The Australian temporary 457 work visa was replaced with two new temporary visas for workers with specific skills.
A two-year and a four-year visa, each with new restrictions, were introduced instead.
Key reforms include the following:
- Introducing the temporary skill shortage visa with new requirements, including but not limited to:
- new, more targeted occupation lists which better align with skill needs in the Australian labour market;
- a requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation;
- a minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers;
- mandatory labour market testing, unless an international obligation applies;
- capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the short-term (two-year) stream;
- capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years under the medium-term (four-year) stream;
- the permanent residence eligibility period being extended from two to three years;
- a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers;
- a strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers;
- collection of Tax File Numbers by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and matching of data with the Australian Tax Office’s records; and
- mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
- Tightening eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas, including but not limited to:
- tightened English language requirements;
- a requirement that visa applicants must have at least three years’ work experience;
- a requirement that applicants must be under the age of 45 at the time of application;
- a strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers; and
- a requirement that employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.
- Continued availability of concessions for regional Australia:
- Employers in regional Australia will continue to have access to occupations under the temporary and permanent visas, to reflect their skills needs.
- Existing permanent visa concessions for regional Australia, such as waiving the nomination fee and providing age exemptions for certain occupations, will be retained. Consideration will be given to expanding the occupations in regional Australia that are exempt from the age requirement.
- Significantly condensing the occupation lists used for skilled migration visas, including the Subclass 457 visa, from 19 April 2017.According to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the new visas were designed to attract top overseas candidates for employment in national interest.More information on the new visas is available at https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/457-abolition-replacement.
- The Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa was one of the most popular visas applied for by South Africans. It allowed them to move to Australia with their families and apply for permanent stay after a minimum period.
- The implementation of these reforms began immediately and will be completed in March 2018.
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