A new era for Australian work visas

5 mins  27.03.2018 Megan Arends, Roxy Topham, Victoria Lenton

With the new temporary skill shortage visa now in effect, we look at how this will effect employers and employees who use the 457 program.

Introduction of the Temporary Short Skilled (TSS) Visa now in effect: On Sunday, 18 March 2018, the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 was officially abolished and replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa. Legislative changes tightening of the eligibility requirements for employer sponsored permanent skilled visas also came into effect as foreshadowed by the Federal Government.
The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017, which will implement the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy, remains under consideration by the Senate.

Announcement of the new Global Talent Scheme visa pilot: On Monday, 19 March 2018, the Government announced a new pilot visa scheme to attract high-tech skills and talent to Australia and is set to commence on 1 July 2018. Details of the scheme have not yet been released, but according to media reports, the visa may not require the skilled occupation to be on the relevant eligibility lists.

TSS - key changes

457 visa applications can no longer be lodged, however the TSS is available as a replacement.

Many of the requirements of the 457 are replicated in the TSS, so it will be a largely familiar process. However, there will be a few key differences:

  • The TSS has three streams: Short-term (ST) stream, Medium-long term (MT) stream and the Labour Agreement stream. Some requirements and aspects of the visa will vary according to the stream as follows.


Short-term Stream Medium-long term Stream
Occupation List Short-term Skills Occupation List (STSOL) IMedium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
Duration Up to two years Up to four years
Renewals  One onshore renewal Unlimited onshore renewals while occupation on MLTSSL 
English  International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 5 overall (4.5 in each component) IELTS 5 in each component
Genuine temporary entrant requirement   Applicable Not applicable
 Permanent residence pathway  No Yes


  • Two years of work experience will be required for all applicants
  • Strict labour market testing requirements are now in place under policy – most employers will now need to advertise the nominated role prior to lodging a TSS application. There are specific requirements for the advertising, so make sure you get advice on this at any early point in the process to ensure you meet the requirement.
  • TSS visas will only be available for full-time positions
  • TSS sponsors must certify that the visa applicant's employment contract complies with all laws of the Commonwealth, including the National Employment Standards
  • Labour market testing (advertising of the role) is expected to be mandatory prior to lodging any TSS application, however this aspect of the changes remains before Parliament and is not yet in effect.

Permanent residency - key changes

The Subclass 186 and 187 visas will continue to exist with the three streams remaining available - Direct Entry (DE), Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) and Labour Agreement. However, the following changes are effective from 18 March:

  • All applicants will need to have an occupation on the MLTSSL (unless they are subject to 'transitional provisions' which apply to certain 457 holders who applied for, or held a 457 visa prior to 19 April 2017).
  • The age requirement for all streams of 186 and 187 visas has been lowered to under 45 years (unless exempt).
  • Applicants for the TRT stream must have at least three years of relevant work experience.
  • Employers nominating an applicant through the DE stream of subclass 187 visas must demonstrate that the position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident who is either living in the same local area or willing to move to that local area.

Removal of training benchmarks

There is good news for some sponsors - the requirement for 457/TSS sponsor applicants to meet the training benchmarks has been removed and will not need to be met for applications lodged from 18 March 2018. The sponsorship obligation in relation to past compliance remains.

The SAF training levy, which is set to replace it, remains in draft legislation before Parliament so there is no clear date when this new fund will be implemented.

How does this impact me?

These changes will impact all employers and employees who use the 457 program. We recommend you familiarise yourself with the changes and consider whether any of your organisation's policies or procedures around its use of the program need to be updated.

Introduction of the Global Talent Scheme pilot

There is great news for employers with a high turnover, or technology-based and STEM-related start-ups.

The Government announced on 19 March 2018 that it will pilot a new visa scheme specifically designed to attract highly skilled and experienced employees for jobs outside of the standard skilled eligibility lists.

The Global Talent Scheme pilot will start on 1 July 2018 for an initial trial of 12 months, and will be available as two new streams of the TSS:

  • Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million – will be able to sponsor highly skilled persons for jobs with salaries above $180,000 in Australia.
  • Technology-based and STEM-related start–up businesses - will be able to sponsor individuals with highly specialised technology skills.
    Employees sponsored under the pilot programme will receive a four year TSS visa, with access to permanent residency after three years.

We will provide you with updated information as we receive more details from the Department.

How does this impact me?

These changes may provide opportunities for your business to hire highly skilled employees from outside of the standard occupation lists, giving you the opportunity to attract the best talent in the world.

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