On 18 April 2017 the Australian Government announced changes to the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 Visa category. There will be a staged removal of the Subclass 457 Visa and by March 2018 this single visa will be replaced by a two stream Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa category.
It is anticipated that the changes will occur in four stages:
- on 19 April 2017 there were changes to the occupation lists and the validity period of any Subclass 457 visas granted after that date, depending on the nominated occupation;
- from 1 July 2017 there are to be further changes to the occupation lists, as well as changes to the English language and character requirements and training benchmarks;
- before 31 December 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will commence collection of Tax File Numbers for employer sponsored migrants to assist with data matching to ensure visa holders are being paid correctly; and
- in or around March 2018 the Subclass 457 visa will be replaced by the TSS visa category with further changes expected with regard to requirements relating to genuineness, English language, work experience, salary, character, training, labour market testing, renewals and permanent residence pathways.
We understand that the Labour Agreement category is currently being reviewed in relation to how they reflect current economic and employment conditions, and to ensure that the local labour market is not being undercut and Australian workers are given priority. However, there are no details regarding these reviews available at this stage.
It should be noted that the changes anticipated for later this year and next year remain subject to further amendment by the Government and should not be relied upon until confirmation and details of their implementation are received.
We will continue to monitor any new developments with regard to the changes to the employer sponsorship visa categories. In the meantime, if you have any further queries, please contact our migration team.