made to the training benchmarks?

A. Policy settings for training benchmark requirements are being clarified and tightened, by setting out:

  1. the types of training funds eligible for training benchmark A; and
  2. setting out the types of expenditure on training that are acceptable for training benchmark B.

Q12. What reforms will be implemented on 1 July 2017 for ENS and RSMS?

A. On 1 July 2017, the additional changes below will be implemented for ENS and RSMS:

  1. raising English language requirements to “competent” for all applicants (IELTS 6) – with TRT and Direct Entry requirements to be consistent;
  2. upper age limit of 45 for Direct Entry applicants;
  3. further changes to the occupations lists and their application to relevant visas.

Proposed March 2018 changes

Q13. What is the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa?

A. The new TSS visa will replace the 457 visa. It will have two distinct streams: a Short-term stream of up to two years and a Medium-term stream of up to four years.

Q14. How much will the TSS visa cost?

A. There will be different Visa Application Charges (VAC) for the TSS visa. The base VAC for:

  1. the Short-term stream is $1150; and
  2. the Medium-term stream is $2400.

Q15. What are the changes to the English language requirements?

A. The English requirements for the Short-term stream of the new TSS visa will be the same as the current 457 visa, with a minimum IELTS result (or equivalent) of 4.5 in each test component required, and an overall score of 5.

Note: There will be a higher standard required for the Medium-term stream with a score of 5 required in each test component.

Q15. Will holders of the TSS visa have a pathway to become Australian permanent residents?

  1. A. Yes – under the Medium-term stream only.

Q16. Will the Temporary Income Skilled Migration Threshold (TSMIT) be indexed?

A. No – in considering options for the abolition of the subclass 457 visa and its replacement with a new TSS visa, the Government decided not to index the TSMIT at this time.

Q17. What will change in terms of labour market testing?

A. Labour market testing will be a mandatory requirement for the TSS visa, unless international trade obligations apply.

Q17. How will the TSS visa require employers to assist with training Australian workers?

A. The TSS visa will require employers nominating skilled overseas workers to contribute to training Australian workers. Details of the revised training requirement will be provided in the future.

 Q18. What reforms will be implemented for ENS and RSMS in March 2018?

A. From March 2018, new eligibility criteria for ENS and RSMS will include:

  1. an upper age limit of 45 (from 50) for most applicants;
  2. occupation must be on the MLTSSL (unless an additional occupation approved for regional areas);
  3. a minimum market rate salary: all visa holders must earn at least a minimum salary of $53,900 – that is the TSMIT;
  4. at least three years’ relevant work experience; and
  5. a pathway to permanent residence through TRT requires 3 years on Medium-term TSS visa.

 Labour agreements

Q19. Do these changes have any impact on labour agreements?

A. No – the subclass 457 visa abolition and replacement changes have no immediate impact on the labour agreement programme with:

  1. existing labour agreements remaining in effect;
  2. existing visa holders not impacted unless they apply for another visa impacted by the changes outside of the labour agreement programme; or
  3. new nominations that labour agreement sponsors intend to lodge and related visa applications are not impacted – including applications for occupations which are specified in the relevant labour agreement, but have were ‘removed’ from the standard programme on 19 April 2017.

Note: The Department will amend all existing labour agreements at some time prior to March 2018 to reflect the abolition of the subclass 457 visa – with no further applications for subclass 457s accepted after the introduction of the TSS visa in March 2018.

 Q20. Will the Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) remain in place?

A. The DAMA with the Northern Territory will remain in place.

Q21. Has anything else changed in the labour agreement programme?

A. The Department continues to review labour agreement arrangements to ensure that:

  1. they reflect current economic and employment conditions
  2. the local labour market is not undercut
  3. Australian workers are given priority.

Note: The Department will be updating its labour agreement information pack to reflect this shortly. Further changes will also be made to the labour agreement request proforma to ensure that the Department obtains more comprehensive information ‘upfront’ to help streamline the request process.

So that rounds our our 457 Visa Changes – 42 Burning Questions. 

457 Visa Changes – Understanding Impacts & Options

Free Q&A Panel – Leading Industry Experts – 25th March – Sydney CBD

If you haven’t already, please feel free to register for our free breakfast event on the 25th of March here in the Sydney CBD where we will be guided by industry experts on understanding and problem solving around the recent changes.