Are you considering applying for a skilled visa to Australia? One option that you might like to consider is a Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, a temporary work skilled visa which provides a pathway to permanent residence in Australia after two years.
The TSS visa program is designed to enable employers to address labour shortages by sponsoring overseas skilled workers. It is targeted in a way to assist employers to fill positions where they cannot be sourced from the local employment market. Only certain skilled occupations may be sponsored by employers, as prescribed in the Skilled Occupation List for the subclass 482 TSS visa (although there are circumstances where greater flexibility applies in this regard). The occupation list may change over time, as the government responds to changing circumstances and policy priorities.
In this article, we examine major changes to the 457 visa program that were introduced in a bid to crack down on the 457 visa, the main features of the TSS visa, what a TSS visa holder can do in Australia, and how a subclass 482 visa holder may qualify for permanent residence visa in Australia. We also introduce some other skilled visa options that you may like to consider.
But first, let us start by taking a closer look at the changes that were introduced to the subclass 457 visa program.
Major Changes To The 457 Visa Introduced
Significant changes to the temporary work skilled visa program were announced by then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull on 18 April 2017 – the abolishment of the then Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled), which was to be replaced by the current Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in a bid to crack down on the 457 visa program.
There were also changes announced to the skilled occupation list as well as the introduction of two visa streams, being the short-term and medium-term streams (which determine the visa term). The changes were implemented between 18 April 2017 and 18 March 2018.
The changes to the 457 visa were in response to a previous review of the program, and were designed to crack down on 457 visas.
Before these changes were announced, the 457 skilled visa program had come under intense scrutiny as part of the Turnbull government’s regime. Only weeks before, changes were made to subclass 457 visa holders who lost their employment, whereby they were given only 60 days to find new employment or to leave the country (this was previously 90 days).
Indeed, the then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton noted that the change from 90 to 60 days ensures “that the 457 programme meets its intent of acting as a supplement…for Australian workers.” He also noted that the skilled occupation list (then called the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL)) must be “condensed.” Further, Minister Dutton said that the criteria for an occupation to be included as part of the CSOL was that the occupation “benefits (in Australia) from skilled migration.”
What Were The Changes?
The main changes to 457 visas that were introduced included the following:
- a single subclass 457 visa (with a four year term) to be replaced by two new visa streams. A third stream, being the labour agreement stream, remains an option post the changes;
- higher English language testing requirements;
- more stringent Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirements; and
- the number of occupations eligible for nomination under the program were reduced.
Also be aware that transitional arrangements were put in place to ensure that existing subclass 457 visa holders at the time of the announcement were not prevented from being eligible to transition to permanent residence under the then existing arrangements.
These special rules apply to visa applicants who held a Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa or a Bridging visa associated with a 457 visa on 18 April 2017. These transitional arrangements are designed to ensure that employer sponsored visa 457 holders who held this visa before the changes to the 457 visa were announced will, in certain circumstances, remain eligible for an employer nominated visa under the Temporary Residence Transition Scheme (TRTS) stream (this is discussed further below).
You can learn more about these changes to the 457 visa program, including a timeline for implementation of the changes and the transitional arrangements, in the below articles
What Are The Main Features Of The TSS Visa Program?
One of the main features of the subclass 482 temporary work skilled visa program is the application process involved, which consists of the following steps:
- Sponsorship application – the employer must apply for approval as a standard business sponsor. This lasts for a five-year term, which means that a new application is only required closer to expiry of the sponsorship;
- Nomination application – the employer is required to nominate an occupation to be filled by the overseas worker (prospective nominee); and
- Visa application – the prospective nominee must apply for a subclass 482 visa.
Therefore, the sponsoring employer must apply for the sponsorship and nomination stages, and the visa applicant must lodge their own application under this process. All three applications may be lodged at the same time.
Be mindful that for the Labour Agreement stream, the sponsorship stage of the process is replaced with the negotiation and signing of a Labour Agreement. Nomination and visa applications are still required.
In cases where an applicant who already holds a subclass 482 visa seeks to change their sponsoring employer, only a new nomination application needs to be lodged. Once approved, the TSS visa holder is permitted to change their employer.
However, if the existing TSS visa is about to expire, or the visa holder seeks to change their nominated occupation, then both a new nomination and visa application must be lodged.
