Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS visa)

The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa will be replaced with the completely new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

Occupation lists

The occupation lists that underpin the 457 visa have been significantly condensed from 651 to 435 occupations, with 216 occupations removed and access to 59 other occupations restricted.

The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) is renamed as Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be updated every six months based on advice from the Department of Employment.
The other occupations list used for skilled migration, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) is renamed as Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

Validity period

The maximum duration of 457 visas issued from this date for occupations that are on the STSOL will be two (2) years with an optional two-year extension allowed only once.
Occupations on the MLTSSL will continue to be issued for a maximum duration of four (4) years.

Residency

The two-year short-term visa program will offer no prospect of permanent residency. The four-year medium-term visa holders will be able to apply for permanent residency if certain preconditions are met.

English Requirements

The four-year visas will require a higher standard of English language skills; a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component. English language exemption salary threshold, which exempted applicants whose salary was over $96,400 from the English language requirement, will be removed.

Training benchmarks

Policy settings about the training benchmark requirement will be made clearer in legislative instruments. Training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers will be strengthened. Please ensure that your clients keep meeting this obligation (training benchmark A or B) as this is expected to be more carefully monitored.

Character

Provision of penal (police) clearance certificates will become mandatory.

Work Experience

Two-years work experience will be required for both visas.

Other documentation

In the majority of cases, mandatory Labour Market Testing (LMT) will be required, unless an international obligation applies. Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) requirements. A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.

Application fees

$1150 AUD for two-year visa and $2400 AUD for four-year visas apply

Applications already lodged:

457 visa applicants that had lodged their application on or before 18 April 2017 with an occupation that has been removed from the STSOL, and whose application has not yet been decided, may be eligible for a refund of their visa application fee. Nominating businesses for these applications may also be eligible for a refund of related fees.

Please contact us for further clarity about how the changes may affect sponsorship, nomination and visa applications.