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The Australian 457 Visa Reform

To kick off the Government’s planned abolishment (and replacement) of the 457 visa by March 2018, there are now two new occupation which lists apply and prescribe the occupations that are now eligible to be nominated for the purposes of various skilled visas (including 457 visas).

Please refer to our previous alert for further background information including:

  • What do these changes mean if your application has been lodged but not yet decided; and
  • What do these changes mean if you are already on an affected visa.

Our previous alert can be accessed here: 457 and Skilled Visa News

 

Is my visa application affected?

In effect, there are two new lists for practical purposes:

  • Medium and Long-term Strategic skills List (MLTSSL);
  • Combined list including the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

Please refer to the following summary table for visa subclass specific information concerning:

  • affected visa subclasses;
  • the corresponding occupations which have been removed from the relevant occupation list for that subclass; and
  • the new list which applies to the relevant visa subclass.

Please also note it is likely that the lists will be further amended in the coming months. We recommend seeking advice if you are amongst the affected visa subclasses.

 

Australian Visa Subclasses and Relevant Changes

Visa

Relevant Changes

189

Skilled – Independent Visa

There are in effect practically no changes for the purposes of this visa subclass other than a change in the name of the relevant list.

The changes apply to invitations issued after 19 April 2017.  

489

Skilled – Regional (Provisional) Visa - with family sponsorship – no State or Territory nomination

There are in effect practically no changes for the purposes of this visa subclass other than a change in the name of the relevant list.

The changes apply to invitations issued after 19 April 2017 if the applicant is not nominated by a State or Territory government agency.

485

Temporary Graduate Visa

There are in effect practically no changes for the purposes of this visa subclass other than a change in the name of the relevant list.

The changes apply to applications made on or after 19 April 2017.

190

Skilled – Nominated Visa

Numerous occupations have been affected by the changes. Relevantly:

1.       Various occupations have been removed entirely from the list for all of these visa subclasses and are no longer available.

2.       Certain occupations are no longer available under subclass 190 and are now only available under 189, 485, 489 visas.

3.       Certain specific occupations are now only available in relation to certain visa subclasses.

The changes apply in relation to a person who is nominated by a State or Territory government agency, or the spouse or de facto partner of a person who is nominated by a State or Territory government agency, and who is issued an invitation on or after 19 April 2017.

489

Skilled – Regional (Provisional) Visa with State/Territory nomination

Numerous occupations have been affected by the changes. Relevantly:

1.       Various occupations have been removed entirely from the list for all of these visa subclasses and are no longer available.

2.       Certain occupations are no longer available and are now only available under 189, 485, 489 (no state/territory nomination) visas.

3.       Certain specific occupations are now only available in relation to certain visa subclasses.

The changes apply in relation to a person who is nominated by a State or Territory government agency, or the spouse or de facto partner of a person who is nominated by a State or Territory government agency, if they are issued an invitation on or after 19 April 2017.

457

Temporary work (Skilled) Visa

Numerous occupations have been affected by the changes. Relevantly:

1.       Various occupations have been removed entirely from the list for all of these visa subclasses and are no longer available.

2.       Certain occupations are no longer available under subclass 457 (and are now only available under 189, 485, 489 visas)

3.       Conditions have been imposed on 59 occupations for the 457 visa subclass which limit the breadth of the occupation that can be nominated. They can still be nominated for 457 purposes as long as they fit within the amended scope of the occupation. Please check in with us if you fall within one of these occupations.

4.       Certain specific occupations are now only available in relation to certain visa subclasses.

The changes apply effective on 19 April 2017. No nomination or visa applications can be approved unless the occupation is on the new list and the occupation complies with any conditions.

186

Employer nomination scheme

Numerous occupations have been affected by the changes. Relevantly:

1.       Various occupations have been removed entirely from the list for all of these visa subclasses and are no longer available.

2.       Certain occupations are no longer available under subclass 186 (and are now only available under 189, 485, 489 visas)

3.       Certain specific occupations are now only available in relation to certain visa subclasses.

The changes apply for applications made after 19 April 2017.

407

Training Visa

Numerous occupations have been affected by the changes. Relevantly:

1.       Various occupations have been removed entirely from the list for all of these visa subclasses and are no longer available.

2.       Certain occupations are no longer available under subclass 407 (and are now only available under 189, 485, 489 visas)

3.       Certain specific occupations are now only available in relation to certain visa subclasses.

The changes apply for applications made after 19 April 2017.

Contact our Migration Agents if you think your application is affected:

The facts - 457 visas and skilled visas in Australia

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that it will be abolishing the current 457 visa scheme by March 2018 and replacing it with a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa scheme.


With almost immediate effect after the announcement on 18 April 2017, the occupation lists which are used to determine which occupations are eligible for certain skilled visa subclasses (including 457 visas) have been significantly condensed.  These changes took effect on 19 April 2017.

 

Current Australian skilled visa changes as at 19 April 2017

It has long been the case that in order to nominate someone for the purposes of a subclass 189, 489, 485, 186, 190, 489, 457, or 407 visa (i.e. skilled visas) it is necessary for the nominated occupation to be specified on a prescribed occupation list.  These were previously known as the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).


Amendments to these lists have been made which:

  • reduce the number of occupation available for subclass 457 visa applicants from 650 to 434;
  • restrict 16 occupations so that they now only apply to the subclass 189, 485, and 489 visa where the applicant is nominated by a state or territory;
  • result in 200 fewer occupations being available for 186, 190, 489, 457, and 407 visas;
  • impose conditions on 59 occupations for the 457 visa subclass which limit the breadth of the occupation that can be nominated; and
  • ensure that specific occupations are only available in relation to certain visa subclasses.