The subclass 482 temporary work skilled visa comprises of three streams, as outlined below:
This stream is designed for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill short-term positions in a range of occupations for a maximum period of two years (or four years if an international trade obligation applies). This stream provides a pathway to eligibility for a permanent residence visa after two years. The occupation must be included on the Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) to be eligible for nomination.
Prospective visa holders must have at least two years of relevant work experience in their nominated occupation or in a related field, and have a relevant skills assessment if this is required for their nominated occupation. They can only work for their sponsoring employer or an associated entity, unless exempt. There is no age requirement to be eligible (although keep in mind that age is relevant at the permanent residence visa stage if you are considering applying for permanent residence later down the track). The TSS visa holder must also meet minimum standards of English language proficiency (unless exempt).
Other requirements include health and character criteria, as well as having a good immigration record.
This stream is designed for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills needs for up to four years. This stream provides a pathway to eligibility for a permanent residence visa after two years. The occupation must be included on either the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL).
Prospective visa holders must have at least two years of relevant work experience in their nominated occupation or in a related field, and have a relevant skills assessment if this is required for their nominated occupation. They can only work for their sponsoring employer or an associated entity, unless exempt. There is no age requirement (although keep in mind that age is relevant at the permanent residence visa stage if you are considering applying for permanent residence later down the track). The TSS visa holder must also meet minimum standards of English language proficiency (unless exempt).
Other requirements include health and character criteria, as well as having a good immigration record.
Labour Agreement Stream
This is a more flexible option for employers who execute a Labour Agreement with the government to enable them to source skilled overseas workers, where there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and the standard TSS visa program is not available. The visa term in this case is up to four years, depending on the terms as set out in the labour agreement. This stream may provide a pathway to eligibility for a permanent residence visa, depending on the terms of the labour agreement.
Alternatively, a TSS visa holder nominated under the labour agreement stream can qualify for a subclass 186 permanent residency visa under the TRT stream after two years.
Prospective visa holders must be nominated to work in a specified occupation under the terms of the Labour Agreement, have at least two years of relevant work experience in their nominated occupation or in a related field, and have a relevant skills assessment (if required for the nominated occupation). The TSS visa holder can also only work for their sponsoring employer, and must meet minimum standards of English language proficiency (unless exempt).
What Can A Subclass 482 Visa Holder Do In Australia?
A TSS visa allows you to:
- work in Australia for your approved sponsor in your approved occupation;
- have your eligible family members accompany you to Australia as dependant visa holders (they can work and study in Australia); and
- be subject to unrestricted travel to and from Australia for the visa term.
How Can A Subclass 482 Visa Holder Qualify For Permanent Residence?
As discussed above, the holder of a subclass 482 temporary work skilled visa is eligible for permanent residence at a later stage. This pathway is provided for by the subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa program. It consists of the following visa streams:
Temporary Residence Transition Scheme (TRTS) Stream
The TRTS stream is for TSS visa holders (or Subclass 457 visa holders subject to transitional arrangements) who have worked in the position for their employer for at least two of the last three years before being nominated and the employer seeks to offer them a permanent position in the same occupation.
Direct Entry (DE) Stream
The DE stream provides automatic permanent residence to eligible overseas workers who are skilled in an occupation that is eligible for nomination (i.e. this does not require you to hold a subclass 482 visa to be eligible).
Labour Agreement Stream
This stream is for applicants who are sponsored by an employer under a labour agreement, for which permanent residence visa options may be available.
Applicants who are sponsored by an employer under a labour agreement for their TSS visa may also qualify for permanent residency under the TRTS stream after two years.
Other Skilled Visa Options
Also be aware that there are other skilled visa options available that you might be interested in, apart from the subclass 482 temporary work skilled visa, depending on your particular circumstances. Options include the following:
State Sponsored Visa
One type of skilled visa on offer is a state sponsorship visa, which requires sponsorship by a state or territory government.
There is the Subclass 190 State (Nominated) visa, a permanent residence points-tested state sponsored visa, which grants automatic permanent residence in Australia.
Regional State Sponsored Visa
There is also a regional state sponsorship visa option on offer, with the Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa requiring sponsorship by either a state or territory government, or by an eligible relative. This is a temporary visa with a term of five years. Subject to meeting prescribed requirements, subclass 491 visa holders may be eligible to apply for a Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after three years (this new visa will be introduced on 16 November 2022). This visa requires you to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia.
