*This is a developing story. More details to follow.*
The Prime Minister of Australia has announced the removal of the 457 visa programme. It is expected to be replaced by two new temporary work visas.
When is the 457 visa programme going to be removed?
The plan for complete removal is by March 2018. The definite date has not been announced.
I am currently on a 457 visa! What will happen to my status?
At this time we understand that all existing 457 visa holders wil maintain their visa status. No further 457 visas will be issued.
I have an ongoing 457 visa application! What will happen to it now?
At this time there has not been any information with regards to applications being processed. We will provide details on this matter as soon as it is available.
More to follow...
Information accurate as of 18 April 2017.
UPDATE 19 April 2017
The 457 visa will be replaced by the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. Transitional arrangements are now in place for the 457 visa programme, which includes the following:
- removal of 216 skilled occupations from the list of occupations suitable for a 457 visa application
- 457 visa applications that are yet to be finalised, will be issued for a maximum period of 2 years if the nominated occupation is on the new Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL); and for a maximum period of 4 years if the nominated occupation is on the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
From 1 July 2017 the following changes will apply to 457 visa applications:
- further changes to the occupation lists - STSOL and MLTSSL
- removal of the English language salary exemption
- change to training benchmark requirements
- compulsory police and character clearances
At this time we understand that the new Temporay Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will have the following criteria:
Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) applications
- only one opportunity to renew your visa onshore
- for regional Australia employment - 24 occupations (agricultural positions) are available for nomination in addition to the STSOL occupations
- English language requirements will be IELTS (or equivalent) average score of 5 with no components lesser than 4.5
- Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria will apply
Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) applications
- opportunity for onshore renewal and permanent residence pathway available after 3 years
- for regional Australia employment - 24 occupations (agricultural positions) are available for nomination in addition to the MLTSSL occupations
- English language requirements will be IELTS (or equivalent) score of 5 in all test components
The following requirements apply to both STSOL and MLTSSL applications:
- at least two years relevant work experience
- Labour Market Testing is compulsory, unless in ternational obligation applies
- nominated occupation salary offered must be Australian market salary and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
- compulsory police clearances
- workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
- increased training requirements
What is going to happen to the 457 visa applications which are waiting to be processed?
We are seeking clarification as to whether all ongoing nomination and visa applications with occupations which are not on the STSOL will be processed or refused. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is currently offering refunds of the application fees and the opportunity to withdraw your unfinalised visa application. Contact Work Visa Lawyers if you need further instructions.
If your nominated occupation is on the STSOL, the 457 visa will be granted for a maximum period of 2 years. If your nominated occupation is on the MLTSSL, the 457 visa granted will be for a maximum of 4 years.
I am currently on a 457 visa, is my visa going to be cancelled?
Existing 457 visa holders will continue to hold their visas until it expires. It is expected that subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) permanent visa pathways will remain the same until March 2018. Therefore if you were considering a permanent visa pathway after your 457 visa nears its expiry, you should try to apply before March 2018.
Changes for the permanent employer sponsored visas
The permanent employer sponsored visas include:
- subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
- subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
Effective immediately the new STSOL will replace the CSOL. Subclass 186 ENS Direct Entry stream applicants will be affected.
From 1 July 2017, English language requirements will become IELTS score of 6 in each test component (or equivalent). A maximum age of 45 will apply to Direct Entry stream applicants.
From March 2018 the MLTSSL will apply for all subclass 186 ENS and subclass 187 RSMS visa applications. An additional 24 occupations (mainly agricultural) will be available for the RSMS visa applications. The permanent residence eligibility period will also be extended from two to three years. Applicants will need to demonstrate at least 3 years relevant work experience and be under the age of 45 at the time of application.
Check with a Registered Migration Agent if you need further clarification.
The other prospective visa applicant casualties
While the news has been speaking mainly about the 457 visa, the change in occupation lists effective today also affects the following General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas:
- subclass 189 Skilled Independent visas
- subclass 190 State Nominated visas
- subclass 489 Skilled Regional Sponsored visas (sponsored by an Australian State or Territory)
Many occupations previously available for state nomination are no longer available. In response to the occupation list changes, some state migration agencies like Immigration SA has suspended all state nomination applications.
Information accurate as of 19 April 2017.
Comments by Chris Johnston, Principal Migration Agent and Lawyer at Work Visa Lawyers
The change to the Skilled Occupation Lists was originally shocking when it was mentioned 216 occupations were removed. However upon close inspection it can be seen that most of the popular/high number occupations are still on the STSOL, such as:
- Cafe or Restaurant Managers (ANZSCO 141111) - caveats apply
- Chef (ANZSCO 351311) - caveats apply
- Cook (ANZSCO 351411) - caveats apply
- Customer Service Manager (ANZSCO 149212) - caveats apply
- Enrolled Nurse (ANZSCO 411411)
- General Practitioner (ANZSCO 253111)
- Hotel or Motel Manager (ANZSCO 141311) - caveats apply
- Marketing Specialist (ANZSCO 225113) - caveats apply
- most ICT professionals except for ICT Support and Test Engineers NEC (ANZSCO 263299), ICT Support Technicians NEC (ANZSCO 313199), Multimedia Designer (ANZSCO 232413) and Web Developer (ANZSCO 261212)
- Pastrycook (ANZSCO 351112) - caveats apply
- Program or Project Administrator (ANZSCO 511112)
The higher requirements for some occupations are reflected in the respective caveats (conditions).
As the permanent employer sponsored visas will come under the new MLTSSL in March 2018, it may be best for applicants to apply before March 2018. Please contact Work Visa Lawyers if you need to find out whether you can apply for the 186 ENS or 187 RSMS before then.
The team at Work Visa Lawyers are experienced in navigating through immigration policy changes. Book an appointment to speak with us if you need clarification on your situation.
Do you need help with an Australian visa application?
At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.
If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:
(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956