This GMS Flash Alert reports on significant changes to Australia’s immigration regime involving the 457 visa, a new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, and other matters.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on 18 April 2017, announced that the 457 Visa will be replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa from March next year.1
Significant changes to the current occupation list for 457 visas will progressively come into effect commencing from 19 April 2017. In addition, there will be changes to the eligibility requirements of the employer-sponsored permanent skilled visas.
The government is responding to a combination of politics and the need to address an evolving labor market. The new policies will result in a tightening up and some restrictions with respect to foreigners entering the country to work, which will create challenges for employers bringing foreign workers into Australia.
Immigration advisers and global mobility professionals charged with the immigration affairs of their international assignees need to be aware that the changes will see the removal of 216 occupations and access to 59 other occupations restricted, thus affecting applications under:
The maximum validity of the 457 visa issued from 19 April 2017 (i.e., two years or four years) will also be affected.
Employers that wish to bring foreign workers into Australia will need to consider if these workers will be able to meet the criteria of the new TSS visa. They should be also aware that government lodgment fees for the visas will be higher than the current 457 visa fees, which could impact their international assignment costs.
In addition to the introduction of the new visa from next year (further details below), it has also been announced that there will be significant changes to the current occupation list for 457 visas.
Effective 19 April 2017, the “Short term skilled Occupation List” (STSOL) will replace the current “Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List.” This will see the removal of 216 occupations and access to 59 other occupations restricted. This will affect applications under the subclass 457 and permanent employer-nominated subclass 186 visa categories. It also affects the training subclass 407 and skilled independent subclass 190 and 489 visas. The maximum validity of 457 visas issued (i.e., two years or four years) will be dependent on the occupation nominated.
“Grandfathering arrangements” will apply to current 457 visa holders and there will be no change to their visa status.
The implementation of these reforms will be phased in up to March 2018 with changes implemented 19 April 2017, 1 July 2017, before 31 December 2017, and from March 2018.
Key features of the new visa include the following:
Further, the new visa will have two streams:
Government lodgment fees for the visas will be higher than the current 457 visa fees.
In addition, there will be changes to the eligibility requirements of the employer-sponsored permanent skilled visas, including the following:
Concessions for regional areas will continue to be available.
Considerations and Next Steps for Employers
Noting there will be certain immediate impacts that will need to be considered, in the lead up to March next year, employers should be reviewing their current 457 visa population as well as their overall foreign recruitment plans.
Although “grandfathering arrangements” will be available to current 457 visa holders, employers should consider what action they can take now to mitigate the potential negative impact of these changes.
1 For an announcement on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website, click.
This article is excerpted, with permission, from “457 to be replaced – March 2018 (with certain changes effective from tomorrow)” in Migration Newsflash (18 April 2017), a publication of the KPMG International member firm in Australia.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Australia.
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