Regional Employer Sponsored Visa
The Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa is a provisional visa which provides a pathway to permanent residence with the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after three years if you meet certain criteria at that time. This visa requires you to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia and requires you to be sponsored by an employer. It has a visa term of five years.
Skilled Independent Visa
The Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) visa grants automatic permanent residence in Australia. It is points-based.
And A Final Note In Closing
The changes to the 457 visa program outlined above illustrate how things can change in the migration arena at any time. Just as the then Prime Minister announced these changes in a bid to crack down on the 457 visa, things can turn very quickly, sometimes with no prior notice. This is one of the benefits of seeking advice from a migration professional like PAX Migration Australia if you are thinking about applying for any visa, including a temporary work skilled visa, because we are active in the industry everyday, keeping abreast of the latest developments and attempting to stay one step ahead, by anticipating potential changes rather than chasing behind them once enacted. Our active involvement in the industry allows us to often see things coming before they do, and to advise our clients of how potential developments may affect them.
Indeed, before these changes were announced, we warned that expected changes to the previous skilled occupation list for the subclass 457 visa (the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL)) that would see over 50 occupations at risk of being cut, could be forthcoming. We also warned that the changes could be made soon. This was based on the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training then review of the skilled migration program’s Skilled Occupation’s List, an annual process which involves flagging occupations for future removal. 52 occupations had been flagged for removal in future years.
Our advice at that time was clear:
if you are an employer or prospective visa applicant with a potential new 457 application to be made in the next 12 months, do it now. Even if your 457 visa doesn’t expire for a year or more, you can still apply for a new one now and obtain a fresh 4-year visa validity. You may also wish to bring forward any plans for PR applications. The government has surprised the immigration industry before with unexpected changes without warning. In short, it is imperative that if you wish to apply for, or sponsor an employee for a 457 Visa, it is in your best interest to apply as soon as possible while your occupation remains on the list.
And this advice remains relevant today – changes can come at anytime. Our advice is not to wait if you are eligible for a visa, but to apply as soon as possible, to avoid the potential of changes being made which may affect your ability to apply for the visa, just like what happened when changes to the 457 visa were made to crack down on the 457 visa program.
And if you are considering applying for a visa, including a temporary work skilled visa, we recommend that you talk to us first to discuss your eligibility and any changes that we potentially see on the horizon, just like the changes to the 457 visa discussed above to crack down on the 457 visa program. Part of our service is to try and anticipate changes and to help our clients stay ahead of developments, and to respond in the most effective way for our clients.
Contact PAX Migration Australia and get your employer sponsored or skilled migration visa now!
Get More Information
You can learn more about the subclass 482 temporary work skilled visa and employer nominated permanent residence visa in the following articles.
Skilled State Sponsorship Visa
Also refer to our Australian Permanent Resident Visa Case Study article to read about a real-life case study where PAX Migration Australia assisted a client to apply for a subclass 190 visa and who, after a long migration journey, was finally granted permanent residence in Australia.
You can read a further case study example in our State Sponsorship Visas In Australia article which explains how a client successfully applying for a state sponsorship visa with PAX Migration Australia’s assistance.
Skilled Regional State Sponsorship Visa
For further information on the subclass 491 visa, please see the following articles:
To learn more about applying for a skilled visa, please see the following articles:
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Contact us to book a no-obligation consultation to find out more about the subclass 482 temporary work skilled visa, whether you are an employer who is seeking to sponsor overseas workers, or you are a prospective visa applicant, we are available to help you whatever your circumstances.
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Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in applying for a visa to Australia, including a temporary work skilled visa, as being fully informed will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your case. A migration professional can help you to do this. Also be aware that several terms are defined in the migration provisions. It is vital to have a good understanding of these terms and how they apply in practice. Detailed advice about these is beyond the scope of this article and we would therefore recommend that you seek further information in this regard.
For up to date advice on applying for a visa, including a temporary work skilled visa, contact PAX Migration Australia, a leading immigration service providing advice on a range of visas including skilled visas. Contact us for a no obligation discussion on how we may be able to assist you in your migration goals in Australia.