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457 Visa Changes

Changes to the 457 Visa

Earlier in 2017, the Australian Government announced it was retiring the current 457 visa and in its place would be the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa which will have two streams.

The 457 visa or the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa as it was formally known, is the most common of the visa for sponsored workers from overseas.

The aim of this decision by the government, according to announcement by Prime Minister Turnball, is the hope that the changes would put “put jobs first” and “Australians first”, and as a result there would be a huge reduction in the opportunities for skilled foreign workers who wished to apply to work in Australia. So now the process of qualifying for the new visas would be even more stringent.

According to the government, there will also be money put aside to create a new training fund to fill in the skill gaps that overseas skilled workers are currently providing.

At the moment, there are over 95,000 people on 457 visas in Australia, with the most from India and then the United Kingdom, with many of the visa being granted to IT and Telco workers.

Under the new work visa, an applicant will have to commit to working for two- fours years and they must have at least two years work experience, have a police check, have a high level of English, and be willing to submit to labour market testing.

It was also announced that 200 or more jobs would be removed from the current list jobs.

So what does this mean for you?

If you’re a current 457 visa holder, nothing changes. Everything stays as is.

However, if you are planning to apply yourself, or apply on a potential employees behalf, then there will be a few things to consider.

1) The first one is that everything will take longer to be processed. You now have police checks, which will take more time as these have a serious of steps to be taken by police authorities in Australia and the country you come from. If you have lived in a country for more than 12 months, in the last ten years, then you will need a police check from that country. This could mean multiple checks required for people who have worked and lived in various countries.

2) There will be stronger and more robust English testing, which will be managed by a third party such as IELTS. There are no more exemptions, even for people earning over $96,400 who were previously exempt from these tests.

3) It will take longer to collect and collate all the information and documentation required for the visa, so there won’t be a ‘fast-track’ system. Be prepared to wait.

4) Higher costs for the employer and the employee, based on the new requirements, plus a training fee or levy applied to business sponsors.

5) This could affect a business’s plans for the future and must be taken into consideration when assessing the cash flow, and staffing arrangements for the future.

These changes will start to take place from March 2018.