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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:

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