Important Changes – 457 Visa

As some of you would be aware The Hon Peter Dutton MP - Minister for Immigration and Border Protection made a joint media release with the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister - Putting Australian workers first, yesterday 18th of April 2017.

I know many of you will have several questions surrounding the changes to the 457 visa programme that were announced yesterday. For this reason we have compiled the following information to give you a brief overview.

 Changes effective 19th of April 2017;

 New skilled occupation lists have been implemented; 

  • The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is now the Medium & Long Terms Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  • The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) is now the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)

 A combined list of eligible skilled occupations can be found on the DIBP website.

Significant changes have been made to the occupations eligible for temporary and permanent skilled migration, this includes; 

Clients who have lodged a subclass 457 nomination and visa applications prior to the Government announcement under occupations that are no longer approved, will be given the opportunity to withdraw the application and gain a refund of the DIBP lodgement fee only. This refund will be provided upon receipt of the fees from the DIBP so exact time frames cannot be given at this stage.

Changes to visa validity; 

The maximum 4 year period for a 457 visa will only be available where the occupation is on 
the MLTSSL. For any occupation that is not on the MLTSSL, the maximum visa period will be 2 years. This includes applications which are still pending a decision on 19th of April 2017.

Secondary visa applicants wanting to join a primary 457 visa holder, will not be impacted by the new policy. They can still have their 457 visa ‘match’ the visa period of the primary holder.

Changes to Priority Processing;

The DIBP has indicated that they have been receiving a large number of requests for priority processing and in light of this, Simply Visas will be informed by the 457 section if the request for priority processing has been approved or refused. Circumstances in which a request for priority processing is likely to be successful:

  • Nominations where the nominee is already a subclass 457 visa holder
  • Claims of large-scale contracts/projects with imminent deadlines – where documentary evidence is provided
  • Claims of financial duress – where documentary evidence is provided
  • Applications from sponsors/positions in a remote location

Changes effective 1st of July 2017;

  • Possible further adjustments to eligible occupation lists
  • An expansion of mandatory skills assessments
  • English language salary exemption threshold, which exempts applicants whose salary is over $96,400 from the English language requirement, will be removed
  • Minor changes to the training benchmarks for subclass 457 sponsors
  • Subclass 457 programme no longer excluded from police clearance requirements

New forms will be implemented within the online elodgement system, so therefore the information that Simply Visas collects from you will change, this includes; 

  • Summary about the business
  • Business website
  • Multiple franchise details
  • Company secretary details
  • Projected payroll for the next 12 months
  • Full details of nominated person’s position and location
  • Reasons by Labour Market Testing was not completed
  • Improved skills assessment information
  • Relationship details
  • Legal status of the visa applicant
  • National ID card details
  • Additional identity document details
  • Child custody information

 Changes by December 2017; 

  • The DIBP will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers for 457 visa holders (and other employer sponsored migrants), and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to ensure that visa holders are not paid less than their nominated salary.
  • The DIBP will commence the publication of details relating to sponsors sanctioned for failing to meet their obligations under the Migration Regulation 1994 and related legislation.

Changes by March 2018; 

  • The 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa
  • The TSS visa will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years, and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years 

The Short-Term stream will include the following criteria: 

  • Capacity to renew the visa onshore once only
  • The STSOL will apply
  • A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 5, with a minimum of 4.5 in each test component
  • A genuine temporary entrant requirement 

The Medium-Term stream will include the following criteria: 

  • Capacity to renew onshore and a pathway to permanent residency after 3 years
  • The MLTSSL will apply
  • a requirement of a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component.  

Criteria for both streams: 

  • At least 2 years work experience required
  • Labour Market Testing will become mandatory
  • Police clearances will be required
  • A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
  • A strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers

We thank you for your time and attention to this information and will continue to keep you updated as and when changes occur.

Due to the large number of calls that we are experiencing at this time it would be most appreciated if you could direct any queries that you may have via email to info@simplyvisas.com to ensure that you get the fastest response possible.

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