In March 2018, we saw the implementation of the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa in Australia. The TSS visa is a temporary visa that permits the holder to live in Australia while working full-time for the sponsoring employer in the nominated position. It replaces the long-standing 457 visa, which was a four-year visa designed to fill gaps in skilled labor in Australia; however, critics deemed that it was too accessible.
This is part of the government’s reform measures to prioritize the hiring of Australian nationals by introducing stricter visa requirements for overseas workers. Find out more on these requirements and what it could mean for your employees.
Abolishment of 457 Visa
The announcement to abolish the 457 visa was made on April 18, 2017. The occupation lists used for skilled migration visas were significantly condensed from 651 to 435 occupations. Examples of occupations that are no longer considered eligible or need to meet certain caveats include:
- Human resource advisers
- Building and engineering technicians
- Information and Communication Technology support and test engineers
- Information and Communication Technology support technicians
- Electronic engineering technicians
- Telecommunications technicians
These measures, along with the uncertainty of impending changes, had an impact on the visa program. According to government statistics from the third quarter of 2017, there was a 41.2% drop in the number of primary applications of the 457 visa lodged compared to the previous year, and a 35.8% reduction in the number of visas granted.
Short-Term and Medium-Term TSS Streams
Under the new TSS visa program, qualified employers* may sponsor skilled overseas workers based on the following:
- Short-term stream: For occupations included on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) for a maximum of two years and can only be renewed once
- Medium-term stream: To fill medium-term critical skills in occupations included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to four years with possible renewals, and eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years
*A business with lawful and active operation in Australia must become approved as a Standard Business Sponsor in order to employ a TSS visa holder.
New Requirements of TSS Visa
In addition, the TSS visa comes with new requirements:
- Visa applicants having at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation (ruling out recent graduates)
- Mandatory labor market testing (LMT) where employers have to advertise the position locally to recruit suitable qualified Australian citizens or permanent residents in twelve months prior to nomination. They must also provide necessary copies and fees paid for advertisement.
- Employers must pay an upfront contribution of AUD 1,200 (for small businesses with turnover of less than 10 million) to AUD 1,800 per foreign worker per year of visa to the Skilling Australians Fund.
- Proof of English language proficiency regardless of salary levels and police clearance certificates
- Proposed salary must be within the market rate for the role and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT).** This is set annually by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), and is currently AUD 53,900 plus superannuation.
**Some occupations have a threshold higher than TSMIT
Special Considerations for International Trade Obligations
Exemptions for LMT to fulfill Australia’s international trade obligations apply if the overseas worker to be nominated falls under one of the following conditions:
- A citizen/national of China, Japan or Thailand, or is a citizen/national/permanent resident of Chile, South Korea, New Zealand or Singapore.
- A current employee of an associated entity located in an ASEAN country (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Chile, China, Japan, South Korea or New Zealand.
- A current employee of an associated entity operating in a country that is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where the nominated occupation is listed as an “Executive or Senior Manager” and the nominee will be responsible for the entire or a substantial part of the company’s operations in Australia.
Expand into Australia with Expert Advice
Finding your way through new work visa regulations may prove challenging for companies looking to expand into Australia. To expand into the country faster and with greater ease, consider working with an in-country partner. Velocity Global’s Global Immigration Services can help you confidently navigate business expansion into foreign markets, including the process of obtaining an Australian work visa. Contact us today to learn more.