The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, on April 18, 2017, announced the abolition and replacement of the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) with the completely new Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa, in an attempt to address genuine skill shortages while supporting businesses and reforming employer-sponsored skilled migration visas.
The Australian government took this bold step, considering the fact that the local workers were allegedly being overlooked, while jobs were being offered to overseas workers. According to the terms of the new types of visas, the number of eligible occupations will be lowered by 216. The changes to the visa norms can be viewed in the media release published on the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection’s website.
Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) Visa: What’s New?
The TSS Visa scheme will be made up of two streams, one would be short term, issued for two years, and the other would be medium-term, issued for up to four years, on the basis of more focused occupation lists. Both visa streams, subject to labour market testing, will include the requirement for two years of work experience, a new non-discriminatory workforce test and a market salary rate assessment.
Types of Work Visas in Australia
Successful migration stories have made Australia the world’s most successful multicultural nation. Let us take a look at the visa options available for Indians.
- Employment visas:
Also known as Australian working visas, employment visas are offered to workers according to specific needs and are often sponsored by an Australian business or individual states. This visa is commonly granted to highly skilled workers, after assessing them through a points-based system, allocating points for certain standards of education. The 457 visa is the most popular form of sponsored working visa.
- Student visas:
Encouraging foreign students to study in Australia, the government provides student visas in a number of categories, after a candidate receives a confirmed offer from an educational institution.
- Family visas:
Those who are having family ties in Australia can apply for family visas, including spouse visas and contributory parent visas.
How to Apply for Employment Visa
- The Australian government has been attending skilled migration events across the globe, providing information to skilled workers on what it is like to work in Australia, ultimately inviting them to join the workforce. If you too aspire to work in this country, work visas for skilled migration options would be the first thing you would look for, once you get a job offer in Australia.
- Those with specific qualifications or skills can use an online service called SkillSelect, to apply for a skilled visa from the Australian Government, or be nominated for a skilled visa by an employer or state or territory government.
- The candidate needs to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect, indicating that they would like to be considered for a skilled visa. You should know that an EOI is not a visa application.
Candidates will need to provide 2-3 recent photographs, their resumè, mark sheets and certificates, English Language competency proof, passport with a minimum of 6 months validity, job offer letter, health and travel insurance documents, etc., along with a Personal Character Assessment (Form 80). Good conduct documentation, proof of dependents, etc., might also be required, if applicable.
With the abolition and replacement of the 457 visa with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018, the Australian government has removed over 200 jobs and there will now be 268 eligible occupations for the two-year visa and 167 for the longer four-year visa. The old Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be renamed the new Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL), as a part of the transition to the TSS visa scheme.
It was the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List or CSOL, where your occupation had to appear, to qualify for a 457 visa. Instead of the annual updates for the CSOL list, the new STSOL list is updated every six months, on the basis of advice from the Australian Department of Employment. You can visit the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection;s website for the media release regarding the changes.
- Labour market testing has been made mandatory unless an international obligation applies.
- Only one onshore visa renewal is now allowed under the short-term option.
- The eligibility period for permanent residence will be extended from two to three years.
- A non-discriminatory workforce will keep a check to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
- Employers are strictly required to contribute to training Australian workers.
- In order for the Australian Government to determine whether you are of good character, police certificate or penal clearance certificates are mandatory.
Tightened Eligibility Requirements
The employer sponsored permanent skilled visas will include much tightened English language requirements and mandatory criminal checks. With the English language requirements, the Australian government also wishes to ensure that all migrants should be able to fully participate in the community and the workforce, and not be vulnerable to exploitation.
The candidates must be under 45 years of age at the time of application and will require to have at least three years of work experience with at least two years of work experience in their skilled occupation. This eligibility criterion is imposed to improve the quality of skilled migrants entering the Australian workforce.
You should know that the implementation of these reforms has begun and will be completed in March 2018. To know more about the reforms you can read these fact sheets:
- Fact sheet one: Reforms to Australia’s temporary employer sponsored skilled migration programme – abolition and replacement of the 457 visa (447KB PDF)
- Fact sheet two: Reforms to Australia’s permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programme (494KB PDF)
Impact on Australian Permanent Residency (PR)
Gaining Australian Permanent Residency (PR) after two years was one of the biggest perks of the 457 visa scheme. Recent data reveals that 51,110 people on a 457 visa were granted a permanent visa in the 2015-16 migration year, However, things will change under the TSS visa scheme, where PR will not be made available to applicants on the short-term or two-year stream, clearly indicated by the Australian government. However, there is still some discrepancy on the availability of PR under the 4-year option.
Click on this link to know more about the Australian visa application process.