457 Visa Changes Explained – What are they and how do they affect you? | AMVL Migrations
You may have heard of the Government’s decision to overhaul the current 457 visa. Here is an overview of these changes and how they may affect you, whether you are a current visa holder, looking to apply for a visa in the future, or already making your way through the process.
What changes have already been made?
As of 19 April, the occupations lists SOL and CSOL have been renamed as Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). The maximum length of a visa for an occupation listed on the MLTSSL is 4 years or if listed on STSOL, 2 years. If you have applied for a 457 visa and are waiting for a decision on your visa, these new visa periods will apply to you.
216 occupations have been removed from the lists including Biochemist, Biotechnologist, Environmental Health Officer, Life Scientist and Procurement Manager.
Caveats have been added to a further 59 occupations which limits access to these occupations. For example, caveats are in place for General Accountants which excludes positions that fall under clerical, book keeper and accounting clerk positions. It also excludes Accounting positions in businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1 Million and who have less than five employees. These changes also apply to all lodged but not decided nomination applications.
What if I had applied for a 457 and my occupation is now removed?
If your application was lodged on or before 18 April 2017 and the application has not yet been decided, you may be eligible for a refund of your visa application fee if your occupation has been removed. Nominating businesses for these applications may also be eligible for a refund of fees.
What if I have been granted a 457 visa already and the occupation has been removed?
If you already hold a 457 visa and your occupation has been removed, your visa is not affected. It is still a valid visa and you can continue to work in your nominated occupation for the duration of the visa period. Your ability to get another 457 visa in this occupation will of course not be an option for you and your eligibility to apply for a permanent visa may be affected depending on how long you have held your current visa. Please refer to the information on the upcoming changes to the permanent sponsored visas.
What changes are still expected?
Changes to the 457 visas will roll out throughout 2017, with major changes occurring from March 2018.
From 1 July 2017
STSOL and MLTSSL will be reviewed
Applicants with a salary greater than $96,000 will no longer exempt from meeting the English language requirements.
Police checks will be mandatory.
By 31 December 2017
Salaries of 457 visa holders will be matched with records from the Australian Taxation Office to ensure visa holders aren’t being paid less than their nominated occupation salary.
Details of sponsors who have been sanctioned for failing to meet their sponsorship obligations will be published.
From March 2018
The 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa with a Short Term stream lasting 2 years and a Medium-term stream for four years.
For the Short Term stream, visa holders will be allowed to renew their visa once from onshore and for the Medium-term stream, a pathway to permanent residency is available after 3 years.
While there is no available legislation on the new visas, it has been announced that the general requirements will be as follows:
At least 2 years of work experience in the relevant occupation
Mandatory labour market testing
Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and income threshold requirements
Mandatory overseas police checks
Introduction of the ‘Skilling Australians Fund Levy’ for employer contributions towards the training of Australian workers. Recent budget announcements have indicated that this will be payment of $1200 per 457 visa holder per year for small businesses, while businesses with turnover of more than $10 million will be charged $1800 per worker per year.
Vocational English will be required (IELTS 5 or equivalent)
How can AMVL help?
At AMVL we have employer-sponsored visa specialists who can help you navigate these changes. Current 457 visa holders, prospective applicants, and current or new business sponsors are welcome to contact our team for assistance and advice.