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By Bayside Group

Jun 21, 2018

Visa reforms to skilled migration programs

In March, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa replaced the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, otherwise known as the 457 visa.

Under the terms of the TSS visa program, employers are able to source temporary overseas skilled workers included on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) for up to two years. Employers can also source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills in occupations included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to four years.

 

“While these visa program changes are intended to continue to allow for skilled overseas talent to work in Australia, employers still need to take heed of them. New applicant requirements, in addition to variable Occupation Lists, means that an overseas worker that was eligible for the 457 program may not be for the TSS,” says Murray Erwin, Manager – International Recruitment at the Bayside Group.

 

What’s the purpose of the changes?

The TSS visa program forms part of the Government’s reform package to restructure Australia’s temporary and permanent employers sponsored skilled migration programs. The now obsolete 457 visa program was in place for 20 years, and was regularly subjected to changes and reviews. With TSS, the Australian Government believes it has created a more credible mechanism for bringing overseas skilled workers to Australia, while also ensuring that Australian workers have priority for Australian jobs.

 

What are the new requirements?

The Government’s TSS visa program imposes more stringent requirements on applicants. These requirements include:

  • Minimum two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
  • Capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the short-term stream
  • Mandatory contribution to the Skilling Australia Fund
  • Mandatory labour market testing to ensure no suitable local workers are available

The TSS has also tightened English language test requirements for those on the MLTSSL. It also denies those on the STSOL the opportunity to seek permanent residency, while those on the MLTSSL must be with their employers for at least three years before being eligible for Employer Nominated Sponsorship (for permanent residency).

 

How will TSS affect employers?

The TSS visa is intended to continue to provide Australian businesses with access to temporary skilled workers, where Australian workers are not available. Such skilled workers must be in occupations included on Occupation Lists. These lists include occupations where Australian employers have difficulty finding Australian workers they are also subject to regular review, and occupations can be added, removed and moved between the different lists i.e. from the Short-term Skilled Occupation List to Medium and Long-term Strategic List.

 

How will TSS affect 457 visa holders?

Foreign workers with a subclass 457 visa can continue to hold their visa until its expiration – they are not impacted by these changes unless they seek to apply for a further visa or change employer. Since the 18th March 2018, businesses that have been approved as standard business sponsor have been able to sponsor workers under the new TSS visa until their existing sponsorship expires.

With the introduction of the TSS visa program, the Government’s intention is to reduce fraudulent use of the program. Using a credible business sponsor, will assist you in navigating this program. Bayside Group, through specialist brands Austra Health, Bayside Personnel and Techstaff, will continue to provide overseas workers with nursing, engineering and scientific expertise not readily available in Australia.

The TSS has also tightened English language test requirements for those on the MLTSSL. It also denies those on the STSOL the opportunity to seek permanent residency, while those on the MLTSSL must be with their employers for at least three years before being eligible for Employer Nominated Sponsorship (for permanent residency).

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