This article is updated regularly. Last updated: Thrusday, 15th February 2024

The Migration Strategy, released in December 2023, introduced the Skills in Demand Visas. There are three new types of temporary work visas focusing on clear pathways to Australian permanent residency and aiming to alleviate labor shortages. 

The three new pathways are called Specialist Skills, Core Skills, and Essential Skills. The Skills in Demand visas will replace the temporary skills shortage visa and provide more flexibility to workers and employers. 

Key features for all three visas include:  

  • The new Skills in Demand Visas will provide a four-year work visa.
  • Visa holders will have the ability to move between sponsors with 180 days to find a new sponsor.
  • The time spent with any approved employer will count toward permanent residence requirements. This will avoid the clock resetting with each employer.
  • All streams (Specialist Skills, Core Skills, and Essential Skills) will have a clear path to permanent residency in Australia.
  • There will be a public register of sponsors to assist individuals in finding a new sponsor.

Specialist Skills Pathway

This pathway recognises highly skilled migrants are hugely beneficial to Australia's national productivity, including through their support of critical sovereign capabilities and potential to grow the skills and expertise of the Australian workforce. 

The Specialist Skills Visa will be available to applicants who meet the eligibility criteria, such as being nominated by an approved employer and meeting health and character requirements. In addition to this, it will be available to any occupation except trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and laborers. 

The applicant will need to have earnings of at least AU$ 135,000 a year.

The Specialist Skills visa processing time for the Specialist Skills pathway is expected to be very quick, only 7 days. 

Core Skills Pathway

Most temporary skilled migrants will come through the Core Skills pathway. The Core Skills visa is designed to bring skilled employees to Australia and to fill the needs that are available now and, in the future, to ensure we can provide ourselves with the goods and services that are needed for the Australian economy. 

The Core Skills pathway would be available for a wider range of occupations, including registered nurses, trades, and some machinery operators. 

The general eligibility criteria include individuals with occupations on the new Core Skills Occupation List, and individuals with a salary at or above the TSMIT, which is currently AU$ 70,000 a year.  As soon as the Core Skills Occupation List is available, we will update it here.

The Core Skills visa processing time is expected to be approximately 21 days. The Core Skills visa is likely to have requirements very similar to the current 482 visa.

Essential Skills Pathway

It's a pathway for lower-paid workers with essential skills and might include those earning a salary under AU$ 70,000 a year. 

The government is considering the Essential Skills pathway in the context of the care and support economy, which has become essential to the quality of Australian life. 

The Essential Skills pathway is likely to have similarities with the current Labour Agreement visas.

 

Which Skills in Demand visa should I go for?

If you're looking for positions with a salary above AU$ 135,000, then it's going to be the Specialist Skills pathway for most occupations.

The distinction between the Core Skills pathway and the Essential Skills pathway could be defined by the occupation you're going for. For example, professions like aged and disability carers would be categorized under the Essential Skills pathway, while most other health-related occupations like registered nurses, would be for the Core Skills pathway. 

All Skills in Demand visas, however, will be regulated to ensure that Australia is receiving the skilled workers it needs and that the sponsored employees are protected from exploitation. 

 

Requirements for employers in terms of the Skills in Demand visas

Labour Market Testing

As the visas are work visas, then some elements of the current 482 work visa may be adapted. For example, Labor Market Testing. It is being announced that there will be reduced requirements for Labor Market Testing. The period of Labor Market Testing will be valid for six months, as opposed to the current four months. Also, the number of adverts will be reduced to two from what has recently been three. 

Skilling Australia Fund

The Skilling Australia Fund is a fee that the employer must pay to the government to access the visa program, providing funds for training Australians. 

It's expected that the Skilling Australia Fund requirements will not be an upfront payment but rather will be installments over the time the visa holder is in Australia with the employer. 

 

When will the Skills in Demand visas be implemented? 

The Migration Strategy Action Plan provides the indicative timeframe of late 2024 for implementation. 

As soon as we receive more information about the new Skills in Demand visas, we will update this page.

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