Australia: Recent Announcements in Immigration
New TSS Visa
As previously announced, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa is scheduled to commence on 1 March 2018. While the Government is yet to release the draft legislation, the following eligibility criteria are anticipated:
- Two distinct streams, a Short-Term stream leading to a two year visa and a Medium-Term stream leading to a four year visa;
- Limitations on onshore renewals for Short-Term stream applicants;
- A requirement for Short-Term stream applicants to undergo a genuine temporary entrant assessment;
- Only holders of the Medium-Term stream visa may transition to permanent residence after three years via the Subclass 186 visa programme;
- At least two years of relevant work experience;
- Minimum English language requirements and mandatory criminal record checks;
- Labour Market Testing unless international trade obligations apply; and
- A requirement to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australian Fund (SAF).
Some points to note
- Subclass 457 applications still processing on 1 March 2018 will continue to process through to finalisation;
- Current holders of the 457 visa may continue to hold the visa until its expiry;
- The current occupations lists will be reviewed in January 2018 and there may be further changes;
- Applicants under the Short-Term stream may still obtain a four year visa term if international trade obligations apply; and
- Current Business Sponsorship Approvals (approvals held by businesses to facilitate sponsorship) will continue to operate under the TSS visa scheme until their expiry.
Application Lodgement Costs
The TSS sponsorship fee will be A$ 420 and the nomination fee will be A$ 330. These fees are in line with the current 457 sponsorship scheme.
Visa Application Charges (VACs) for the new TSS visa are as follows:
Applicant (18 and over)
|Child (under 18)|
|TSS (Short Term)||A$ 1150||A$ 1150||A$ 290|
|TSS (Medium Term)||A$ 2400||A$ 2400||A$ 600|
Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme Visa
The Government has confirmed that employees who held, or had applied for, a 457 visa on 18 April 2017 will be able to access certain existing provisions under the Temporary Residence Transition stream. Namely:
- The age requirement will remain at less than 50 years of age at the time of application (whether exemptions will apply to older applicants as per the current framework is not yet clear);
- Applicants may apply as per the current requirements once they have completed at least two years of employment with the sponsor on the 457 visa. The requirement to demonstrate three years work experience will not apply; and
- The occupation lists in these circumstances will not apply.
The Subclass 186 visa will also undergo a number of reforms in March:
- All applicants must be under the age of 45 unless the above transitional arrangements apply;
- Applicants must have an occupation on the Medium to Long Term list to apply under the Direct Entry stream;
- Minimum salary requirements in line with the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (currently A$ 53,900);
- Holders of the TSS visa under the Medium-Term stream have the option of applying after three years;
- Three years of relevant work experience for all applicants; and
- Employer to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund.
Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy
From March 2018, employers seeking to sponsor staff on a TSS visa or the reformed Subclass 186 visa will be required to contribute to the training of Australians through the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy. The levy will be payable in full at the time of nomination application and will vary according to the size of the business.
|Business Size||TSS Visa||186 Visa|
|Business with annual turnover less than A$ 10 MIL||A$ 1200 per year||A$ 3000|
|Other Businesses||A$ 1800 per year||A$ 5000|
Following the removal of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 from Government business, applications made before 20 April 2017 and up until 1 July 2018 will be processed under current citizenship laws.
While Minister Dutton plans to introduce an amended version of the Bill with changes to take effect from 1 July 2018, this turn of events will at least allow for applications held in limbo to continue to process in line with known eligibility criteria and unaffected by retrospective legislative amendments.