New occupation lists now apply.  In effect, there are two new lists for practical purposes:

  • Medium and Long-term Strategic skills List (MLTSSL) and
  • Combined list including the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

 

What if my visa application has been lodged but not decided?

Subclass 190 and 489 visa applicants are basically affected if they have not yet received an invitation on or after 19 April 2017.  If they have received an invitation prior to 19 April 2017, then the previous occupations (i.e. the occupation which is the subject of their invitation) will apply to their applications.  Otherwise, their occupation must be in line with the new list.

Subclass 457 applicants who have pending applications which are yet to be decided will need to immediately ensure that they comply with the new list requirements / conditions.  Please contact us for further assistance.  For example, many occupations are still available, but have been restricted in their scope.  It may still be possible to proceed with your application.  Otherwise, if your occupation does not comply with the new list requirements, you should consider withdrawal (to potentially obtain a refund of your application fees) and consider alternative options (such as the employer sponsored 186 application which is a pathway to permanent residency, if available).  If however there are no issues with your proposed occupation and you are on the MLTSSL, your visa can be approved for up to 4 years.  If your visa is on the STSOL then it can only be approved for up to 2 years.

Subclass 186 and 407 applications which have been lodged but not yet decided should not be affected.  Only new applications made on or after 19 April 2017 need to comply with the new lists.

Further changes may come into force which affect the above in the coming months.

 

What shall I do now?

We provide the answers to all your questions!

>> Is my visa application affected?

 

What if I am already on an affected visa. What happens when I need to renew?

Please keep in mind that the news may not accurately reflect the current state of the law.

The 457 scheme continues to exist until the legislature amends the relevant legislation in the usual manner. We will continue to monitor any changes in this regard. We note for example that the Migration Amendment (Putting Local Workers First) Bill 2016 was registered by the House of Representatives on 28 November 2016. We anticipate that the current government will register a new bill soon to provide for further details of the proposed changes. We also anticipate that there will be transitional / grandfathering arrangements in place for existing 457 / skilled visa holders.

In the meantime, it is important for existing 457 visa holders to keep their current 457 visa expiry dates in mind, and seek prompt advice.

We can review your circumstances and suggest alternative pathways. Many of our business clients have already opted for the subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme to avoid the political uncertainty of the 457 visa.

 

Please refer to our webinar which was recently held earlier this year in conjunction with the NSW Chamber of Commerce: www.sydney-migration.com.au/business-solutions.html.

 

Or contact our Migration Agents:

In recognition of the great need for skilled migrants in regional parts of Australia, including capital cities such as Adelaide and Hobart, the Government has been presented with a Regional and Economic Migration Initiative (REMI) to boost migration.

The plan proposes an additional 40,000 migrant places be opened up for migrants seeking to live in areas other than the biggest Australian cities. The initiative presents an exciting prospect for those seeking to migrate permanently to Australia, as the REMI has been described as providing a fast-tracked pathway to permanent residency for investors, small business proprietors, employer nominated, student and temporary visa holders.

With over 120,000 Skilled Stream places available in the Migration Programme over 2015-2016, it is an ideal time to achieve points that are readily available. 

As you may be aware, General Skilled Migration visas rely on points – the more you have, the better placed you are in the SkillSelect* system. In determining your points, the DIBP considers a range of information including your work experience, qualifications and importantly, the level of your English skills.
 
Scoring well on your English test is a quick way to boost your score increase your chances of obtaining a General Skilled Migration visa.

A new points test under the General Skilled Migration Scheme (GSM), as announced on 8 February 2010, may be introduced on 01 July 2011. 
The new points test will be focused on selecting highly skilled people.

Changes may include the award of extra points for e.g.:

The Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) has officially anounced a new points test to be introduced from 01.07.2011.

Queensland's State Migration Plan has come into effect; eligible occupation lists for visa subclasses 176, 886, 475 and 487 have been published.

The Northern Territory announced its State Migration Plan on 22 November 2010.

This list of eligible occupations contain large numbers of occupations - containing occupations NOT listed on the SOL - Schedule 3.

Canberra, the ACT, has announced its State Migration Plan on 08 November 2010.

Those lists of eligible occupations contain large numbers of occupations - exceeding the number of occupations on the SOL - Schedule 3.

Victoria has signed the Victorian State Migration Plan for visa sponsorships under Skilled-Sponsored and Skilled-Regional Sponsored Visa (subclasses 176/886, 475 and 487).

Victoria has issued two eligibilty lists (occupation lists).

Skilled visa applications, such as i.e.

New priority processing arrangements have come into effect since 01 July when the old Critical Skills List (CSL) was revoked.

New priorities are
1. ENS and RSMS visa applications

The new SOL came into effect on 01 July 2010 - it consists of 4 schedules.
The current SOL (schedule 3) – applies to all new General Skilled Migration visa applications and contains of just under 200 occupations, i.e.

The current Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has been replaced. The new SOL will apply to all new General Skilled Migration applications.

From 22 March 2010 there will be changed skills assessment criteria for teachers with Teaching Australia under the General Skilled Migration Program.

There will be i.e. new English language requirements:

From today the MODL (Migration Occupations in Demand List) has been abolished.

Later in 2010 a new SOL (Skilled Occupation List) will be introduced to replace the MODL and the CSL (Critical Skills List). This means changes to the current Priority Processing will occur.

The Migration Act will be amended to set a maximum number of visas that may be granted to applicants in any one occupation.

From 01.01.2010 VETASSESS will be changing requirements for skills assessments. These changes relate to managerial, administrative, professional and associate professional occupations.

From 01.01.2010

The financial requirements for a student visa have changed.

From 01.01.2010 International students are required to demonstrate that they have genuine access to sufficient funds to be granted a Student visa.

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