The Coalition government’s surprise announcement that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) was to be abolished and replaced has caused some concern in industries that rely on overseas talent. Unfortunately, this announcement has come surrounded by a lot of misinformation, leading many employers and employees to panic about potential loss of working rights or an overseas flight of talent.
While the changes will have definite impacts on the way some companies do business, the vast majority of visa-holders and visa-sponsors will be unaffected in the short-term with policies being replaced gradually. To help both parties better understand how the new skilled migration regime will affect them, Skills Certified has put together this short article busting a few myths about the end of the 457 visa.
This is not the end of employer-sponsored skilled migration
While the 457 visa is to be abolished as of March 2018, it is to be replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years. These new visas will come with shortened occupation lists that the government argues better align with ongoing skills shortages in the Australian job market. Additionally, visa-holders in the Short-Term stream would no longer be allowed a path to permanent residency at the conclusion of the visa. Medium-Term visa holders will be able to access a pathway after three years in the stream.
Current visa-holders are unaffected
Immigrants currently on a 457 visa are unaffected by the changes in the regime, and they remain on their current visa until it expires or they transfer to a new visa. It is still possible for 457 visa holders to reach the end of their visa and access a pathway to permanent residency without having to apply for a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
Changes are being rolled out gradually
All changes announced by the Coalition government in April of 2017 are being slowly implemented so as to minimise the disruption to the Australian labour market. Initial changes included the removal of 216 occupations from the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (now the Short Term Skilled Occupation List). As mentioned above, please note that this is separate from the Medium Term Skilled Occupation List. An additional raft of changes were implemented in July 2017, covering English language requirements, mandatory skills assessments and training benchmarks.
For more information on gaining a qualification that may assist your application for a visa, speak to the team at Skills Certified.