Temporary Skills Shortage visa update

As we approach March 2018 the Department of Home Affairs has started to release further details on the implementation of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa which will replace the Temporary Skilled Work 457 visa.

While there are still many of the finer details to be finalized the information below should start to assist employers with the move to the new visa programme in March.

The TSS will come into effect in March and will include separate streams for short-term and medium-term employment as well as work completed under a Labour Agreement. As part of the new nomination process employers will be required to select a period of employment of one to two years for the short-term stream and one, two, three or four years for the medium term or labour agreement stream.

As part of the TSS the Government has announced streamlining initiatives, and these will include:

  • A standard five-year sponsorship approval period, including for start-up companies
  • Auto-approval of low-risk nomination applications that are submitted by accredited sponsors
  • A quicker renewal process for existing sponsors, including a shorter application form and, potentially, auto approval of some sponsorship renewal applications
  • New online forms for the TSS visa programme and a review aimed at ensuring that TSS correspondence templates are easy to use and understand.

One vital aspect of the TSS that we do not have finer detail on is the more stringent labour market testing requirement.

However, in preparation of this coming into effect, the Department of Home Affairs have previously indicated that sponsors should:

  • Advertise the position locally for a reasonable period of time, making sure that the advertisement is available nationally.
  • Be specific in the advertisement regarding the position and the terms and conditions of employment.

We anticipate that further details will be available in February.

There will also be additional measures in place under the TSS regarding employers meeting salary requirements where an employee will earn under AUD250,000 per year. These may include:

  • clarifying the meaning of key terms such as “base rate of pay” and “guaranteed annual earnings
  • ensuring that salary requirements more properly reflect pay disparities from industry to industry
  • taking steps to ensure that foreign workers understand salary requirements so that it will be harder for unscrupulous employees to take advantage of them
  • making clear to sponsors that they must comply with all applicable labour laws, as well as immigration rules.

As with the labour market testing requirement, we anticipate further details to be available in February.

The Department of Home Affairs have announced that transitional arrangements will be put in place and while these have not been finalized, they may include:

  • Where a 457 nomination and visa application are both lodged before the TSS programme comes into effect, they will be assessed against the current 457 criteria
  • If, at the time of the TSS implementation, a 457 nomination is lodged but the associated visa application is not, the nomination will not be considered, and it will have to be resubmitted under new guidelines
  • Secondary visa applicants will be able to lodge dependent TSS applications if the primary visa holder has a current or pending 457 visa. The validity period of the dependent TSS visa will be linked to the expiry date of the primary visa
  • 457 visa holders with valid visas will be able to change employers after the transition to TSS, provided the new employer lodges a TSS nomination application
  • 457 visa holders who want to change occupations, however, will be required to have their employers lodge a TSS nomination application and will be required to submit a new visa application.

Our view on the Temporary Skills Shortage visa update

We encourage employers to make themselves familiar with the information that is available about the TSS programme. Visa Australia’s immigration professionals are able to assist employers with understanding the new requirements and can further help employers to plan for labour market testing.

Contact our team today to discuss any questions you may have with the Temporary Skills Shortage visa or any other immigration questions on (07) 3035 4045.

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